A charming Italian restaurant on Charoenkrung.
This review took place in Feb 2019 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
The traffic-clogged, smoky corner of Sathorn-Charoenkrung with its rows of Thai-Chinese shop-houses is the last place we’d expect to find an Italian restaurant. La Scarpetta shakes off its surroundings with burgundy awnings, a quaint terrace, faux-Tuscan arches and a string of other homey Italian restaurant cliches.
Trays of Roman-style pizzas used to tempt us in while waiting for a bike at Saphan Taksin, but they’ve been replaced by a formidable back bar and wall of wine glasses. Pizza remains the star of the menu, though don’t expect the most consistent results. While we’ve had margherita pies that are all we could ask of B220—cheese: dripping; tomato: piquant; crust: pillowy but charred, with a base that tells of a well-circulated, super-hot oven—we’ve also had ones that are spongy and flat. Complimentary, bready nibbles are a good indication of what form the kitchen is in on any particular day.
Another good reason to visit: the steak. It’s tangy, juicy, well-priced and cooked well. A 300-gram Argentinian tenderloin, for example, costs B990 and has all the meaty appeal we’d wish for. This is not your grain-fed hotel Aussie wagyu, meaning chewing is a must, but it has flavor, a pink heart, lots of juices and a nicely charred exterior. Enjoy it with a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC (B230/B1,100).
We’d love to see the kitchen push a bit harder at other times, though. The bruschetta (B160) are made using the sort of baguette you find in Tops, while the bitter, dry herb topping does no favors for their sharp tomatoes and fresh hit of basil. Meanwhile, a mushroom risotto (B380) has the texture down but not the flavor. Its al-dente grains and well-concentrated stock cry out for more seasoning, as well as a stronger hit of fungus. Overall, a simple home-style dish that on this occasion we could do better at home.
The service, on the other hand, is great. While charming smiles and effusive order-taking can give way to tedious waits between courses, we get the sense that everyone working here genuinely does care. The dining room team is convivial and informative. We’ve been in restaurants costing three times the price that could learn something.