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Friday, February 22, 2013

Buono Bistro - Italian Restaurant Review - Promenade, Bangkok

Buono Bistro - Italian Restaurant at The Promenade Mall - Ramintra Bangkok

Overall Score  7.5/10
Taste   3.5/5
Ambiance  4/5
Service  4/5
Value   3.5/5

Buono Bistro - Italian Restaurant on BumRes (For more pictures and menu)

The Buono Bistro is one of the attractive non-franchise restaurants at the Promenade, fairly new shopping plaza on Ramintra road.  If we consider the meaning of the word Bistro, this restaurant might not fit its definition as well since Bistro usually refers to a mid to small size neighborhood French food shop and this Buono Bistro is a luxurious and grand place, which should be called a Restaurant or Fine dining.  Its big size was easily divided into two main areas; My Lady Hall, near the entrance; and the My Lord Hall, on the other side.  For sharing similarities in decoration, the differences aren’t as notable enough to clearly define the character as they are named.  Though both speaks luxury with the black and white floor and adorned with chandeliers and Louis furniture.  Wine shelves and metal moose’s heads are presented on the My Lord Hall.  I was in the My Lady Hall this visit.    

Besides having the décor exceeds the character of a “Bistro”, the staffs and the level of service are also more formal than what an Italian would expect in an Italian Bistro.  But this seems to be typical for nice European restaurants in Thailand to name itself bistro.  For the price of around 500 to 1000 baht per person, it is considered expensive a meal in Bangkok.  This is probably why Bistros in Thailand are more extravagance.  In fact, nowadays Bistros around the world are like any restaurant serving European food.  In my opinion, Bistro is just a name to emphasize the homely feel within a restaurant to make it sound more authentic.  The Buono Bistro has all the qualities like any pricey restaurants in the Bangkok Metropolitan, comparable to the ones in five star hotels, which is surprising to find it in a shopping mall.  This place even has the full on wine cellar as well as the wood fired oven for making the pizza just like any nice Italian restaurants in Bangkok.      

Regarding the food at the Buono Bistro, it is all Italian just like the name with additional popular European dishes.  A surprising thing about this restaurant is the amount of food selection in the menu.  For Pastas alone, there are about 30 different types.  I was told that the pastas are homemade here in the kitchen, so the quality is supposed to be unique.  For Pizzas, there are more than 30 choices.  With the Salads, Appetizers, and Main Courses; we have about a hundred items in the menu of this Bistro restaurant.  Personally I have never found any Italian restaurants with so many choices in the menu.  The price is average for a nice European restaurant, around two to three hundred baht for Pizza, Pasta, or appetizers and the Main courses are priced around 500-1,000 baht per dish.  This price range seems to be average for any Italian restaurant across the city of Bangkok, whether it would be in the city or suburbs. 

In this meal, we started off with the Spinach soup (150 baht).  This is a rare soup that I have never seen elsewhere, quite a veggie lover’s item.  Its greenness makes it looks like broccoli slush in a bowl.  With the white foam addition as a touch up to make it more interesting, this soup still had a strong spinach taste and smell.  To be honest, when it is served hot, it is quite an enjoyable soup as a nice change.  Let’s give it a new name, how about the Popeye’s soup? Yeah, that sounds about right.  

The second dish was the grilled vegetable salad (180 baht).  Being the signature salad, it is a really fascinating dish.  Again with the healthy choice, this salad had bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, mushroom, and asparagus.  All were nicely grilled but to enjoy it plainly, it was kind of a awkward for me.  This dish would be better if it came as compliment to a steak.   

The third dish was the Buono Cheese deep fried (Pecorino cheese, mozzarella cheese- 180 baht).  Once again, this menu was remarkable.  I have never had it before and I loved it.  Its appearance was outstanding, like a giant puff pie except the puffing was hollow and with only cheese.  The taste and texture of it was incredible.  For its size, it is best for sharing.  This cheese deep fried thing was so simple and yet so cool.    

The fourth dish was the Spaghetti with minced mixed meat & tomato sauce (240 baht).  This was just a basic pasta that can be found in Italian restaurants anywhere.  It was delicious above average.  The fifth dish was the Fusilli pasta with crab meat white wine sauce & fresh tomato (280 baht).  The Fusilli is not usually found at all Italian restaurants.  I am not sure if the fusilli is homemade here but I would think that this type of pasta would normally come out of a machine.  For spaghetti or linguini, I could imagine that the Buono Bistro @ the Promenade can make it themselves right here in the kitchen.  I liked the crab meat and the crab but overall mixture of the sauce and everything wasn’t in harmony quite yet.

The sixth dish was the Braised beef cheek in red wine sauce served with homemade fettuccine pasta (750 baht) from the main course section of the menu.  The beef cheek was perfectly tender and full flavored.  The sauce was very thick and rich but it was too salty or anything.  To enjoy with the homemade fettuccine, this dish was definitely impressive to me.  I highly recommend this menu.  

The last dish was the Pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, prawns pizza (320 baht).  This pizza was of course made from the wood fired oven in the back.  The plain presentation of the light green color of pesto sauce highlighted with shrimps topping was charming.  For this price and to get all these shrimps, it was very well worth it, compared to the market pizza with delivery service.  The crispy thin crust was absolutely my favorite, with the cheese and the shrimp, this pizza couldn’t get any better for how simple it was.  Great pizza!       

For the classy character, the Buono Bistro seemed to be a bit out of place being in the shopping mall.  Having the atmosphere, the service, and the food of this grade, this Bistro restaurant is more appropriate being standalone.  From seeing other restaurants in the Promenade @ Ramintra, the Buono Bistro is well above all considering the price and its luxury.  Now that I think of it, there are no Italian fine dining anywhere in this area, so this restaurant can perhaps attract customers who like to go to fine Italian restaurants in the center of the city.  If you live in on this side of town, the Buono Bistro is a great premium Italian choice for you.  Check it out! 

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