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Escape the crowds and discover the truly Italian flavour of La Gritta

Amari Phuket may be located just a few minutes from the heart of Patong, but it feels a world away from the hectic traffic and bustling bars that line its streets. As you head to the southern end of the Patong beach road and up the hill to Amari, passing over a small inlet with fisherman’s shacks lining its banks, the madness of Phuket’s party town fades into the background.


Mark Knowles

Sunday 6 November 2016, 02:00PM


It must be a relief for guests staying here to have this oasis of tranquillity to retreat to after a long day in town. I’m not here to stay, however, I’m here to try the new discovery menu at Amari’s premier Italian restaurant La Gritta.

But before heading to my table, I stop to imbibe a refreshing drink at the Samutr Bar, this fantastic open air space is on a level above La Gritta and has commanding views of Patong Bay and comfy couch seating, it’s well worth coming here for a drink even if you’re not dining.

After finishing my drink, I head down the stairs to eat and get a great table right at the edge of the balcony, with the waves lapping at the rocky shore just below my feet. Ordering is a simple affair with the discovery menu which highlights some of Chef Patrizia Battolu’s tried-and-true favourites. The only choice is which wine to start with and whether to have the black cod or the free-range chicken.

With that taken care of, the first appetizer of grilled marinated artichokes and sautéed tiger prawn tail soon arrives, and just as quickly disappears – so succulent, and there’s no sense in letting it get cold! I tackle the subsequent antipasto misto at a more leisurely pace, savouring the smoky roasted eggplant and bell peppers between popping bite-sized pieces of buffalo mozzarella in my mouth.

Instead of a pasta dish, as is often the case in Italian dining, next up is a silky risotto with fresh pork sausage, green peas and manchego cheese. The combination works very well, the pork sausage is juicy and full of flavour and the peas provide some needed balance to the rich, creamy rice.

Zurich Bread

I was starting to fill up now, Italian restaurants don’t skimp on their portion sizes, and La Gritta is no exception. Luckily, there is a time for the food to settle while I enjoy the sorbet of orange with bitter liqueur and mint leaves.

I choose the baked black cod fish with Kalamata olives, red onions, fresh Roma tomatoes and roasted potatoes for my main course and I think I did so wisely. This dish is a showcase for the simple yet satisfying staples of Italian cooking at their best. The flaky white cod was firm with a crispy skin and melded wonderfully with the ripe tomatoes and sharpness of the olives. As far as comfort food goes, its hard to beat roast potatos and they provided the perfect base to highlight the rest of the dish.

For those who don’t feel like fish, the slow-cooked chicken thigh with smoked eggplant, tomato mousse and rosemary potatoes is surely on par with the quality and taste of all the food at La Gritta.

Just as I finished my mains, a brief rain-shower started to blow over and I made a hasty retreat with the other diners to the undercover tables to enjoy our desert. The final dish of the sevencourse meal was cannoli with ricotta cheese, chocolate chips and icing sugar. The light and crispy pastry filled with mellow ricotta was simple and not overly rich, the perfect end to a hearty Italian meal.

So, next time you need a respite from the breakneck pace of Patong, head to Amari to enjoy a tranquil Italian meal and fantastic views.The seven-course discovery menu dinner is B1590++ for more information visit: lagritta.com/discovery-menu-1590-thb/

 

 

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