The Dining Out Team went Italian this week, with food cooked
by the most passionate Italian you will ever meet, and I am not referring to the
Rudolf Valentino style of passion. Ristorante Italiano Piccola Roma Palace is
owned by Executive chef Angelo Faro, a man who has not tired of cooking his
native land’s dishes, and who is not backwards in coming forwards in making
sure you understand that there is more to Italian food than pasta and ravioli.
restaurant is large, set on the corner of Charoenprathet Road and Sridonchai
Road and has several dining areas. You can dine al fresco on the terraces on two
sides, or inside in the high-roofed main dining salon, or upstairs in a more
private dining room for 80 persons on the 1st floor. The table settings are
up-market, with heavy linen tablecloths. The interior areas are lined with wood,
with an array of wind instruments festooned around the walls, as well as some of
Angelo’s ‘plates’ of honour and a few of his chains of office from the
Chaine des Rotisseurs for example. He describes himself as a ‘Chef par
Excellence’ and wants you to know it.
menu is large at almost 130 Italian items, and is bilingual - Italian first and
English underneath. Naturally. It begins with Antipasti, ranging in price from
pizza bread with olive oil and Rosemary at B. 70, through several dishes around
B. 260 such as shrimp cocktail to Mozzarella, tomato, Parma ham and mushroom
porcini with olives at B. 350.
Ten soups are up next, generally around B. 120, many of them
cream vegetable style, plus an interesting sounding tortellini in meat broth at
B. 200. Three pastas at B. 240 lead you on to two pages of the mains ranging in
price from B. 160 for a garlic spaghetti, through to B. 750 for a Linguine with
lobster, prawns, red caviar and cream, but the majority are between B. 300-400.
Filled pastas are next, around B. 300 for assorted ravioli,
tortelloni, cannelloni and cappellacci, followed by Risotto (rice) dishes B.
Seafood items are generally priced by the gram with the price
dependant upon the seafood itself - B. 1.2 for snapper up to B. 1.8 for king
prawns, though a mixed grill with 900 gm of seafood is priced at B. 1000 (plus 7
percent VAT, as are all the menu items). Seafood can also be had deep-fried or
stir-fried, B. 220-300.
Almost finished! Meat dishes are also in the per gram
formula, around B. 2.4, then a page of vegetable dishes and cheese and then
Italian desserts and coffees or tea.
The theatre begins before you order, with a large trolley of
seafood being brought to your table, to show what fresh items are available that
night. We began with scallops in a cream sauce with red and black caviar, the
saltiness offsetting the smoothness of the sauce. We also tried a seafood pasta
with pepper and Sicilian Ricotta cheese and a seafood spaghetti with squid,
mussels, baby octopus and clams. Each dish, which come on large platters,
received the final ‘Angelo’ treatment at the table. The right flourish with
the pepper grinder, or the correct splash of Balsamico.
An evening (or lunch) at Ristorante Italiano Piccola Roma
Palace, is more than just eating. It is education. It is theatre. It is a man
supremely confident that he has Italian food under his command. It is Angelo. He
is at every table, present to add that final dash of Italian - that final dash
of Angelo, ‘Chef par Excellence’.
The dining out was an ‘experience’ and if Italian food is
your passion, like Angelo’s, then you will get along famously! Just don’t
look for Fish and Chips, or Tom Yum Goong. If it’s not Italian, it’s not on
the menu. You don’t have to wear a black suit, white shoes and white silk tie,
but it wouldn’t be out of place!
Ristorante Italiano Piccola Roma Palace, 144 Charoenprathet
Road (near Chiang Mai Plaza hotel), Chiang Mai, telephone 053 820 297, email
[email protected] Secure parking outside, but don’t run over
Angelo’s dogs - he has several everywhere.