Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen is a family style Italian restaurant serving lunch and dinner in contemporary but comfortable surroundings in Bangkok, Thailand. The popular eatery's hallmarks are fresh ingredients and simple recipes with a sophisticated spin.
Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen in Bangkok, Thailand, proves that there is more to Italian cuisine than pizza and spaghetti Bolognese.
The restaurant serves set lunches Monday through Friday as well as an a la carte menu daily at lunch and dinner.
Included are cured meats and cheeses, antipasti, salads and soups, pasta, main courses ranging from grilled meats to seafood, and decadent Italian desserts.
As for the pasta, there is rigatoni, linguine, pappardelle, penne, risotto, gnocchi. and - of course! - spaghetti. But after scouring the menu, I couldn't find spaghetti Bolognese.
For that, I'm afraid, you'll have to visit one of the many other Italian restaurants scattered about town. Or make it yourself ...
On a tour of the kitchen I discovered a wood-burning oven, which I mistook for a pizza oven, but the restaurant doesn't serve pizza.
It is used, instead, for roasted stews, to make focaccia, and to finish grill dishes for the last 30 seconds in the oven.
If I have any regrets about my visit to Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen, it is only that my visit coincided with a solemn holiday, which in this devoutly Buddhist country meant that we weren't able to wash our meal down with any of the fine Italian wines from the restaurant's extensive wine list.
A good excuse, I believe, to re-visit the restaurant on my next trip to the Big Mango! My mouth waters at the thought.
Francesco Lenzi heads the kitchen at the eponymous Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen, which has been taking Bangkok's fussy foodies by storm ever since it opened several months ago.
In his mid-30s, Francesco opened the elegant eatery following seven years of cooking up a storm at some of the top tables in Bangkok and Hua Hin, the summer retreat of Thai royalty.
Francesco's last gig before opening Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen was serving as Executive Chef at the highly acclaimed Medici Kitchen and Bar at Hotel Muse Bangkok, which was named The Best Italian Restaurant in Bangkok for three years running by Thailand Tatler magazine.
By coincidence, I also spent two nights at the quirky boutique hotel - a hotel review is coming.
When asked what the secret was for the mouth-watering cured meats that he served at Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen , Chef Francesco told me that he imported them direct from an exclusive farm in Tuscany, which butchers and cures them according to exacting traditional techniques.
If I remember correctly, it is run by a member of the extended family.
My dining companion was Hong Kong Foodie Kaos Lam, who publishes the Chinese language travel blog, Eat Sleep Recycle Godorochi.
Il Benevenuto Della Cucina - our tasting menu began with a little amuse bouche as welcome from the chef. OMG! I've never had cured meats this succulent or tasty - and what an amazing texture they had!
Manzo di Pozza con Burratina, Pamigiano e Polvere di Melanza - following the cured meats we were presented with plates of marinated beef carpaccio with arugula and 36-month aged Parmesan shavings, which were dusted with dried eggplant powder.
Paccheri ai Gamberi del Medditerraneo - another seafood course followed, paccheri with Sicilian red prawns tartar, crustacean bisque, and dried olives.
Ravioli Ripieni di Foie Gras in Salsa di Tartufo - it wouldn't be an Italian dinner without pasta. In this case it was stuffed homemade ravioli with French foie gras and ricotta cheese in truffle emulsion.
Ravioli have always been my favourite Italian repast, and these were about as good as they get. Topped with a little shaved Parmesan cheese, perhaps?
Pluma di Maiale Iberico, Pure Cremoso di Patae and Scalogno Brasato - any room left for the main course? When the pan-seared Iberian pluma pork with creamy potatoes and stewed shallots arrived, we made room!
Tiramisu and Panna Cotta and Passion Fruit - I'm a big fan of desserts, but I finished off the quality coffee sponge cake and chocolate, a.k.a. tiramisu, and the Piedmont style cooked cream and passion fruit with gusto. Which one did I like better?
The progression of dishes was well-paced, with a focus was on quality ingredients that were perfectly cooked and beautifully plated.
I was particularly impressed by the quality of the cured meats, which served as an accurate preview of the impeccable multi-course meal that was to follow.
The restaurant has a rustic yet sophisticated interior design, with salmon stucco walls and dark wood window frames and pillars. The simple white tablecloths and china put the focus on the food, as they should.
The open kitchen and comfy armchairs lent a homey feel. As a result, I almost felt that I was dining at someone's home rather than at a fine dining restaurant.
I've heard rumours that this is the best Italian restaurant in Bangkok, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I simply haven't eaten at enough Italian restaurants in the Thai capital to know for sure.
But I am sure that it is one of the best. It is certainly better than any of the Italian restaurants I've dined at in Hong Kong.
I loved this place and have already recommended it to friends that live in Bangkok. I hope to eat there on my next trip there, but I will make sure to check that there are no solemn holidays that prevent wine from being served!
Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen - 69/1-2 Ruamruedee 2, Wireless Road, Lumpini Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand. Telephone: +66 2 0010116 or +66 95 251 5040.