Apart from honing a sharp cooking skill and adept restaurant management expertise, Head Chef Anthony Burd of La Scala is also a pasta maestro.
As the interview for our Chef’s Cheat Day column went on, we went deep beyond the question-and-answer conversation as the chef put us to work by his kitchen, hand-rolling hundreds of garganelli.
And whilst we learned the ins and outs of the making of garganelli — from the rolling to the cutting and the flattening using the gnocchi board — we also learned Chef Anthony’s whereabouts before landing at the esteemed Italian haunt within The Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok.
With former tenures at star-studded restaurants in Tuscany, New York, and Hong Kong — Marea by Michael White, Al Molo, and Mercato through the invite of the celebrated French-American Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten — Chef Anthony’s cooking weaves the classic culinary art of Italy with the Asian-acquainted palate. This translates into new unique comforts under his repertoire. Think, his famed Agnolotti (squid ink ravioli served with Brittany blue lobster and kale) which is our absolute fave.
But as much as he and we enjoy gorging on a bowl crammed with pasta and lobster at La Scala, we asked the chef also to share with us the Bangkok spots where he likes to go for guilty pleasure food. Here, Chef Anthony unveils to us all his favourite off-the-beaten-track restaurants and the dishes he usually gets. Read on for his list of food he likes to devour on a cheat day in Bangkok.
Vaso –Spanish Tapas Bar
If tapas is your pleasure, then Vaso is your calling. Situated within Velaa Sindhorn Village, the new Spanish haunt stands between an upscale restaurant and a casual bar, with a menu packed with tapas in all types and forms. The food here is a marriage of Spanish and Asian cuisine, inspired by Head Chef Álvaro Ramos’s journey from his homeland in Spain to living in Asia. Another highlight to this cool-hip new spot is the dance-inducing Spanish playlist and the oval-shaped seating, enveloping the small open kitchen where all the cooks, servers, and bartenders operate everything from cooking, serving, and entertaining (think, dancing and pouring you surprise shots). All this gives diners that theatrical effect like dining at an eclectic bar, but just with real mouth-walloping food.
“This is my hangout spot. I go there almost all the time. The flavours and the quality of the ingredients are just on point. The Spanish omelette ‘La Tortilla De Chorizo’ is great. It’s ooey-gooey with cheese and is packed with chorizo. My friend Álvaro Ramos is a mad man [laughs] and what I mean by that is that he is so talented and so passionate about food. Vaso also serves great drinks. So it’s really an all-in-one spot where I go for decent food and drinks altogether.”
Vaso – Spanish Tapas Bar, Velaa Sindhorn Village, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok, +6698 914 4664; Open: Mon-Thu, 5:30 pm-12 am; Fri-Sun, 12-3 pm for lunch and 5:30 pm-12 am for dinner.
Perched on the 40th floor of the new Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, the rooftop garden bar “Bar Yard” is an oasis where drink meets barbecue and if that doesn’t sound like a good combo, then we don’t know what is. The tiki-inspired cocktails also pair well with their selection of tacos stuffed with fork-tender meat.
“The tacos here are really good. Every night, the chef would put all the meat and brisket in the smoker and let it cook for 12-16 hours and they would have the temperature checked every hour to make sure the heat is right. The work would go up to 2-3 days before the meat even goes into the taco. And as someone who loves BBQ, it’s pretty awesome.”
Bar Yard, 40/F, Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, 78 Soi Tonson, Pathumwan, Bangkok; Open: Tue-Sun, 4 pm-12 am.
For many Bangkok foodies, JUA needs no introduction. But for those who are new in the city, JUA is a restaurant with izakaya vibes serving unpretentious Japanese and Korean-accented delicacies in tapas-style with artisanal sake and small-batch spirits as well as handcrafted cocktails. With Chef Chet Adkins at the wheel, the restaurant is turning his obsession with kushiyaki (meat and vegetable skewers grilled over charcoal) into culinary sensation.
“I really like this style of a restaurant; it’s fun, good food, good vibes, good price, good music. JUA is a place where you could go all the time. I really like the Meatball (Japanese chicken meatball tsukune) which comes glazed with sweet soy and topped with grated salted egg yolk. The Poke made with yellowfin tuna is also excellent. I also tried their Grilled Tiger Prawn with fermented durian butter. I usually don’t like durian but the dish was so unexpected and so good.”
JUA, 672/49 Charoen Krung 28, Bangkok, +662 103 6598; Open Mon-Sat, 6 pm-12 am; Sun, 6-10 pm.
Bangkok’s version of a Roman trattoria, Appia is a homey Italian eatery, serving comfort food with fine-dining flair. A must-have meal at Appia always involves meat and pasta. For nonna-style fare with a dash of haute-cuisine flair, Appia will be your move.
“Here’s my favourite Italian restaurant in Bangkok. I appreciate a good casual Italian restaurant with a sense of authenticity and with great use of organic ingredients. I go to Appia a lot and also order from there often. The porchetta here is a must-have. It’s made with organic pork seasoned nicely with fennel, garlic, and rosemary before being roasted – something I always had back in Italy. It’s spot on. His new restaurant, Giglio Trattoria Fiorentina, is also very good. Just by going there and looking into the menu, you feel Tuscany in it. I’ve lived in Tuscany for 3 years and for me, everything at Giglio just screams “Tuscany” [laughs]. Dining there is like having a piece of Italy with me here in Bangkok.”
Appia, 20/4 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +662 261 2056; Open: Mon-Sun, 11:30 am-2:30 pm for lunch and 6-10:30 pm for dinner.
A carnivore at heart? 100 Mahaseth, an Isaan-inspired restaurant with a focused nose-to-tail, root-to-fruit concept, will spice up your dinner time with their pungent signature dishes – think elevated Som Tam Kai Yang, Grilled Pig’s Tail, Grilled Jasmine Wagyu, and so much more.
“For Thai food, I really like 100 Mahaseth. The flavours of the food and everything here is on point. The Northerner’s Hot Dog of smoky sai oua (Northern style sausage) comes with a soft brioche bun and topped with namprik nhum jam and pickled radish is just delicious. It’s really the combination of Thai and Western aspects that I like about 100 Mahaseth; they are creating this new style of food that’s comforting and unique.”
100 Mahaseth, 100 Maha Set Road, Si Phraya, Bangkok, +662 235 0023; Open: Mon-Fri, 5-11 pm; Sat-Sun, 11 am-11 pm.