JOJO

JOJO

By : JOHN GRANVILLE

20 February 2019

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summary : Modern Italian food served in a gorgeous setting at the gracious St. Regis.

About: Jojo opened in 2011, at the same time the St. Regis opened, and straight away the restaurant secured itself at the top end of the market in line with the distinguished ancestry of the St. Regis brand; the original hotel having opened in New York in 1904, and under the ownership of John Jacob Astor IV had become a centre for high society. Over the past eight years, Jojo has built upon its reputation, hosting Michelin-rated guest chefs and evolving a menu that manages to combine rustic dishes with more contemporary Italian styles. Presently helming Jojo is Chef Michele Bravo.

Decor: Located off the hotel lobby, Jojo has its own bar on the right hand side just inside the door, with big cube lanterns overhead and blackboards announcing what's special, along with a few stools and high tables. Beyond this is the dining room, initially with a few tables in front of an open kitchen and then with a more formal dining area that is replete with ambient lighting, sliding panels and loads of photographs on the walls. 

Menu: JoJo's has a very good selection of Italian beers, all at the same price (340 baht) and including a hoppy LA5 with a crispy, bitter finish, brewed by l’Olmaia at a small farmhouse in Tuscany. The restaurant has two distinct personalities. Lunches are rustic and provide a trattoria-like meal: an antipasti buffet with dessert at 750 baht, or the same with an added main course selected from the a la carte, at 990 baht. This is ideal for those without too much time to spare. Evenings, however, are far more in the relaxed Italian fine dining style. There is a wood-fired pizza oven with a list of half a dozen pizzas, of which the al tartufo (690 baht), with its black truffle, oven-baked potato and mozzarella is outstanding. The ingredients used throughout the menu are, as one may expect, of prime quality. Cappesante affumicate (690 baht) was a dish of Hokkaido scallops with green apple and apple fume. Pigeon liver mousse (590 baht) was spread on brioche bread with a sprinkling of berry powder. An Italian salad is hard to resist, and the insalata di rucola e frutti rossi (430 baht) was a colourful, vibrant heaping of wild rocket salad, red berries, beetroot, raspberry and balsamic vinegar dressing with extra virgin olive oil. One of us had ravioli stuffed with foie gras and black truffle (690 baht). From the mains listing, the diner who had had the pigeon liver mousse also had the grilled squab pigeon served with black olives (1,490 baht), while the other had roasted Italian suckling pig (1,450 baht), a traditional dish presented exquisitely with a chestnut foam. For dessert, hot chocolate foam with crushed rum ice (360 baht), wonderfully sweet but also light.

Evaluation: Although Jojo cannot be described as cheap, it is not the most expensive Italian restaurant in town, and one can dine here at a reasonably low cost, if that is necessary. Otherwise, of course, you can go as high as you wish. Although instinct tells us to roll up at the St. Regis door in a limousine, the fact that the hotel has its own skyway connection to the concourse of the Rajdamri BTS station is a big advantage.