Luce, on the 14th floor of Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn, is what Italian dining is all about: simplicity with the freshest ingredients.
By Laurence Civil
No, this is not just another Italian restaurant. Luce, on the 14th floor of Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn, is a complete branded dining concept created by the Frescobaldi wine family in Italy to showcase their wines (Frescobaldi and Luce). They already have their branded restaurants in San Francisco and Moscow. This exclusive project, their third worldwide, is the first in Asia-Pacific introduced by F&B concepts and solutions specialists dwp|next,, who acted as lead creative and conceptual consultant, providing the detailed concept for the restaurant and lounge.
Franchised restaurants are concepts we are all familiar with, but branded restaurants are different. The operators can’t buy in; they are selected because their core values best marry to the brand. They are required to work with brand architects to ensure the perfect dining experience is offered, and in return, they are guaranteed that they will be the exclusive brand holder in their area. Not surprisingly, all the Italian wines are Frescobaldi and Luce but to suit customer preference they do list wines from other countries.
Wine needs food, a restaurant a great chef. Executive Chef Roberto Bellitti flew directly from his native Italy to take up the challenge in opening the first Luce Italian Restaurant in Asia. He was previously executive chef at EFF Cucina e Stagioni in Milan, renowned for its creative and innovative fine dining menu and for winning a place on the “Best New Restaurants in Milan” list for 2011. Before that he was also senior sous chef at London Hilton on Park Lane, working alongside Michelin-starred artisans such as Eric Chavot, Chris Galvin, and Gary Rhodes.
The quality of his risotto is the benchmark of a good Italian chef. And Luce “Osso Buco Milanese,” a saffron and Parmesan risotto with braised veal shank was simply perfect. “Risotto Milanese is one of those classic dishes that is very difficult to change,” he says, “It’s very straightforward, risotto rice, saffron, Parmesan cheese, and veal shank.
“The only way to make it more interesting would its visual presentation,” he says. “The first thing to change was the shank because traditionally it’s too big and ugly. My solution was to first braze it then blitz it in veal stock reducing the liquid and adding balsamic vinegar to bring the flavor to another level. I placed a piece of the bone in the centre of the risotto for decoration, I had a risotto that visually resemble osso bucco, the bone with a hole.”
For the main course he served lamb foreshank slow-cooked for 12 hours with fresh rosemary bellpeppers served with mashed potatoes, so tender it was falling off the bone. “For consistency, I cook all of my meats sous vide (vacuum packed in hot water at 65 degrees),” says Chef Roberto.
To finish, it’s tiramisu served with croccantino ice cream with Giffoni nut, almond, sugar and Sulla honey flavors, a dessert that captures the taste experience of coffee and a cookie.
This is what Italian dining is all about: simplicity with the freshest ingredients. Luce opens 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch); 6:30-10:30 p.m. (dinner). Bar is open from 10 a.m. till midnight.
Luce Italian Restaurant
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
33/1 South Sathorn Rd, Bangkok (BTS: Surasak)
Tel: 02-210-8100, ext 7504