Elementi Is A Culinary Destination In Rayong
For chef Raffaele Dadone taking up the post of executive chef and head of F&B at the Holiday Inn & Suites in downtown Rayong was a challenge he couldn’t resist. The culinary veteran has worked in senior positions at resorts in exotic locations such as the Maldives and Bali but says what attracted him to the more prosaic commercial heart of Thailand’s eastern seaboard was the vision of the Holiday Inn & Suites’ owner, Pattamabhorn Nokhong.
“We have an enlightened person at the top who is keen that the hotel makes its mark on Rayong, her hometown. She is very supportive in what we are trying to do at Elementi. We are the first in Rayong to operate at this level and so we have a chance to be the pathfinder. This is one of the reasons we import premium international produce, including the best selection of wine in the district. We want to set a new standard that others follow,” says the native of Alba, Italy. And follow they do if being copied is a form of flattery. “Our competitors seem to wait for us to put on a promotion and then try to do the same thing. It’s a backhanded compliment,” Dadone laughs.
Elementi has certainly become the preferred venue for local business dinners, family gatherings and romantic interludes and many of the patrons are repeat customers. The restaurant’s ambience is chic but laid back, the décor contemporary but not overwhelming and the views of the town and nearby coast from the 30th floor spectacular. It is the perfect spot to meet for after-work drinks followed by a hearty meal prepared in Elementi’s open kitchen.
“Our cuisine is as authentic as the diner wants,” says Dadone. “For example, we make carbonara in the true Italian style with only egg for our Italian customers but we do a wetter version using cream to suit local tastes. We also have a number of Italian seafood dishes on the menu to which we can add local herbs and spices such as chilli or holy basil to impart a familiar flavour.”
Many of the plates on the menu are ideal for sharing and a suggestion for a meal for two taking in highlights from the land and sea opens with petto d’anatra affumicata and foie gras, which is tender pan-seared foie gras with smoked duck breast, chestnut puree, fennel and orange confit, Peruvian fig and blueberry balsamic reduction. Bursting with flavour, it is at once light and delicate but also rich and satisfying and sets up the next dish of fettucine all’aragosta. This comprises linguine pasta with Canadian lobster, bell pepper, spicy Shanghai sauce, fresh broccoli, chilli and sweet basil for an Italian-inspired plate redolent of the Orient.
What follows is a wonderful signature offering of grilled Japanese Miyazaki wagyu (A3). Cooked to tender pink perfection, it is served with miso-mashed potato, fried bok choy and enokitake mushroom and grilled spring onion. A good seafood alternative is halibut alla Siciliana, which is Sicilian-style halibut baked with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. The fish is very delicate with a subtle flavour but punch is added by the accompanying sauteed zucchini and smoked cherry tomato sauce. Finally, a dessert of hazelnut snow comprising almond sponge, hazelnut cream, chocolate ganache and white chocolate crumble rounds off a great meal well worth travelling east to sample.
Elementi Rooftop Grill & Bar
30th Floor, Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong
Open daily 5pm-midnight
See also: Thailand Tatler's Top Italian Restaurants In Bangkok Of 2019