Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bel Guardo, Siam, Bangkok

With all the wonderful Thai food on offer, Italian food may not be the first thing that a tourist may think of having when in Bangkok.  But I wasn't the only one in there at lunch time today. 

Another ground floor restaurant of the Siam Paragon Shopping Complex, this place has an open kitchen and a light, airy feel to it.

We decided to give this place a try seeing as we had a hankering for a bit of pasta.  All the tables were covered in white linen table cloths and were already set.  A bottle of wine sat on each table and no, they were not complimentary. 

The menu is another picture style menu and we noticed that they were offering a lunch set for 280 Baht per person.  This included a choice of appetizer, main and dessert.  Drinks were extra.  Considering that the average pasta dish here is over 350 Baht alone, we decided that the lunch set was a no quibble winner. 

We opted for the 'Tomato & Mozzarella salad' and the 'Caeser Salad' for our appetizers.  I chose the penne pasta with a spicy arrabiatta sauce, and my lunch companion went for the fettucine with carbonara sauce.  We chose ice-cream for dessert. 

After our order went to the kitchen, a plate of bread was brought to our table.  Six mini rolls and two bread sticks with some olive oil and aubergine dip.  The rolls were a mix of cheesy topped ones and plain bread.  Not quite the Italian bread you get in Italy, but hey, we are in Bangkok!  No cuisine ever tastes quite the same as where it comes from (and I can honestly say Thai food abroad is often below par).  Trying to curb my carbs, I decided that today I would just eat and enjoy and this I did.

Our appetizers soon followed.  The caeser salad was well dressed; not too light and not too heavy.  Considering that this was just a starter, there was certainly plenty of it.  It also came with a complimentary twisted cheese stick.  There were croutons, crispy bacon bits and baby tomatoes.  I really enjoyed this salad, it was fresh and light and I would have been satisfied with just this for a 'light' lunch.

The tomato and mozzarella salad with a luminescent green basil dressing was small in comparison.  But at least it had some nice halves of black olives.  With sprinkled basil on top, the tomatoes weren't the most juicy I have ever eaten.  But they weren't watery tasteless either.  In fact, they were a lot better than many of those that I have eaten in the UK.  The mozzarella was OK.  Nothing to write home about though and another piece would have been nice. 

My penne with spicy arrabiatta sauce was a generous portion.  Considering how much carb I had already consumed, I didn't think I would get through the lot, but I did!  The arrabiatta sauce had just the right amount of spice.  With the complimentary grated parmesan cheese, it tasted pretty good.  I would say though that I prefer my pasta just a little bit more al dente.  On the whole, it was rather well executed. 

My lunch companion had fettucine carbonara which I have to say tasted delicious on my sampling.  I love creamy carbonara, but these days I try to avoid it for healthier alternatives (such as spicy arrabiata sauce).  Again, another generous portion and with plenty of bacon, it looked sublime.

Our ice-cream was beautifully presented in a china cup and saucer.  With a dark chocolate wafer and a baby basil stem on top, they looked so pretty.  The chocolate wafer was yummy and the ice-cream was smooth and creamy.  The vanilla ice-cream was so tasty and the coffee one likewise.  It was a perfect end to our carb filled lunch. 

I finished off with a coffee which came with two complimentary mini shortbread biscuits.  They were utterly butterly good!!

The staff are polite and attentive here, as one would expect them to be considering the fine dining experience that this place instills.  And the ambient grooves in the background adds to the contemporary surroundings.

I've not been to any other Italian restaurants in Bangkok, let alone Thailand so I cannot compare.  But I would like to end by saying that the lunch set was really good value.  The ingredients were fresh, I loved being able to watch the chefs in the open kitchen and, I left feeling really well fed as I didn't need any supper in the evening. 

Bel Guardo
Ground Floor, Siam Paragon, 991 Rama I Rd, Bangkok 10330
Tel: +66 (0)2 610 9380 1
Nearest BTS: Siam

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