In between all the trendy restaurants, chic eateries and up-market bistros, what is sometimes craved is an Italian which can offer classic tablecloth style dining for romancing couples, a relaxed family style restaurant as well as a going out for the night, out on the town feeling as well.
It takes the inimitable style of Via Vai, with its Neapolitan menu to really add a touch of flair and charisma to up-and-coming Sukhumvit Soi 8, which seems to be attracting attention on the Bangkok culinary map with what might just be the best pizzas in Bangkok.
The big outdoor eating and drinking area has a pop-in-for-a-quick-drink-and-a-snack inviting ambience with a lounge feel too. The white rattan patio style furniture and white brick pillars give Via Vai an easy, almost holiday ambience. Inside the brick pizza oven is fired up and white table cloths project a more formal restaurant atmosphere.
The antipasto for 700 thb is a huge platter for two with wonderful mouth-watering morsels of Italian loveliness.
With a glass or 160 thb Italian red served in bulbous glasses, as should always be the case, this is a dish of all things yummy – spicy salami, grilled aubergine, shrimp cocktail, beef carpaccio with parmesan, Italian mortadella, Parma ham with melon, tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella, black olives, artichokes, salmon on crisp bread and a caper and tuna, mayonnaise dip.
This is all served with pizza bread and if it sounds like a feast fit for a signor and signorita who are singing for their supper that is because it most certainly is.
However, the delicacies are delicate and there is more than enough room for the grande dame of the menu, the Pizza Via Vai, for 430 thb. Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, ricotta and Gorgonzola are layered with grilled zucchini, rocket and Parma ham wrapped around a tepee of breadsticks rising out of the dough like an edible Tower of Pisa.
The dough is what makes Via Vai stand out. With a recipe coming from the kitchen of a mama in Naples, the world’s pizza capital, this is as authentic as it gets. The dough is soft and crispy in all the right places, enough to make you feel you are being seduced by the most bella or bello of all Italians. Before you know it you are shrugging your shoulders, telling your dining companion that you love them and realizing that all is good with the world.
Yes, a pizza can do all this. Smaller portion of pizza loving for 150 thb are served too. The lamb shank in red wine sauce for 600 thb served with carrots, spinach and potatoes shows Via Vai does more than dish out delicious dough. The style is home cooked, rather than sophisticated and with a glass of grappa liquor for a digestif and classic desserts such as pannacotta and tiramisu offering a sweet touch, Via Vai deserves to have a chance to sing out its own tasteful Neapolitan aria to the Bangkok dining crowds.