(near Royal Garden Plaza)
Marks (out of ten)
THE red, white and green fairy lights that tumbled down from the ceiling made it abundantly clear that this was little Italy.
Inside Hopf there are Italian flavours everywhere, from the parma ham display to the roaring oven, into which fresh pizzas are pushed.
It’s reassuring to know that some places still know that pizza bases are not supposed to be three inches thick. Here, they do things properly.
The coal-fired oven takes centre stage, and in front of it work chefs who roll their dough before spinning it high, nearly threatening to dislodge a row of green fairy lights.
The restaurant itself is big, and has extra seating upstairs. While you eat, a band plays soft jazz music throughout the evening.
The menu has a good range of Italian food, from an excellent seafood casserole (240 baht) to numerous pasta dishes.
I went for the Calzone pizza (220 baht) while my culinary companion opted for the pork chop, with tomatoes and marsala (280 baht).
My Calzone, a pizza that’s been wrapped over so it resembles a giant pastie, held a mix, of ham, salami, mushrooms, ricotta and mozzarella. The cheese was fabulously gooey, and filled every mouthful, while the fresh ham and mushrooms provided the real flavour.
The pork chop was tender and worked well with the marsala, while the baked potato that accompanied them fell apart as the butter melted inside.
Hopf is one of the more expensive restaurants – especially after they’ve added on the 10 per cent tip and seven per cent VAT charge – but it is still good value.
If true pizza is what you crave then this is about the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’re in Florence.
The only anomaly is the screening of Mr Bean videos, which hardly come straight from Venice, but do provide a source of entertainment while you’re waiting for your spaghetti to arrive.