Five out of ten times, pasta is what us rice-eaters reach for when contemplating dinner. It’s fast and comforting. The yolk-enriched noodle seems to contain within it this lived-in charm we never seem to get enough of. With a new pasta bar opening in town, you know what our suggestion will be: put down the old, humdrum store-bought pasta, and indulge your inner pasta geek here at La Dotta ‘La Grassa’. Talking of pasta lover’s fantasies, here you will encounter everything you love about the al dente noodle and more.
Literally translating into ‘the chubby one’ – a nickname given to the city of Bologna in Italy – La Grassa is the new artisanal pasta bar branched out from its first and most popular location of La Dotta on Thonglor 9. Situated in the middle of Asoke, the restaurant is inspired by the regional cuisine of Italy. Glistening brightness to Bangkok’s pasta scene, the venue is making fresh pasta daily – which is a rarity in the fast-food world. Some is made manually, and some is made using the trusty La Monferrina, dubbed to be the Ferrari of pasta machines since it is famed for giving pasta a unique rough surface, ideal for holding sumptuous sauce which other machines have yet to replicate. That explains why the labour-of-love pasta here tastes ten times better than the soulless store-bought kind.
Scattering among the kitchen aisle and flour-flecked table are the Italian-born brains behind all the dishes, head chef Luca Capitanio of La Dotta and Italian chef-partner Francesco of Via Maris. And if you’re wondering if its excellence is comparable to that of the first pasta bars by the same name, both are loaded with all of the pasta’s best qualities — but La Grassa is simply stocked with more premium fare like the Australian wagyu, Slow-cooked crispy skin suckling pig, and Grilled Spanish ‘carabineros’ prawns.’
So if your idea of the ultimate diet is inclusive of having pasta as a daily meal, La Dotta ‘La Grassa’ is the new Italian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant you need to include in your life.
La Dotta ‘La Grassa’ is a pink-and-blue-striped establishment, nestled within the ground floor of Sacha’s Hotel Uno in the heart of Bangkok, Asoke. Dotted with pasta-shaped neon lights, the venue boasts this cool old-school vibe that is as playful as it is classy. The place evokes this laid-back feel, making it ideal for anyone looking to drink and dine. In one corner you’ll find a black-marbled bar stocked up high with premium spirits and organic wines. Past the lounge sits the Bomboloni Bar with a glass dessert display loaded with fried and fluffy Italian delights, the Bombolonis –gloriously filled doughnuts. The floor-to-ceiling windows also stream in enough sunlight which, once combined with the ocean-blue dark tones, helps to add an air of decency.
Food & Drink
As per Italian tradizione, Aperitivo time is a pure joy of cold, liquored-laden drinks before dinner. It fulfills a triple duty too: first, provide time for people to unwind after work; second, to kick-start their metabolism and lastly, as Aperitivo is Latin for “opener,” the drinks will awaken your appetite, getting your tummy ready for the full-on meal they’re about to be served. In short, what is referred to as a Happy Hour by the Americans is basically Aperitivo o’clock for the Italians.
So as predicted, we first cosied up by the bar, sipping on some deliciously crisp cocktails curated by Palm, Vesper‘s talented bar manager. One was the Strawberry spritz, with fizzy white wine that was intensified by the flavours of strawberry gin, Mancino Bianco, and tonic water. And one was Rome with a view, comprised of Campari, Mancino Secco, lime and bubbly soda. It had this spice-infused taste that bumped up the aromatic and herbaceous flavours of the drink. One we felt particular peachy about though is the Elderflower French cocktail mixed up from Citadelle original, lemon, elderflower syrup and sparkling wine. With delightful notes of fragrant elderflower and a nice citrusy sweetness, this cocktail was by far our favourite summertime sipper.
Once the liquor had revived our appetites, we eagerly perused the menu which spans an array of pasta, meat, and seafood dishes. Then we decided to sate our hunger first with two appealing appetizers of Truffle balls (THB 320)and Strawberry & truffle salad (THB 390). Minimally dressed as food should be, the golden-fried Truffle balls oozed with creaminess from the parmigiano reggiano fondue, Autumn black truffle, sage, and ricotta. With the bright acidity rendered from the refreshing salad showered in sliced strawberry and truffle, the greens-centric bowl created a beautiful sour counterpart to the savoury taste of the cheesy balls.
Next up we were blessed with the Sardinian-style crispy skin suckling pig (THB 690), with the suckling pig was slow-cooked until the meat reaches a flake-from-the-bone stage and the skin crisps up and forms a nice, cracker-crunch crust. Helped along with sides like roasted potato and caramel-coloured gravy, the dish, by itself, was a perfect meal.
If anything proves that La Dotta ‘La Grassa’ is a real aficionado in the pasta game, it’s their ‘Bouillabaisse’ seafood stew pasta (THB 990). Included in their special menu —which means the dish is only on the menu for a short time — this highly recommended pasta dish is to-die-for, with the yolk-enriched Rigatoni (tube-shaped pasta) and organic local prawns, black grouper, and mussels and clams plucked from the Mediterranean Sea giving the perfect contrast in tastes and textures to the dish. The pasta is cooked to al dente perfection. Coated and cooked in the liquor-spiked sauce, Rigatoni proved to be a perfect choice since the tube-shaped pasta absorbed the juicy savoury sauce so well. Also, the bite-sized shape didn’t drown under the avalanche of seafood, giving the dish this Instagrammable aesthetic where you can see all the pristine ingredients used in the dish in one shot.
For the last main, we dug right into a piping-hot Dutch oven filled to the brim with baked Wagyu ‘MAC & Cheese’(THB 540), where the conchiglie (shell-shaped pasta) is stuffed with red wine-braised Australian wagyu before getting baked in béchamel sauce sprinkled with tons of mozzarella, parmigiana reggiano, and scamorza cheese. Topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, the dish bound together the crunchy, creamy, and cheesy textures, being this meaty, umami-laced noodle dish instead of being just a typical mushed-together baked pasta. Those who love American MAC & Cheese, the reinterpreted version from La Dotta will make you go ooh and ahh after the first spoonful bite.
To wrap up our meal with a sweet note, we went for the signature Bombolonis (THB 240) — the Italian cream-filled doughnuts — but instead of getting the ho-hum nutty nutella filling, we hankered after the new flavours and opted for the sweet Tiramisu and Ricotta & honey. The golden-fried delicacies conjured this image of a Mediterranean late-summer day. Once the airy, pillowy dough gave way for the honey-laden ricotta cream to shine, we then let the flavours tell the Italian storia on our tongues. Vibrant in tastes and also fairy light, it was the perfect dessert choice after a high-carb meal.
La Dotta ‘La Grassa’ brings Italian flavours to our Bangkok neighbourhood, using the freshest in grade-A ingredients. They are dedicatedly to creating artisanal pasta for you daily. Along with the refreshing booze menu that boasts everything from organic wine to strong spirits, the venue promises to keep you hydrated with its vast array of Italian-inspired classic and innovative drinks. Looking for a love-of-labour meal in an Italian laid-back vibe to cool you off or cosy you up from a sultry summer day? This is the place for you.
Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 6:30am–11pm
Recommended Dishes: Wagyu ‘MAC & Cheese’, Truffle Balls, ‘Bouillabaisse’ Seafood Stew Pasta and Bomboloni
Price: THB 300 to 1,000 per person
Noise Level: Lively
Service: Friendly and very knowledgeable
La Dotta ‘La Grassa’, G/F Sacha’s Hotel UNO, 28/19 Sukhumvit 19 Road, Bangkok, +662 254 9599