Stylish Italian restaurant off Nimmenhaeminda Road
An English friend, visiting Chiang
Mai from his home in Kerala, asked me how I chose a
restaurant for a review. In short, why were we going to
Beccofino? Part of the answer was that places sort of
‘choose’ me. I’d been there twice before, not long after
it opened and now, some three months later I was happy
to go along and see whether standards had been
maintained - if so I could then write about it.
he insisted, why this particular place rather than one
of the numerous Italian restaurants that I have so far
not reviewed. The answer came within about ten minutes
of our arrival. Beccofino seeks, as it smart sounding
‘family’ name suggests, to offer a fine dining
experience. It is rather up-market compared with many
places which also offer pizzas and pastas, since it has
many much fancier dishes and the style is elegant,
definitely not your average pizzeria. There is a bar
along one wall as you enter, with a second wall opening
through glass doors on a large terrace with a further
tables. A third wall boasts a large mural of Venice and
a plain wall completes the large rectangular space.
There is seating for up to 40 people at decent sized
tables, arranged in twos, fours and eights, plus those
On certain evenings, as was the case on our recent
Friday visit, a very pleasant band of two – a male
guitarist- singer and a female singer – perform. Their
repertoire is far removed from Italy, but my friend, who
originally comes from Liverpool, took the Beatles’ songs
they included as a compliment.
We were offered a table for four, since, sadly, in the
present economic climate there were far from 40 diners
(although I am told that their brunch buffet is
extremely popular and very good value). The tables are
nicely laid with crisp white cloths and large napkins
and we were soon provided with bottled water and
assorted breads, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on
the side. They also have fancy imported water, including
San Pellegrino and Perrier, should you be so minded. We
opted for a glass each of the house wine, a white and a
red, at 120 baht. They also offer a wine from Umbria by
the glass at 150 and there is a huge drinks menu
including cocktails, wine by the bottle, beer and most
drinks one can think of, though might not order.
My friend fancied a pizza, having spotted the
wood-burning oven to the far right of the bar. I fancied
a risotto and opted for the one with parmesan and black
truffle sauce. And it was at this stage that the answer
came as to why Beccofino was worth coming to over many
other restaurants. Would you like the pizza in two
sections, with a choice of toppings? This was in
response to an order for the sea food version. This
could be amended to half of that and half of any of the
other 11 pizzas. The offer was accepted and we both
agreed that it was the first time we had encountered
such a novel idea, which would add variety to the dish.
The waitress then said to me, almost apologetically,
that the risotto would take between 20 and 30 minutes.
To which there is no other reply than, yes that would –
or should - be the case. I remembered that only a week
before I had dissuaded a Thai friend from ordering a
prawn risotto when we were told that it would only take
a ‘very few’ minutes. A recipe not for a risotto but a
re-heated disaster out of the microwave. I’ve prepared
many in my time and 20 minutes is about right, depending
on the volume. (And a recommendation to anyone preparing
the dish, use a good quality dry vermouth instead of
white wine at the start of the cooking).
This gave us plenty of time for a starter and my
companion went for the onion soup (90 baht), which came
steaming in an elegant dish, topped with melted cheese
and parmesan croutons. Sadly, the presentation was far
better than the taste, which he described as bland. My
organic rocket salad with baby tomatoes and a balsamic
dressing (220 baht) was, happy to say, perfect- with a
super fresh salad and well balanced dressing.
Along with the 9p.m. arrival of the ‘band’, our main
courses arrived. The pizza (220 baht) was substantial,
with a mercifully thin crust and was later dubbed
‘delicious’. I sampled a section of the cheese ‘half’
and concur with that verdict. I took a glass of the
house red with the inevitably ‘salty’ risotto and the
wine certainly stood up to the test. The risotto was
suitably gutsy yet moist and creamy.
The final reason for going to Beccofino is the attentive
and charming service. But naturally all of the above
comes at a price. We had selected food from the less
expensive items on the large menu: there are plenty of
pastas – raviolis, classic spaghettis and so on at
around 200- 300 baht. All the soups are 90 and some
salads and other starters are somewhat more. A special
Beccofino platter for two and other antipasti plus a
tartare of tuna complete that section of the menu. But
there are also meat and fish selections, including
steaks at around 500 baht and a grilled pork chop at
320. The fish, which I tried previously, is especially
good and includes salmon, red snapper and sea bass
interestingly prepared. These are priced similarly to
Given the high tax on wine in Thailand – can anyone
explain that ridiculous situation? – the wines are not
over expensive. But you have to remember that prices
here are subject to both further tax and service and
with water and cover charges a meal can be expensive.
As it was, our meal (we could not manage one of the
tempting puddings) came in at around 600 baht and 900
baht respectively, since I enjoyed an extra glass of
wine and the splendid organic salad. Apart from the
disappointing soup, the meal was fine. But given the
economic doldrums and lack of tourists I imagine that
the restaurant is happy for the lunch time trade, since
it is in a quite fancy area off a popular and expensive
road and maintain a large staff. However, it is worth
seeking out, especially if you want a leisurely meal or
are on a special date. It can be found stretched between
Sois 5 and 7 off Nimmenhaeminda, with an official
address at 20/2 Soi 5, open between 11.30 and 14.30 for
lunch and from 18.00 to 22.30 for dinner. Phone
053-226-590 for further information or check them out on
www.beccofino.co.th, which may give details of other
branches in Thailand.
Stir-fry chilli chicken
Another easy stir-fry this week. You can increase the number
of chillies if you want more spiciness.
Combine oyster sauce and sweet chilli sauce in a jug.
Separate bok choy stems and leaves and slice thinly.
Place noodles in a large, heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling
water. Stand for 1 minute. Drain. Separate noodles and set
In the wok, over high heat, add 2 teaspoons peanut oil and
swirl to coat. Add half the chicken and stir-fry for 2 to 3
minutes or until just cooked through. Set aside. Repeat with
2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining chicken.
Add remaining peanut oil to wok. Add asparagus, chilli,
garlic and sesame oil. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add noodles,
bok choy stems, chicken and combined sauces. Stir-fry for 1
minute. Add bok choy leaves. Stir-fry for 15 seconds. Serve.
Ingredients (serves 4)
Chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced 600 gm
Oyster sauce 1/3 cup
Sweet chilli sauce 1/3 cup
Sen yai rice noodles 500 gm
Peanut oil 2 tbspns
Asparagus, cut into 5 cm lengths
Long red chilli, deseeded, sliced 1
Garlic finely chopped 2 cloves
Sesame oil 1 tspn
Bok choy 1 bunch
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