Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celebrating our first wedding anniversary with Mr Oreste @ La Buca restaurant

Updated 22 January 2018

7 years. That's how long it has taken for me to write an update on La Buca.

It's enough time for my wife and I to graduate from newlyweds celebrating our 1st anniversary, to proud parents of 2 beautiful kids (the elder turning 6 in 10 days' time)

La Buca though, has stayed the same. The same location on Sukhumvit Soi 1, within walking distance of Bumrungrad Hospital, the same homey atmosphere and warm no-nonsense Italian fare that is not purposely decorated for Instagram. Price has risen, but it's bound to, over a long 7 years. Note that a large 1.5L bottle of water will only set you back 90THB here and there's no additional service charge.

Ham and mushroom Fettucine, perfect for kids.
Snow fish risotto, fresh and yummy.

Oh my finally we meet again, truffle and porcini mushroom tagliatelle. Minus the foie gras, you miss some meatiness but still oh so good!

The bigger update, sadly, is that the flamboyant Mr Oreste (read more about him below), the founder, heart and soul of the restaurant is no longer there. He has sold the restaurant and retired in another province in Thailand. What a pity, because Mr Oreste and La Buca had completely fused into 1 and I could not imagine one without the other. Well, this old man deserves a rest and let's bless him though he will be sorely-missed.

After speaking to the new owner, a well-mannered Thai lady, I am pretty convinced her aim is to keep everything absolutely the same. So let's hope it happens.


This is supposed to be a blogpost to commemorate our very first 911 aka wedding anniversary, but no, it's not. Because of a certain arrogant Mr Oreste from Italy, this has fatefully become a post about his restaurant nestled in Sukhumvit Soi 1 instead.

Old Mr Oreste vs young Mr Oreste
It was our first anniversary, I had to make sure it's good, thus my extensive research online for the best Italian restaurant in Bangkok. For some reason, La Buca hit all the spots, small cosy European style restaurant opened and run personally by Mr Oreste, all the way from his native Italy. I was slightly surprised when I made my booking via email:

Me: "Mr Oreste, I would like to make a booking at your restaurant for dinner on 11 September, it's our first wedding anniversary, thank you."

An unexpected reply soon came back: "Dear Eddie, 11 September, dinner ok. Enjoy 20% discount for my birthday. Ciao. Oreste."

OK, maybe my wedding anniversary isn't such a big deal, but come on man, is your birthday so much bigger a deal? Well, a discount is a discount, and since he is so full of self-admiration, even better for us, because the food will be good. La Buca wouldn't be voted one of Thailand's best restaurants by Tatler for no reason.

One of Thailand's best restaurants according to Tatler
911 was a rainy gloomy day, and it didn't help that the restaurant was further away from Ploen Chit BTS station than Mr Oreste suggested. Fortunately we managed to find it without too many problems. When we finally arrived, Mr Oreste was already waiting for us, in fact, he was the one who welcomed us at the door.

One of the most obvious things in the restaurant.
He's a typical Italian man, full of swagger, full of himself, proud of his food and all his achievements. The restaurant looked like a mini Oreste life-story museum. He has even made his birthday a reason to give a promotion (which we needed as the food wasn't cheap for Thailand standards). We followed his recommendations, which I later found out were the exact dishes which won him the hearts of Tatler's food critics.

Home-made tagliatelle with Foie Gras and truffle
Mr Oreste proclaimed this dish as the best of its kind in the world, certainly big words from a big man. Just look at the thickness of the Foie Gras, there were 2 pieces! The pasta was made to perfection and the bewitching aroma of truffle unforgettable till this day (I am not kidding). It was also the first time we ate such a generous serving of good-quality goose liver, but it ended up like having too much of a good thing. I honestly would pay the same price and be happier with more pasta, more sauce and just half the serving of Foie Gras. This is not a reason to knock this splendid dish though.

Saffron risotto with braised veal shank
The risotto was fragrant, veal shank tasty, but it paled in comparison to the pasta dish. However, Mr Oreste delivered what we expected of him -  solid, rustic, no-nonsense Italian dishes thought out with more focus on taste than presentation. The serving sizes were pretty good as well. The heaviness of the dishes soon had us calling for the dessert. Mr Oreste responded again, in his own amusing way.

"We have the La Buca cake. Best in the world." (again, best in the world?)

*kisses his fingers*

"Sponge...... Rum......"

*swirls his fingers as if caressing the chin of his mistress*

"Chocolate mousse.........." (I had a good laugh)

How could we not order it?

La Buca cake, best in the world (?)
It turned out to be good, not great. There was so much rum it was like eating solidified alcohol, not my cup of tea. Again, I understood why Mr Oreste thought so highly of it, as I can easily think of a few friends who would brand this dessert as a touch of genius.

Happy Birthday Mr Oreste, please give us a discount next year too! Any discount during Christmas or New Year? Or maybe your mom's bday, or your dad's?
It had been a good day for Li Li and myself, with the visit to Mr Oreste's cosy eatery a fitting finale to our first wedding anniversary (he even personally hailed the taxi for us before we left). I just hope during our next visit, the food will not be a showcase of richness. It's like having a good massage, only to go home to find a couple of small bruises on your back as the masseuse pressed a weeny bit too hard.


  1. hehe, thanx for supporting both my blogs. I like how u describe the whole event, so amusing! The Mr Oresto is really one of a kind. Haha he even have a happy birthday banner hanging across his restaurant? My gawd.

  2. Yallor, amazing right. How much more hilarious can he be?

    Anyway good job on your blogs, I love them, I just hope I am not sounding too gay here...


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