Food

Matt Wilde gets into the fes­tive spirit with the de­li­cious fun­galin­spired Ital­ian de­lights served up in the el­e­gant sur­rounds of Ur­bani Truf­fle Bar & Restau­rant

Thailand Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Matt Wilde be­comes in­ti­mately ac­quainted with ‘the di­a­mond of the kitchen’ thanks to the so­phis­ti­cated Ital­ian cui­sine served in the chic sur­rounds of Ur­bani Truf­fle Bar and Restau­rant

es­cribed by 18th cen­tury French gour­mand Jean-An­thelme Bril­lat-Savarin as “the di­a­mond of the kitchen”, the not-so-hum­ble truf­fle takes the culi­nary spot­light at Ur­bani at Sathorn Square. The gem­stone anal­ogy is ap­po­site. The restau­rant opened in June 2018 as a ven­ture be­tween sea­soned lo­cal restau­ra­teur Roberto Ugolini and the Ur­bani fam­ily, which es­tab­lished its truf­fle em­pire in north­ern Italy in 1852 and to­day con­trols ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent of the global mar­ket in the cov­eted fun­gus, ef­fec­tively be­com­ing to the truf­fle what De Beers is to di­a­monds.

In Bangkok the Peru­gian pow­er­house has es­tab­lished an 80-seat restau­rant with

an ad­ja­cent 30-seat truf­fle bar, where there is also a neat dis­play of truf­fle-re­lated mer­chan­dise pro­duced by Ur­bani, in­clud­ing oils and a se­lec­tion of in­trigu­ing lo­cal­ly­made crisps flavoured with truf­fle, which are ex­ported all over the world. The chic out­let cer­tainly has a lav­ish feel that is ev­ery bit as rich as the cui­sine prom­ises to be. Here there are acres of mar­ble coun­ter­top, plushly up­hol­stered ban­quettes and chairs, pol­ished dark wood ta­bles and floor­ing and the warm glint of pol­ished brass fit­tings and goldtrimmed Ur­bani mo­tifs.

In the semi-open kitchen Ital­ian chef Marco Prilol and ex­ec­u­tive chef Sa­harat Tangthai prac­tise their culi­nary arts with aplomb and this New Year they will be serv­ing a fan­tas­tic seven-course menu that fea­tures dishes taken from the reg­u­lar a la carte menu and new of­fer­ings cre­ated just for the oc­ca­sion. A great starter is abalone, crab and saf­fron gratin. Be­fore cook­ing the abalone is brushed with lob­ster re­duc­tion for a con­cen­trated taste of the sea and the dish is served with Ur­bani truf­fle pearls and os­e­tra caviar. Also ex­cel­lent is a creamy white truf­fle and mush­room soup served with a puff pas­try truf­fle-crusted bread­stick for a nutty, crunchy el­e­ment.

The chefs re­ally show their skills with a beau­ti­ful dish of thinly sliced Hokkaido scal­lop with yuzu, otoro tar­tar and truf­fle tu­ile. It ar­rives dressed with what looks like lus­cious black caviar but turns out to be gleam­ing spheres of bal­samic. It is a zesty pre­lude to a won­der­ful home­made foie gras ravi­oli served with but­ter truf­fle sauce, slices of white truf­fle and parme­san cheese. Sim­ple it may be but this is a stand­out dish and a pop­u­lar choice on the menu. The pasta parcels also con­tain a fine paste of chicken breast, which pro­vides a firmer bite and a counter-bal­ance to the rich and earthy flavours of foie gras and truf­fle. Those who en­joy seafood will doubt­less be torn be­tween steamed tur­bot with Jerusalem ar­ti­choke, mi­cro greens and white truf­fle, and grilled Cana­dian lob­ster with brie and a mi­cro greens side salad dressed with white truf­fle shav­ings. The lob­ster is su­perb—the flesh plump and firm but also moist and full of flavour, with an af­ter­taste en­livened by the cheese.

In terms of high­lights from terra firma, try either braised bone mar­row and ten­der grilled tajima wagyu with white truf­fle cher­moula, or smoked Aus­tralian rack of lamb with truf­fle crusted sweet potato puree and pis­ta­chio. Both are slow-cooked and very ten­der—the bone mar­row has a creamy melt-in-the-mouth tex­ture while the lamb is cooked to a del­i­cate pink blush. Fi­nally, a deca­dent culi­nary jour­ney is rounded off with a dessert en­hanced with…you guessed it…the di­a­mond of the kitchen. So you can, for ex­am­ple, de­light in cold choco­late log larva with mint gel and truf­fle soil crum­ble. What­ever the oc­ca­sion, do treat your­self to a di­ges­tivo of chilled truf­fle-flavoured vodka with your cof­fee. It is a fit­tingly com­plex end to a so­phis­ti­cated meal.

Ur­bani Truf­fle Bar & Restau­rant, 39/F, Sathorn Square, 98 North Sathorn Road. Open Mon-Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 6pm-11pm. Tel: 0-2233-1990

SIM­PLE BUT STUN­NING (Clock­wise from top) Smoked Aus­tralian lamb cooked to a ten­der pink blush; home­made foie gras and truf­fle ravi­oli is a flavour rev­e­la­tion; Ur­bani of­fers a spec­tac­u­lar ur­ban back­drop to in­ti­mate fine din­ing

Fare with flair (From left) Braised bone mar­row and grilled tajima wagyu with white truf­fle cher­moula; beau­ti­fully pre­sented Hokkaido scal­lop, yuzu and otoro tar­tar; grilled Cana­dian lob­ster and brie with a side salad of mi­cro greens and white truf­fle shav­ings

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