Sitting at the main lobby of the Le Meridien Chiang Mai, I couldn’t help but be struck by the timeless chic design of the hotel, enhanced by various pieces of striking contemporary art pieces on the walls. It shouldn’t surprise me, really as the Le Meridien hotels all over the world subscribe to their universal theme of being a leading contemporary lifestyle brand.
As I make my way up to Favola, their Italian restaurant, I can smell the delicious aromas of breads or pizzas (I’m not sure which) wafting down the short staircase. The interior of Favola spots simple modernistic furniture set against warm polished wooden flooring. The pleasing earth tones are immediately cosy and comforting and set off the cream-colorer leather chairs magnificently.
A spacious open kitchen is laid out right at the front of the restaurant, complete with a huge brick wood-fire stove for pizzas and I absolutely love the row of shiny brass saucepans hanging above the cooking stove island and pasta-making station. The impressive wine display glass racks showcase an extensive collection of Italian and New World wines.
On the walls are framed pictures depicting various forms of rustic Italian food ingredients, for which Favola prides itself. Despite its contemporary setting, I’m glad Favola sticks to its promise of serving “a rustic feel of Italy”. The menu lists simple yet classic Italian fares and I took my time to decide.
Breads and Cocktails to kickstart dinner
Our dinner kicks off with a warm salad – Insalata Di Mare where pan-seared shrimps, squids and Manila clams are tossed with cherry tomatoes, wild crisp lettuce, capers and artichokes flavoured lightly with extra virgin olive oil. The seafood are really fresh, the plump shrimps and clams bursting with sweet marine flavours.
As we wanted a light pasta dish, their Cappellacci Con Ragu is an excellent choice. Thin-skinned pumpkin ravioli are first sautéed with a traditional slow-cooked pork bolognese sauce and then finished with Parmesan cheese. Flavours are well-balanced here and this is one of the few ravioli dishes that make a lasting impression on me.
Pizzas are a must-order item here in Favola as every single piece is made fresh from scratch and then baked in the wood-fire oven. I simply must have one and I choose one of their classics – the Favola Pizza. Smeared with a base of house-made tomato sauce and topped with parma ham and crisp rocket leaves, the combination of Mozzarella and Gorgonzola cheeses is just sublime.
Our hosts insist that we try Favola’s pride, Vitello Tonnato – oven roasted and thinly sliced Veal tenderloin served with Italian style tuna sauce and topped with Sicilian capers. Biting into the incredibly tasty veal, I can understand why this dish is so immensely popular.
To round off our meal on a sweet note, we’re encouraged to order all the desserts listed. However, we managed only three: Tiramisu, Panna Cotta and my personal favourite, the Fig Cake with Macadamias, served with ice cream. The tiramisu is boozy enough so it scores more points with me. The fig cake is moist, flavoursome with the natural sweetness from figs and the crunchy nutty macadamia is a bonus touch – just scrumptious.
My favourite Fig Cake with Macadamia, served with ice cream
Tiramisu with a boozy kick
There are still so many other items on the menu that are very appealing – I am told their risotto is to-die-for and the Canadian Black Angus should not be missed – dishes that I’d want to try in my next trip here.
Don’t miss this gigantic Gin Tonic with Rosemary & Pepper
Le Meridien Chiang Mai is in a perfect location, just right next to the famous Night Bazaar and minutes away from the Warorot Market. It’s the obvious choice of hotel accommodation if you are going to Chiang Mai for its food, shopping and chill-out activities.
108 Chang Klan Road
Tambol Chang Klan
Chiang Mai 50100
Tel: +66 53 253 666