1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant
reviewed by : Sandrine Hudin
28 September 2019
1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant celebrates the Italian essence of the Dolce Vita by bringing the Italian "aperitivo" culture to Bangkok and firmly establishing itself as Bangkok's first and only Negroni bar. The restaurant’s name is also a tribute as the Negroni cocktail was first created 100 years ago in the year “1919” in Florence, Italy.
Behind the bar, Negroni maestro and winner of the Campari Bartender Competition Asia 2018, Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana has crafted a special drinks menu inspired by the classic Negroni. Coffee lovers will be pleased to discover the Spatial Concept, a Negroni inspired cocktail kissed with a coffee finish. For the most sophisticated palate, try sipping on their signature Truffle Negroni.
Francesco Deiana, the Sardinian-born chef and partner, who has helmed the kitchen since it prior incarnation as Via Maris, yet has created a new menu focused on the best quality products from Italy and locally sourced organic seafood. Chef Francesco delivers quality comfort food inspired by traditional and authentic Italian recipes.
We started with a few small plates perfect for sharing while sipping a glass of wine. First, we had the Chargrilled Australian Wagyu Strip Loin 5+ Marble in ‘Tagliata’ style cooked perfectly and seasoned only with salt. The strip loin was served into thin slices to the table and it was simply exquisite.
Then, we had the “Smoked Grilled Squid, Black Ink Sauce & Rosemary”. An elegant yet playful plate with a big splash of the black squid ink sauce alongside a grilled squid with lemon wedge, which a bit reminiscent of a painting. The squid is sourced locally from an organic farm and was succulent, as it has been sous-vided and grilled, enhancing the delicate flavor of the squid.
Next, we had the pasta which was highly recommended by the waiter, “Fall-off-the-bone Pork Ribs, Hand-rolled Fileja Pasta, Spicy Nduja Sausage & Pecorino Romano”. The hand-rolled fileja pasta was so good I could have “falled-off” my chair! We loved the texture and the bite of the pasta and the flavor was enhanced beautifully by the spices from the nduja which was perfectly blended into the tomato sauce. I would not have minded having more sauce to dip in. The pork ribs, regrettably, were not fall-off-the-bone as it has been explicitly mentioned in the menu and felt the pork ribs were a bit off in this dish. Unquestionably, the hand-made pasta was the star of the plate.
We also had tried the “Truffle w/ Slow-cooked Egg, Butter & Italian Black Truffle Pizzetta”. The thin pizza crust reminds one of a thin crispy focaccia served as an appetizer to go along with a Negroni or Spritz. While tasty, it did not enthuse us as we would have preferred fresher truffle instead of truffle condiments.
As a secondi (main course), we shared the “Grilled Spanish Octopus, Chickpeas, Smoked Paprika”. It is one of the few dishes that remains from the menu of Via Maris. It was delicious and very pleasant. The octopus was perfectly cooked and charred. The knife sliced the tentacle with such ease like it was butter. We liked the combination of the Corinthian raisins which added a fresh, crunchy sweetness to balance out the smoky paprika and nutty flavors from the chickpeas.
To end the meal, we tried an Italian doughnut called Bomboloni served in three different flavors: Strawberry & Champagne, Tiramisu, and Nutella. Our favorite was undoubtedly the Nutella flavor. It was a lickerish dessert that reminded me of my childhood.
Despite a few minor issues, 1919 Italian Bar & Restaurant offers an overall good vibe with creative cocktails and an unpretentious and affordable menu. The staff is service-minded, professional and very friendly plus knowledgeable. This is definitely a place where you would return to for their comfy food, wine, and innovative Negroni cocktails.