i first ate this chef's cuisine when he was at the sheraton grand sukhumvit hotel here in bangkok. he was there for several years and he left of his own accord, which is rare for bangkok hotel chefs. i then followed him to a new venue where he was again in charge of the cuisine at the paragon center. this last incarnation of his at niu's is by far the best, and a perfect fit.
his menus are always varied italian and always a joy to not only read, but of course to eat from. the rather extensive wine list is a perfect match as well. the surroundings, whether indoors or out are tastefully designed and well attended by his staff who are quite knowledgeable regarding what they are serving. the music is superb when it is live and the recoded music is also well chosen for this type of venue.
on my last visit i had a starter of a chilled vegetable terrine with goat cheese that included beet root, pumpkin and carrot all wrapped in a cabbage leaf. it is moistened with green apple and tomato reductions that accent it and its small side of greens perfectly. i would say it is one of the top ten things i have ever had the pleasure to eat, anywhere.
i next had a half an order of fresh oysters au gratin. again, perfectly cooked and the topping was not so heavy as to obscure the taste and freshness of the oysters themselves.
for a main dish i opted for the new zealand rack of lamb. again, simply divine and cooked to a perfect medium rare just as i like it. it is sitting in a wonderful pool of pureed potato and veggies that is indescribably delicious. i am a firm believer that certain foods must be eaten with your hands and lamb chops fall into this class for me. as i removed the meat from the bone the ever so slight char gave the meat a taste that sets nui's chef apart from the mob of italians who claim to be cooking authentic cuisine here in bangkok's plethora of italian restaurants.
not only is he a chef of great acclaim, he is also one of the most gracious and generous hosts i have met in all my years of dining around the world. he makes it a point to meet and greet all guests and offer them not only his assistance in ordering, but his ego allows him to customize any dish to your taste or dietary requirement. another rare trait in chefs as far as i have experienced. his ability to match wines to the food is also great. he simply wants you to have the best experience that you can have.
rarely do i have room to make it through to ordering desert, but on the occasions that i have they have always been the perfect ending to the meal. they do all the baking and deserts on premise and all the little side dishes and garnishes are always up to the same par as the dishes themselves.
although not a cheap or inexpensive place to eat, i have to say that it is true value for money spent. a similar meal in new york or europe would cost 3 or 4 times the price, and the service would probably not be the same either.
this cuisine is not overly garnished or presented in such away as to detract from the original intent of the dishes themselves. this is what i would call nuova cucina italiana, new italian kitchen. un-muddled nor heavy handed, this food teases and caresses the willing palette with new flavors and textures. world class cuisine for sure.
as i said in the beginning, i follow this chef wherever he hangs his hat and he has never let me down.
ps - if you like risotto, try some at niu's, you will be pleased.
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