Location, Location, Location
How many times have you heard this about real estate? It applies even more so to restaurants especially in Phuket during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I finally returned to Phuket a month ago- I was away or 7 months! To my horror, many places were shuttered or only open Thursday through Saturday, but Raisa enticed me to try an oldie but in a new location in Cherngtalay.
For 7 or 8 years I passed Bocconcino in Surin, occasionally stopping for a coffee and pastry, cold cuts or even pizza bases. Always good value but not a favourite as usually too far from Layan Beach or I was running late and didn’t have the time to stop.
Raisa had called for a catch-up and suggested dinner at Bocconcino saying Chef/Owner Massimo had moved and opened near Boat Avenue 3 weeks ago and “ambience and outlook” were great. With great respect to Chef Massimo, his new place is now in the spotlight after being hidden for almost 8 years.
Chef Massimo is from Sardinia and his path crossed with Alessandro of Acqua when both of them were in London working Grovenor House in the late 1990s. Hence the influence of Sardinia in his food, but unlike many London chefs, the food served the other night, is why you go to Italy and travel the country-side- It is “Mama’s comfort food”
As you walk in, right near the entrance, there is the same display of typical Italian cold cuts and cheeses and Massimo has added the Grappa trolley, to be rolled out afterwards at dinner. At the end of the night, we couldn’t resist and the trolley was pushed to our table- we counted 17 different Grappas- something for everyone and if you are not a Grappa fan there is always the traditional Limoncello.
Massimo now has added a bar in Bocconcino, there is chill music playing (it adds to the atmosphere but you can still listen and talk to others at your table), it overlooks the lake and a cool breeze off the lake is complemented by fans. There is an airconditioned section within the restaurant although the best place to sit is on the decking outside. There is a new big pizza oven and most pasta is made in his large kitchen.
Most people say it is the food, some say the ambience, but I think it is a visible “Mine Host” or preferably chef there, to advise on dishes and combinations of food.
So from a range of salads, pizzas (almost 40) and kinds of pasta, there are also typical Italian seafood, lamb and beef dishes all to be complemented by a good range of Italian wines from all the major regions- There are a few new world wines as well.
What makes a restaurant special? Most people say it is the food, some say the ambience, but I think it is a visible “Mine Host” or preferably chef there, to advise on dishes and combinations of food. In Phuket we have Chef Martin at Taste, Chef Noi at Suay, Chef Jonathan at Boathouse, Chef Alessandro at Acqua, Chef Bruna at Luca-Cini and Massimo at Bocconcino- can't really think of too many others This personal touch indicates the Chef has confidence in his kitchen staff and is a major reason why a restaurant becomes “your Regular”. Not sure I can think of many other places where the chef does a regular wander getting feedback and making suggestions
On the first night I went (decided already I will be a regular) we started with a fresh artichoke salad, then shared a porcini pizza with white truffles (shaved by the Chef) followed by 3 pasta dishes:-
Again, each with shaved white truffle on top
Excluding the cost of a quality Italian red, the food worked out at about 1,000 baht ahead for 6 dishes shared among the 3 of us. Quality and great value.
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Many of the old staff from his old Surin location have moved, so service is at a very good level, low key but very efficient. The addition of a new mixologist for the bar- never really got to try- (needed to leave something for next time)
My sense is the ambience, location and layout is suitable for
After 8.5 years in Phuket, Chef/Owner Massimo has taken a big step to becoming a mainstream restaurant in Cherngtalay and I think the new format will work very well
Bocconcino is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. The official opening is set for 28th November but the restaurant is working well for only having opened late October
Contact Massimo Pellinau- Chef/Owner
21/14 Lagoon Rd, Boat Avenue
Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket