I've been doing restaurant reviews for a local listings mag as of late and have decided to include some of the more interesting places here. However, I should make it clear that for each of these, my visit has been arranged ahead of time and I'm not paying for the food. Despite this, I'll do my best to be as objective as possible, and my goal is simply to spread the word of good eats in Bangkok, not to promote certain restaurants.
One of my first visits has to be one of the oddest restaurants in Bangkok. Big Mama describes itself as a pizzeria/Italian restaurant, but could be more accurately classified as Italian-American food with Thai accents as served to a Japanese and Korean clientele. Despite this geographical confusion, it works somehow, and I really enjoyed the majority of my meal.
Being a fan of salt and fish, I began with anchovy spaghetti:
Which was served in an earthenware container, topped with a dough lid and baked for a few minutes. Upon arriving at the table, the staff opens this 'lid':
to reveal steaming pasta topped with anchovies, chilies and parsley. However the best part was found at the bottom of the bowl, and was a 'sauce' of garlic and shallots sauteed in olive oil until they reached an almost creamlike state. This dish, with its disparate Italian roots, hearty American serving size, and Thai flavours, somehow really worked.
The pasta was accompanied by Greek salad:
Which was just about perfect--a tasty, well-balanced dressing, delicious tomatoes and bell peppers (that I suspect come from the excellent Royal Project Foundation), and plenty of salty feta.
And this being a pizzeria, they encouraged me to try one of their pizzas, and provided a combo:
The pizza, really the only disappointment of the meal, was topped with a bizarre combination of hot dog-like sausage, lunch meat ham, enoki mushrooms, bell peppers and cheese. Despite being made in a custom-built wood-burning oven, the pie just couldn't support the extreme variety of unrelated toppings and mostly went home in a doggie bag. A bit odd that they would choose this particular pie for me to sample. To be fair, the sauce was nice, and the dough OK, and I suspect a pizza of more subtle topping could very well be pretty good.
In addition to the colourful interior (first pic above), Big Mama also has a pleasant outdoor dining area:
If I lived closer, I would easily make Big Mama my local Italian/American/Thai restaurant.
Big Mama Pizzeria
139 Asok Soi 1
02 259 0232