This grand old villa on Rama 4 combines classic Italian steakhouse with Portuguese flavors.
This grand old villa tucked just off Rama 4 Road has been serving charcoal-grilled fine-dining menus since 2015. It began life as an Italian steakhouse, but with new Portuguese head chef Nelson Amorim (previously from the three-Michelin-starred Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong), its offerings have evolved to reflect his home influences.
There’s still a la carte—and still a giant dry-aging fridge stocked with Europe’s most-prized cuts of beef—but the focus now is on the three tasting menus: five courses for B2,300 (B900 wine pairing), seven courses for B2,600 (B1,400 wine pairing), or a four course beef tasting menu for B2,700 (B900 wine pairing).
Whichever you plump for, you’ll get the house signature kokotxa (cod chin) in a carbonara sauce (B560 a la carte). Gelatinous, chewy, rather tasteless and considered a delicacy in Portugal and Northern Spain, kokotxa’s all about texture—which means to say we don’t really like it. That said, the spoonfuls of carbonara sauce, pecorino foam, crispy guanciale and egg yolk add some punch.
The pan-seared foie gras served with fios de ovos (Portuguese egg threads) is more successful: simple, skilfully formed into a small roll and paired well with a port wine reduction.
But really, Il Fumo feels more satisfying on classic Italian ground. A plate of duck-egg tagliolini with black truffle is rich, gooey and deliciously decadent, bursting with truffle and aged parmesan.
With the kitchen’s wood-fired ovens still flaming, rest assured that the meat game remains on point. The Portuguese Carne Barrosa (B5,900 for 900g dry-aged 20 days, or as part of the beef tasting menu) is a blissfully meaty, grass-fed cut with proper bite. However, if you like your meat melt-in-the-mouth, go with the Australian wagyu “Diamatina” striploin (B1,350/300g, or as part of the beef tasting menu), which is just beautiful.
Overall, though, it’s difficult to really fall head-over-heels for the current Il Fumo experience. Service is invasive (we don’t need to be watched while reading the menu) and uninformed (completely thrown by anything deeper than what’s written in the menu), while the kitchen’s most inventive streaks are a mixed bag: squid ink crisps filled with Portuguese bacalhau (dried cod) and fava bean—delicious; a dessert that fuses apple and celery sorbet, pork crackling and bacon flan—let’s just say challenging.
But you can rest assured of one thing here: being from the team who runs Vesper, the cocktails are exceptional. We last had the Fume Blanc (B370, white rum, wine reduction and calvados) and it was superb.
This review took place in March 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
Il Fumo is listed in Top Tables 2018, BK Magazine's guide to Bangkok's best fine-dining restaurants. See the full list at www.bktoptables.com