1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant
Negronis meet pasta at Vesper’s new neighbor.
The buzz: Under Foodie Collection (Vesper, il Fumo, La Dotta, 80/20), Mediterranean bistro-cum-natural wine bar Via Maris has been reborn as an Italian eatery that doubles as Thailand’s first ever official Campari bar.
The vibe: Black and white patterned tiles deck the floor around the curved marble bar, awash with red neon light from a sign proclaiming “We own the night.” The year is 1919, WWI has just ended and jazz is on the rise—it is also, so the story goes, the year that the Negroni was born in Florence. That’s not the venue’s only tie to Campari’s signature drink—the mixologist of neighboring Vesper, Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana, was awarded first place in the Campari Bartender Competition Asia at the start of 2019. For drinking, you can opt for a black leather bar seat, but to sample their line-up of Italian comfort food, commandeer part of the beige banquette that sits beneath a wall of colorful vintage Campari posters.
The food: Branded as a “pasta and Negroni” bar, you’d be remiss to ignore their carb-loaded line-up of pasta and risotto—try the indulgent Tortelloni 4 Formaggi (B350), filled with Italian cheeses and topped with 24-month Parmigiano Reggiano fondue. While you’re choosing, nibble on small plates like their fresh melon topped with 30-month Sant Ilario Parma ham (B290) and deep-fried truffle and sage balls with fondue (borrowed from La Dotta’s signatures; B320). Heftier portions can be found in the meat and seafood mains—we love the colorful pan-seared sea bass with tangy chunks of golden beetroot, orange salsa, black olives, pomegranate and sun-dried tomatoes (B590). To finish, do not miss the oozing chocolate lava cake (B240) with vanilla ice cream—it takes 20 minutes to cook, yet we ordered a second one because it’s just that delicious.
The drinks: Negronis are, of course, a must. Of the seven on offer, we recommend the perfectly-balanced Spatial Concept (B360), a mix of Campari, Bulldog gin, Cinzano 1757 Rosso and espresso milk punch that won Palm that prize. Be transported to the sun-dappled shores of Italy’s famous lakes with Summer in Lake Como (B340), a light and refreshing mix of Aperol, Mancino Secco, elderflower, lemon and soda. Martini fans will be pleased to see the Duke’s Martini (B590) on the menu.
Why we’d come back: With Vesper next door, this is the perfect place to line your stomach before diving into a night of expertly-crafted cocktails. Plus, that chocolate cake.