Enjoy some time under the ‘Tuscan’ sun in this classic Italian homestead.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Aside from its universal appeal, the one thing Italian cuisine can unequivocally boast is a long and studied history. Channelling the spirit of this rich heritage, Rossano’s Italian Cuisine can trace its original roots to the first Italian restaurant in Thailand, L’Opera, which opened its doors to the neophyte public in 1984. L’Opera’s founder, the vanguard Gennari Rossano, went on to open Rosanno’s in 2007, in a bid to share the charms of Florence through its traditional cuisine and rustic style. Although by then Italian food had long-entrenched itself into the Thai culinary scene, the restaurant still made a name for itself with its hearty portions, flavourful offerings, and distinct aesthetic.
Unassuming from the outside, Rossano’s entrance hints towards its warm interior with its red brick and diverting pig statue that greets you in a chef’s outfit. When I stepped in, I was charmed by its idiosyncratic theme, which included exposed wooden beams, faux-aged plaster with red brick peeking through, and comfortable, sturdy furniture. Arched windows throughout completed the look of a homestead in Florence, with the day’s specials handwritten on chalkboards, adding to the homespun feel. Murals of bucolic scenes transported you to the rolling hills of Tuscany, despite being in the heart of Asoke, while, in a nod (or shout) to the festive season, garlands were festooned around the space to add to the cheer. I’ll admit I admired the amount of thought put into the recreation, from tiled floor to rafters, with no detail spared. However, don’t be fooled by its intimate feel – the restaurant can easily seat around 65 people, enough for a small village or in this case, a large group happy to bask in the convivial atmosphere.
FOOD AND DRINK
Always on the lookout for a good Italian restaurant, I was eager to sample Rossano’s offerings, having heard rave reviews from many in the Thai-Indian community who are regulars of the establishment. Despite its unpretentious ambience, the restaurant boasts a stacked menu, with specialities from around Italy, including limited-time chef’s specials depending on the time of year (I, personally, am looking forward to the next truffle season).
We started with the Insalata di polipo, patate e pomodorini (THB 495), an octopus and potato salad where the flavour of the octopus shone without the rubbery texture that so often occurs when it isn’t cooked with a deft hand. Slices of cherry tomatoes and olives cut through the succulent morsels, whetting the appetite for the next course, one of my favourites of the spread. The Risotto al pomodor e buratta affumicata (THB 425), a tomato risotto with smoked burrata, was a dish I was both excited and wary to try – as a fan of risotto, it’s always a gamble on whether a new iteration will deliver. Fortunately, this one did, in spades. The rice was perfectly al dente and the sauce both generous and rich, exactly as it should be – definitely a must try.
The Medaglione di ﬁ letto di cervo (THB 995) came as a welcome surprise, as I hadn’t had venison in years, and to some of us, it was wholly new. A rare option for those who don’t eat beef but want gamey meat that’s a change from lamb, the tenderloin lived up to its name with fall-off-the-bone tenderness, bursting in flavour from the red wine sauce.
For dessert, we had the Profiteroles con mousse al cappuccino e salsa al cioccolato (THB 240), a bonbon that I’ve rarely found outside of Europe. Melt-in-your-mouth dough balls stuffed with, in this case, cappuccino mousse, it was hard not to continuously scarf down the surprisingly light treats. Hot chocolate sauce added to the decadence; the perfect denouement to our brief afternoon in Tuscany.
The Filetto di salmone alla crema di piselli (THB 695), a salmon ﬁllet with green pea cream. Elegantly presented with the crisp ﬁsh skin as both the star of the dish and unusual décor, we unanimously agreed that this one shouldn’t be missed.
Mention Masala and get 10 percent off Rossano’s à la carte menu.
Rossano’s Italian Cuisine
167 Sukhumvit Soi 21, Sub-Soi 3, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Open daily for lunch from 11am to 2pm and dinner from 5pm to 11pm
Tel: 02 260 186 or 02 260 1861