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What is most striking about Denis Cappi when you meet him is his joviality and the lively spirit that animates him. He is a torrent of words, interspersed with colorful periphrases and that hard-working, vivid soul typical of the Venetians. He is not only the owner of an Italian restaurant in Thailand, when he is serving typical Venetian dishes and explaining the contents, the characteristics of the wines he offers to his clientele, Denis Cappi is a kind of showman, made up of looks, gestures and good social relations skills. Forty-six years old, a life made up of entrepreneurship and moving around the world, four economic activities conducted at the moment, in disparate productive sectors, from clothing to agricultural cultivation, from construction to catering. Most of his activities are conducted in Indonesia, a nation where he has spent a large part of his operations abroad, today fluent in Indonesian, English, and of course Italian. And it all condenses into this new venture, called "San Marco Osteria" in Bangkok.
But when did this San Marco Osteria experience officially start?
The location opened on August 16, 2022. In fact, after the sad historical interlude of Covid that also bedeviled Thailand, so much so that even here we witnessed lockdowns, logistical difficulties, and people locked in their homes. We wanted, from the beginning, to give our own approach to the restaurant, so that it was not the usual Italian restaurant. We offer food that I call "rustic" but in light of a concept that is "fine dining." Not by chance, we decided to use the diction of "Osteria," with all that it implies in our collective imagination that the osteria refers to in our own, all-Italian history. We could say that it is our own "translation" of "bon vivre," made up of relaxation, joy of the palate, tasting of fine wines and wines that characterize the variety of Italian types, there is also no shortage of high quality bubbles that, in recent times, are making more and more space in the scenario of catering and public and social events in Thailand. In our offer there is a wide range of Italian cheeses, as well as also in the meat sector, what we offer and propose to our customers represents our Venetian but also Italian roots in their most extended concept and everything, but everything is imported from Italy. We use Caputo Brand flour for fresh pastas and our baked goods, even the salt is Italian and imported, as are the oils we use, both for the kitchen and to accompany what completes the table. There are, then, typical dishes that are the specific characterization of San Marco Osteria, that is, "flagship dishes" such as Horse Tartare, Bollito misto, Bigoli and, then, the sauces that accompany these dishes typical of my homeland.
In some cases, we have decided not to bring to the table products that are now part of the practice and expectations of the international and local clientele that frequents our restaurant precisely because we felt that bringing to the table a must-have that, however, is not qualitatively up to par, is a way of breaking the "pact" tacitly established with our clientele. One example out of all, balsamic vinegar. Here, rather than bring to the table a balsamic vinegar that is excessively commercial and not sufficiently aged according to high production standards, as its specific history would dictate, we preferred to adopt traditional vinegars from appreciated and trustworthy brands but not balsamic vinegar as if it were an act of duty in deference to market diktats.
Thailand is Nation notoriously rich in meat, such as chickens where it excels in exports internationally, in raising and processing pigs, not to mention beef and cattle. How does it respond to your cuisine?
The local customer is traditionally close to the meat world that characterizes a good part of our cuisine here at San Marco Osteria. The international clientele is no less, if we consider that in the Bangkok scenario, in the current times and also because of the ethnic characteristics of the District where we are, i.e. Sukhumvit, we are witnessing more and more the traditional presence of Japanese but also Indians, Chinese as well as, of course, the more affluent and curious Thais who want to experience something new, while still within the framework of Italian Cuisine that, perhaps in part, they already know.
A final note should be made about the set-ups of San Marco Osteria, the main room on the ground floor, is practically characterized by a so-called "Social Table," that is, a single table, with a tree (which was pre-existing) in the center, around which the table was literally built. Sharing "Cicchetti," bruschettas, polenta, pairing wines while Denis Cappi himself explains types, tempting customers with whites and rosés that eschew the full-bodied reds already known to Thai and international customers, is all in the convivial, light and relaxed, friendly and intimate spirit of San Marco Osteria. There is also, an upper room, with an area in 5G free web connection, an area where one can lie on large pillows, spaces where private parties or wine presentations can be held, in the care of professionals in the field who do truly pioneering work, in this regard, in Thailand. There is no shortage of outdoor dehors to toast, converse, smoke, laugh and enjoy the zest for life that is coming back to enliven Bangkok's beating heart.
San Marco Osteria, 76 Sukhumvit 49/2 Alley, Klong Toey, Bangkok 080 821 0890