Going for pizza in Asia is like buying new David Bowie albums – you remember how good it’s been in the past, and you really want it to be good this time, but you know in your heart of hearts that disappointment is the only likely outcome. You wander in whistling Heroes or Life on Mars, you shuffle out humming Hello Spaceboy.
But just occasionally, the heavens align, Bowie gets his shit together, and someone in Asia starts making proper pizza. Located in Asoke, in the stygian depths beneath the BTS station, Pala Pizza is a veritable Ziggy Stardust of a pizzeria. Unremarkable from the outside, I walked past numerous times and assumed the 100% farang crowd inside consisted mainly of tourists filling up on comforting stodge as a welcome break from som tam and phad thai; but on closer inspection I noticed proper pizza ovens and a full Italian deli counter, so decided it was worthy of a visit.
And worthy it most certainly is. Pala does freshly-cooked pizza cut into generous squares (85-100BHT a slice), with authentic Italian toppings: no chicken tikka, char siu pork or, god help us, pineapple here, just a slather of sweet, tangy passata, melted cheese, and various cooked meats & vegetables atop a light, crispy base. The Lomo – prosciutto & brie – and the Boscaiola – made with Pala’s own salsiccio – are the standouts, but in the dozens of visits I’ve made since that first time, I think I’ve tried every single pizza on the menu, and they’re all good.
Pala also does superb pasta dishes (their carbonara is probably the best I’ve ever tasted), great coffee, and of course their own deli goods – they make their own sausages, and hand-slice the prosciutto. None of the imported stuff is particularly cheap but if you love Italian food it’s a godsend. Factor in the largely Italian clientele, and all the chat & gesticulation that entails, and you have an authentic slice of Italy in the middle of Bangkok.
Altogether now, “Had to get the train, from Potzdamer Platz….”
Pala Pizza Romana
Room 1 Sukhumvit Platform (BTS-ASOKE link to MRT)
Asoke Rd., Klongtoey-nua
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel.: 02 259 1228-9
Facebook: Pala Pizza Romana