The Quiet Italian – Interview with Nicola Bonazza of Enoteca
There’s always that one place, that institution in every city that hardcore foodies know about but the rest of the mainstream public or tourists do not, unless a kind resident points us in the right direction.
In this instance, you can say Enoteca pretty much falls within this category. Regardless of the signs in the winding backstreets of Sukhumvit which boldly state “Michelin Chef” (apparently not Nico’s idea), then little hoopla and hype is to be seen or heard about Enoteca, but this is no way a reflection of the place or food quality.
While many establishments are frantically pumping out new menus, flashing accolades and inflating their chef’s profiles, the team at Enoteca are quietly going about their business and placing bums-on-seats as usual. Bangkok Foodies interview the second generation proprietor, Nicolas Bonazza, about why he chooses to stay ‘no-key’, and also introduces us to their new….wait for it… “Michelin Chef”!
FULL NAME (NICKNAME): Nicola Bonazza (Nico)
BUSINESS NAME: Enoteca Italiana Bangkok
Tell us a bit about the history of Enoteca?
NB: Enoteca was opened in December 2004. Me and my dad decided to open it in the garden of my dad’s house, we wanted to do a place for wine and simple food like cold cuts, but after I decided to evolve more into a restaurant and in something that you can’t find in the city. Not the usual copy and paste Italian restaurant.
BKF: Why did you decide on such a discreet location?
NB: Was free of charge no rent and it was near home (actually in the garden)
BKF: What does “Enoteca” mean?
NB: Enoteca in Italian means wine library. Enos= wine in Greek – Latin Like bibliotheca for books, a place for wine. That can be a wine shop to a restaurant.
BKF: We notice you have large signs which direct people to your restaurant, with “Michelin Chef” as a draw card, have you only ever had Michelin Chefs and why?
NB: Chef Stefano Borra is the first, the previous ones was very good chefs with training in Michelin star restaurant
BKF: For such a bold statement to acquire Michelin Chefs but at the same time being very discreet or “low key”, is this your tactic?
NB: I am not a marketing animal, I am discreet and I don’t give much confidence in everyone, I grew up in Genova.
BKF: Enoteca is well known among serious foodies, yet you don’t seem to be very “showy” about it, or put your Chef’s on a grand pedestal (despite the signs), many actually don’t know you have a new chef. Is this how it has always been and why?
NB: The signs is my dad’s idea, I wouldn’t do it. Yes I like serious people who knows about food. not the trendy fashion instagram folks. Yes many peoples still don’t know about us, I never market a lot and I am not about fashion.
BKF: Tell us a bit about your new chef and his style of cuisine?
NB: His style is very classic but modern, no fuzzy no molecular stuff, but concrete food as the Lasagna 2017, people can try at the special event, “Marco Polo Fine Wines Dinner” on the 28th November. Chef Stefano’s cuisine is perfect for our style. Modern with very strong traditional base and yet substance.
BKF: What can we expect of his dishes?
NB: A lot of different taste, I mean every dish has a very distinctive taste.
BKF: What do you think of Michelin finally arriving in Thailand, Bangkok?
NB: It will greatly improve the quality and the service. A great opportunity for Bangkok so we must grow and improve everybody.
BKF: What changes have you seen or thoughts you have about the Michelin-craze in Bangkok?
NB: Michelin is very discreet , never talk much ( well here in Thai they use quite a lot the social media that I’ve never see in italy ), and everybody talk without knowing anything. So let’s see what’s gonna happen, need to wait a few more weeks.
BKF: What are your favourite places to eat around Bangkok, name 3 if possible?
BUSINESS ADDRESS: 27 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Bangkok 10110
OPENING HOURS: Everyday 6.30pm-10.00pm
PHONE: 02 258 4386
FACEBOOK: Enoteca Bangkok