This Italian hotspot brings bistro vibes to Hua Lamphong.
The buzz: This dreamy bistro brings an avant-garde touch to Hua Lamphong.
The decor: Surrounded by the brothels-turned-boutiques on Maitri Chit Road, Contento stands out with its fresh coat of navy blue paint and white pineapple wall sculptures. Inside, the feeling of over-stimulation from the outside world immediately dissipates. The romantic yet relaxed space is layered with personality. Everything from the lighting to the silverware was handpicked by owner Ou Baholyodhin (Rongros, Rong Sabiang) and reflects all the corners of the world you may be longing for. Arched windows with cafe curtains sit above a long wooden bench extending around the restaurant, contrasting white subway-tiled walls, which give off that true bistro effect. The marbled bar in the corner displays pastries in beautiful glass domes while the wall decor sees foxed-mirror shelving decked out with copper pans, cake molds, cookbooks, and antique cookware.
The food: Rest assured, the menu does not stray from the setting. European comfort food takes center stage through straightforward dishes that are chock full of flavor. Start with the light-as-air chicken liver pate (B320) topped with white raisins and pistachios and served with sourdough toast, or go for an all-time classic, the calamari fritti (B280), paired with aioli and fresh lemon. For bigger bites, move on to pastas like the Doppio Nero (B520), fresh squid ink pasta mix topped with crab meat and a hit of chili, or the spaghetti alle vongole (B380) made with seasonal clams and a briny white wine sauce. No bistro would be complete without a steak frite (B1,380); here it’s a grain-fed prime ribeye served with chimichurri sauce. For dessert, order the orange-hinted crepes Suzette (B320), and watch them be flambéed tableside.
The drinks: Pretend you’re sitting in St. Mark’s Square and sip on the Bellini like Harry’s (B320), or imagine you’re at the Gansevoort in New York and go for a Negroni (B380). You can also keep it light with a Chinotto (B160) or the Imperial Iced Tea (B160), a mix of black tea flavored with summer fruit, red berries, and sloe gin. The wine list, meanwhile, offers options like the crisp Calalenta Rose (B1,560/bottle) from Farmese Fantini in Sicily and Villa Antinori (B1,780/bottle), an earthy, full-bodied red from Tuscany.
Why we’d come back: A destination that’s intimate without being stuffy, a menu full of comforting bites, killer beats playing in the background, a weekends-only bar on the second floor: Contento ticks all the boxes. Megan Leon
Maitri Chit Rd. (near Hua Lamphong)
|Contento, Maitri Chit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
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