Gianni’s Ristorante Bangkok

Nowadays, good authentic cuisines are becoming increasingly accessible in countries other than its country of origin. While you’re obviously able to find great Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong and China, you can also find great Cantonese restaurants in Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York amongst many, many other cities. One of my most memorable Japanese dining experience (other than in Tsukiji 築地) was in Toronto – believe it or not – at Hiro Sushi on King’s Street, of all places. (I wonder if its still around. Speaking of Tdot, is Susur Lee still around too? Ahh, the reversed menu!).

Anyway, in Thailand, there are a lot of good Italian restaurants and a handful of great ones. We asked a local (Thanks Duang!) and the top 2 picks were: Gianni’s Ristorante and Il Ristorante Zanotti.

We were going to visit Zanotti but couldn’t get a table until 9:30PM, so we opted for Gianni’s instead. As it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise because our local friend told us (I’m throwing all these “local” bombs around … because they are the voice of authority and I shall not be questioned :D) that Zanotti varies in consistency, while Gianni is the more consistent of the 2.

Bread Basket from Gianni's

Bread Basket from Gianni's

The bread basket was not bad, but would’ve been better if it was hotter. It was only mildly warm, but good selection nonetheless.

Complimentary Pate on Toasted Thin Bread

Complimentary Pate on Toasted Thin Bread

This was a complimentary foie gras pâté starter. Again, the toasted bread would’ve been better if it was a little more crunchy; a sign that it was probably sitting outside a little longer than it should’ve (or it was prepared too early in advance). But the pâté was very flavourful, perhaps a little saltier than I expected.

The seafood mains ... reasonable, no?

The seafood mains ... reasonable, no?

Genuine Parma Ham Sliced on Honey-Dew Melon

Genuine Parma Ham Sliced on Cantaloupe

This dish is generally pretty good in about 80% of the Italian restaurants I go to, because it really doesn’t require much. What it boils down to is whether the parma ham and cantaloupe is fresh or not, and how thinly shaved the ham is so you can wrap it around the melon before you cut it into pieces. This is definitely a pass.

Hokkaido Scallops Served 3 Different Ways

Hokkaido Scallops Served 3 Different Ways

From left to right:

1. Hokkaido Scallop with Avocado Puree: Rather than using butter, which generally goes extremely well with scallops (think teppanyaki), avocado was used to mimick that same texture and “body” (a bit of wine speak here). Unfortunately though, it doesn’t quite have that same “butteriness” to it than if butter was really used. As clichéd as it may sound: butter really has no substitute.

2. Hokkaido Scallop wrapped in Fried Squid Ink: This was a little teaser to what I was going to have as my main (see below). The fried squid ink was a little crunchy and has a strong calamari flavour to it, but it doesn’t fuse with the scallop as well as the other 2 did. I think that might’ve been because

3. Hokkaido Scallop with Truffle Sauce: This one I thought was the highlight of the dish. The generous amount of thick black truffle sauce was more than enough even when I selfishly took a spoonful of that and smeared it onto my half-scallop. There was still quite a bit left after this scallop was gone so I used the remaining of that sauce for the avocado scallop.

Overall, this was a symphony of flavours, which is a great start to the meal. It can also be quite filling too (those Hokkaido scallops are massive!) so I highly recommend sharing this appetizer with someone.

Lobster Bisque with a Dash of Coriander

Lobster Bisque with a Dash of Coriander

This was alright. I’ve had better lobster bisque and I think mainly because it was way too creamy and not enough lobster flavour to it, not to mention I like soup piping hot and this was only mildly warm. I feel like for lobster bisques, if its not “balanced” then it would be safer if it was leaning a little towards more lobster flavour than cream.

Some One-eyed Fish ... I forgot the name!

Some One-eyed Fish ... I forgot the name!

“A” for presentation. A “B+” for taste, although I didn’t order this but I did try a bit. The one-eye fish (apparently a delicacy in Thailand … can anyone verify?) was cooked until the fillet was golden brown on the outside and cooked just enough on the inside. It was very fresh, but I didn’t get much of the sauce so I can’t tell you what it was like together. Maybe YOU can tell me after you’ve visited.

Not-your-usual Spaghetti Bolognese

Not-your-usual Spaghetti Bolognese

The friend who order this had requested an extra big portion of the spaghetti bolognese and it was pretty darn big, although it doesn’t quite look that way in the photo. I tried to ask him to put his hand there as comparison … let’s just say he has pretty big hands.

I didn’t try it, so I can’t really comment on it, but from what I hear … its was pretty solid.

Squid Ink Linguine at Gianni's in BKK

Squid Ink Linguine at Gianni's in BKK

The best damn squid ink linguine I’ve ever had (I’ve only had it on one other occasion). Al dente was a given, nor would I expect anything less. It wasn’t dry like the last time I had it at I-don’t-remember-where. Is it creamy? Yes and no, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a bit of cream here, but anything thrown into this dish automatically gets diluted a little (i.e. less creamy) and gets dyed black. Its got very heavy seafood and calamari flavours and was actually a little spicy as well, although I can’t quite tell where the peppers were. I really couldn’t tell what’s what until I put the stuff in my mouth and work out what the texture was. I found about 6-7 pieces of calarmari, which I thought was neither little or generous. Overall, this was a great exotic dish and it really tasted a bit like ink (for those of your going “Oh right, like you’ve tasted ink before …”, I really have, although not intentionally. If you want to know, its Parker brand. Black.) … but in a good way.

Warning: After eating this dish, your tongue, gum and lips will turn completely black so this is definitely not the dish you want to get if you’re on a first date 🙂 And that’s not all that turns black. Think ahead.

Is it worth recommending to people? With a full-house (about 50-60 covers?) and good mix of Thai, foreign and 3+ tables of Honkie patrons (I’d like to think that a presence of Honkers is usually a sign of a good find) dining there , I believe the answer is a definite yes.

Bill for 7.5 people (the 0.5 was a spaghetti bolognese to-go for a friend travelling from Pattaya who missed the dinner) was 9,300 Baht. About US$ 37 per head? Definitely not bad at all … but we didn’t have wine.

Siu Yeh Rating: 8.5/10

Gianni Ristorante
34/1 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road
Bangkok 10330
Tel: 0 2252 1619, 0 2652 2922
Fax: 0 2652 2584
Email: gianni@loxinfo.coth
Website: www dot giannibkk dot com

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