Torlente Italian Cuisine
If you’re old enough, Pan Pan was probably one of your childhood favorites. For more than 20 years, it dished out the kind of Italian food tweaked to Thai palates that kept the whole family happy. Pan Pan is no more, but its chef and some of its staff can now be found at Torlente, doing pretty much the same thing: hearty, reasonably priced and comforting (if at times unauthentic) Italian food. The thing is, Bangkok has come a long way in the past two decades, and Pan Pan’s style now comes across as pretty pedestrian, maybe a tad better than what those hip eateries in community malls are dishing out, but that’s not saying much. For one, the substandard products often have zero flavor, from the cheese to the olive oil. Take the recommended Cosa Nostra salad (B190): it’s served in a family-sized bowl, but how much iceberg lettuce dowsed in generous splashes of super acidic vinegar do you want to eat? Or the big plate of beef carpaccio (B300): it actually is good meat, too bad it’s hiding under flavorless shavings meant to taste like parmesan. Pizzas (B165-320) almost do the trick for the first couple of slices, despite the starchy dough, but soon turn rubbery. The other major issue is that there’s the occasional dish that’s less than fresh. Despite being overcooked, swimming in nondescript oil and jazzed up with chili, you could still tell the shrimps and mussels in the squid-ink sauce fettuccine (B270) we had on our last visit were past their prime. Similarly, the hazelnut torta (B80) had clearly overextended its stay in the showcase fridge. We’re almost tempted to lower our expectations for old time’s sake. After all, the food isn’t horrible, the homemade ice-cream is delicious (B69 for two scoops), and the staff is courteous and efficient. But then there’s the atmosphere. If Torlente wasn’t built within an old jewelry shop (granite galore, velvet alcoves, gilded frames within gilded frames), it sure looks like one. And while the crowd of tourists seems happy enough to have found a place in lower Silom that isn’t a rip-off, the dated food, décor and soundtrack (acoustic and reggae covers of 90s pop) don’t evoke nostalgia, just staleness.
|Address:||Torlente Italian Cuisine, 1017 Silom Soi 21, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-11pm|
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