Chef Alessandro Frau of Acqua Restaurant fuses timeless traditions with modern panache to create his unique brand of experimental cuisine.by Percy Roxas
Discerning foodies in Thailand never had it this good. Just look at how the culinary scene around the kingdom has become more sophisticated and we can all agree there are more choices, more variety, and more truly world-class quality venues. Indeed, from the north to the south, great food is now within everybody’s reach. And equally fantastic restaurants are making dining experiences even more pleasurable with our every visit.
Take the Acqua Restaurant (324/15 Prabaramee Road, Patong-Kalim; Tel: 076 618 127) in Phuket. This award-winning restaurant, owned and managed by Chef Alessandro Frau, is setting new standards in the Phuket dining scene. Contemporary and chic, the restaurant matches the food that it serves perfectly, creating a unique fine dining experience of international quality.
The restaurant is aesthetically pleasing: clean lines, chic design, and great views over the Andaman Sea. But more than just the attractive physical design and décor, Acqua is a consistent winner because of its food. Ingredients are freshly sourced, and they come only from the best local and international producers.
No detail, from preparation to cooking to presentation, is left unseen to – in an experience that represents a “never-ending pursuit for perfection in fine dining,” Alessandro says. “At Acqua, we source the best products to get the best results for our discriminating guests.”
Chef Alessandro fuses timeless tradition with modern panache to present what foodies have now come to recognize as his own brand of experimental Nuova Cucina (New Cuisine).” His creations, heavily influenced by his Italian roots, are “a contemporary restyling of traditional Italian dishes, using various ingredients and combinations, which have been reinvented using new cooking techniques and presentations.”
Every plate reflects an inspiration from his native Sardinia, where excellent seafood is plentiful and where homemade cheeses and salami – and really, an infinity of other specialties from the land – are abundant. But the restaurant, his first foray as both chef and patron, was actually built around his experiences traveling and working around the world for the past 17 years.
Those who are lucky enough to taste his signature creations – such as the 45-minute slow cooked egg on Parmesan cheese fondue; sous vide cooked Octopus salad; pan-fried USA scallops with duck liver; seared foie gras; and poached Maine lobster Sardinia style – will agree that Alessandro follows the Sardinian traditions of using natural ingredients and fuses them in his own artistic interpretation, featuring fresh tastes and bright color combinations. Every dish is definitely a winner.
When you consider the quality of the food, all of the prices are reasonable.
No wonder then that in just five years of existence, Acqua has received accolades from such award-giving bodies as Tatler Guide, Miele Guide, Hospitality Asia, Wine Spectator, and Iron Chef Thailand.
Indeed there is no way for Acqua and Alessandro but up. In fact, Alessandro is already looking to expand. He is now opening a new restaurant in Singapore: the Alba 1836 Restaurant, which promises to become another milestone not only in Alessandro’s career, but also for the entire regional culinary scene.