Water Library’s ever-expanding and diversifying empire branches into pizza.
Water Library’s ever-expanding and diversifying empire branches into pizza with the launch of this Italian restaurant in Silom.
Ciao Pizza cooks its thin-crust pizzas in a hybrid wood-fire oven that sits right by the front window. Chef Gerardo Calabrese’s twice-risen pizza dough comes light and crispy, with toppings like margherita (from B140), four cheese (from B250), seafood (B370) and even nutella (B200).
Also not-to-be-missed is the focaccia stuffed with truffle paste and cheese (B280), while the menu also spans burrata with cold cuts (B440), strozzapreti pasta with pesto (B260) and truffle ravioli (B350).
Water Library, the restaurant group behind fine-dining mainstays like Water Library Chamchuri and Hong Bao, followed its string of increasingly populist openings with the launch of an Italian restaurant in Silom in late 2016. Situated right beside sister restaurant Kuku Ramen on the busy-by-day thoroughfare that is Silom Soi 3, Ciao takes a relatively basic approach to pizza and pasta that’s proving a hit with the local office hordes.
Of course, there are still lofty claims behind the pizza dough; they say it’s twice stretched over a period of up to 48 hours for a base that’s lighter and crispier than most. We agree, the pies that come out of the big hybrid gas- and wood-fired oven by the window have a nice crunch, but the bread tastes like a one-dimensional throwback to a time before the tangy and charred crusts of Peppina and Pizza Massilia.
The toppings are divided into traditional favorites (starting at B150 for an 8-inch margherita) and chef Gerardo Calabrese’s substantially pricier specials (sample name: “Pizza Sexy Salmon”). Of the former category, the diavola (B270 for 8-inch, B350 for 13-inch) will appease those whose primary concern is cheese, and lots of it. The recommended pizza croccante burrata crudo e rucola (B555 for 13-inch), too, comes piled with burrata, parma ham, rocket and parmesan, standing out for its tomato sauce that adds a slightly acidic kick.
A bit like the Peppina-aping decor (raw concrete, rustic logs) and vaguely operatic soundtrack, Ciao’s food can feel like a facsimile of Italian authenticity, rather than the real deal. This comes across in the few nods to local tastes, like the fritto misto (B390) that comes with carrot and zucchini or the deep-fried chicken meatballs “with Thai spices,” which we had in the strozzapreti with pesto (B260). The pasta is springy and full of basil notes; shame about the kid-size helping of what tasted like chicken nuggets plopped on top. No real surprises on the dessert menu, just nicely balanced tiramisu (B220) that beats plenty of the creamy messes out there.
Water Library-sharp service and decent portions at reasonable prices (those 8-inch pizzas), make this a lovely lunch-time spot. Come dinner when expectations are raised, the whole thing just falls slightly south of what a Bangkok pizzeria can be nowadays. There are still reasons to visit if you’re in the neighborhood, not least house wines going for B160-180 per glass and daily buy-one-get-one (and occasionally even -two) deals on beer.
This review took place in February 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.