The Sage Advice Of Salvia Italian Restaurant
Grand Hyatt Erawan’s latest gastronomic addition, Salvia occupies an expansive and yet cosy space that used to be home to the hotel’s French fine dining restaurant, Tables Grill. Step inside the new eatery and you are transported to a neighbourhood-style osteria—a dimly lit, bustling interior with tables sectioned by wooden screens and plants, giving it a unique indoor-outdoor touch. Helming the kitchen is chef Roberto Parentela, who has moved from Spasso downstairs as it no longer serves food, who dishes out original recipes reflecting his family’s Piedmontese and Sardinian roots. The result is a considered one-page menu featuring traditional Italian offerings made for sharing.
Parentela takes pride in utilising as much local produce as possible, believing that authentic Italian flavours do not have to rely on imported ingredients. For this reason diners are guaranteed the freshest of vegetables and seafood, while gorgeous sausages and pastas are made in-house. We start our meal with the Salvia staple, a simple but very tasty platter of cooked prosciutto (cotto). The ham is prepared over many hours in an aromatic sage broth, a neat nod to the restaurant’s name—salvia being Italian for sage. It is served with artisanal bread, house-churned butter and crunchy pickled vegetables for an added tang. Incredibly moreish, it would be easy to over-do the prosciutto but another opener of burrata e pomodori, a beautiful pick-me-up of juicy organic tomatoes, shallots and olives accompanied by an incredibly fresh and creamy burrata made from 100 per cent non-pasteurised milk, is also highly recommended. Parentela personally sources the unctuous soft cheese from a local cheesemaker and was closely involved in its recipe.
Moving on to more robust fare, from the wood-fired oven comes Salvia’s superb signature pizza—salsiccia e broccolini. Done in the Napolitana style, it features a flavourful topping of traditional Italian sausage, red onion, young broccoli, mozzarella and gorgonzola baked on a thin, crisp crust. Two sizes are available, light or full, and diners are welcome to pick and mix different topping combinations on the latter. The restaurant’s pasta menu doesn’t fail to impress either. Recommended for a taste of the sea is paccheri neri al granchio, a generous helping of broad-tubed paccheri pasta cooked al dente with squid ink for colour and flavour. It comes with a fantastic savoury tarragon-infused shellfish broth made with sustainably farmed crab from southern Thailand. An equally good alternative is fusilli caserreci al ferretto, which is a soulful marriage of freshly-made chewy fussili topped with a wonderfully rich slow-braised lamb ragout and dried ricotta.
All that said, if there is one dish you simply must try it is tagliata di manzo. Made here with zero waste in mind, it comprises tender Australian Angus rib-eye grilled over old grapevines from the GranMonte winery in Nakhon Ratchasima—where the restaurant also sources some of its wines. Cooked to a perfect medium-rare and served on a bed of rocket and tomato salad, the luscious steak reveals a light and lingering smoky aftertaste. In the true Italian style it is ideal for sharing, which is just as well because if you have paced yourself properly throughout the meal you should have room to end with a classic tiramisu that is decadently creamy and soaked in Italian rum, or Salvia’s enervating take on tarte tatin—a crisp, wafer-thin, fruity sweet and sour delight served with homemade pistachio ice cream.
While diners are guaranteed upscale service at Salvia, the restaurant tries to steer clear of fine dining pretentions. Well-made Italian cuisine served in generous portions at reasonable prices in a relaxed and inviting setting make it a superb option for convivial dining. Saluti.
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, 494 Ratchadamri Road
Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm; 5:30-10pm
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