If you went out to a hotel restaurant in Asoke with a bunch of friends and ordered several pizzas, a half-dozen pasta dishes, a main course for each person like pork chops, a lamb shank, or steak, a dessert, and everyone drank enough to be pretty drunk, you’d expect to be facing a pretty hefty bill, wouldn’t you?
How would you feel if your share was THB999 (US$30)?
That’s what The Continent Hotel’s Medinii Italian restaurant currently has on offer. We couldn’t believe it ourselves when we showed up recently for a friend’s birthday dinner.
Here’s the deal: Start with a daily soup, order as many pizza and pasta dishes as you would like from a menu. When you’re ready, order a main course off a list of 14 choices, and finish with a dessert.
Oh, and all the wine, beer, cocktails, and soft drinks you want are included. Our minds were kinda blown by the deal and we can’t imagine how they make money from it. But apparently it’s been going for awhile now. They call it “Free Flow Dinner” and it’s offered everyday from 6-10pm. Even on the weekends.
When you walk in, the setting is great. The restaurant faces Asoke intersection and gives a great evening view of the center of the city. The decor is pleasant, upscale, and subdued. The staff are friendly. Twinkly lights embedded into the ceiling mimic the look of stars.
Pro Tip: If you’re a duo, call ahead to book one of the two tops with the best views at the front of the restaurant, or if you’re looking for privacy, they have three table at the back where the seats are swings and you can close a curtain around them. This might also be useful if you just don’t want people to see you go beast on endless pizza.
So, how was the food? The pizza and pasta were at the lower range of what you get in Italian restaurants in Bangkok. We liked the Squid Ink Spaghetti with Pesto and the Fettucine with Cheese Sauce. The rest were fine but not memorable, some stuck together in a clumpy mess while others were a bit overdone.
On the pasta menu, guests can try Aglio e Olio, Carbonara, Puttanesca, Arrabiata, Vongole, and more. For pizzas, there are Margarita versions, Hawaiian, Vegetarian, Chicken Green Curry, Larb Gai, and BBQ Chicken, among others.
For the pies, they don’t rival Pizza Pala but you can have as much as you want. And you know what they say about pizza — even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
The drinks are where they shine. The free flow Red and White Wine from Australia was only fair quality, but they kept it coming. The white was nicer than the red if only by virtue of being chilled. The cocktails strong enough and well-made. The staff were pleasant and friendly. When asked to make the drinks stronger and less sweet, they seemed happy to do so.
On the cocktail list, choose from Mojito, Cuba Libre, Tequila Sunrise, Caipirinha and more. Red, and White wine, Chang Beer, and soft drinks are free. Water, incidentally, is something you do have to pay for however.
For a main, we chose Seared Seabass with Ratatouille and White Cream Sauce. It was well-prepared with tangy ratatouille, and thankfully, quite small after the carb courses.
Others at the table ordered Australian Angus Rib Eye, Australian Lamb Shank, and Slow Grilled BBQ Pork Spare Ribs from the list of 14 choices. The steak and shank were large and went over particularly well.
The list of five included desserts depressingly didn’t have a chocolate choice. But you can have Creme Brulee, Fruit Mousse, Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, Crepe Suzette, or Sorbet. We tried them all and most left something to be desired. The crepe was the best of the lot while the fruit mousse was a dark horse contender for the crown. The creme brulee fell flat with a bland taste and a top that wasn’t caramelized enough, and the tiramisu was gritty and didn’t appear to contain any actual ladyfingers or espresso.
All in all, this is a place to go with a group that isn’t too picky and wants to drink and have Italian food on a budget in a nice setting. Or bring your friends that can truly eat (or drink) a lot. Or that buddy who claims he can “never get enough pizza.” Prove him wrong here.
It’s a good value, we’ll be back and we’ll start drinking before we order lots of pizza and pasta next time since, in all honesty, it was hard to catch a buzz — despite the wine free-flowing — when we had tummies full of starch. Maybe that’s part of their strategy.