Sparrow Pizza Studio
Where: Bangkok, Thailand
I don’t know the Ekkamai neighborhood very well, but after a casual but punishing badminton club session in the area, my friend Sasa suggests we go to this new pizza joint that is getting great word-of-mouth reviews. By the way, I arrived completely famished, having been brutally batted around the court for two hours, so everything I say about the food should probably be taken in that context.
It’s up some stairs on a cute commercial strip, very discreet and even some locals I asked for directions hadn’t heard of it, so I felt very in the know, even though technically, it was Sasa who was in the know. I arrive first, a few minutes early, and the busy server sits me on a stool with the menu and a welcome cold beer.
I like this woman a lot. She’s one of those knowingly snarky types who revels in a kind of detached irony. She stops by a couple of times and makes fun of my very basic Thai in between taking care of her tables. It’s a small airy spot with minimalist decor (like a studio!), contemporary but not trying too hard. Open air terrace, clean lines, away from the main road - all great qualities in this city, particularly the location.
Sasa arrives and we’re seated as most tables are leaving. It’s pretty much just us and a couple with model good looks and an adorable toddler left. I can see the kitchen from the table, two chefs (one of them presumably the owner Maynard Seekala) are working hard. There’s a poster behind them with a huge, sliced tomato and a small slogan that reads (in English), “If you don’t like tomatoes…you can f*** off”. Well, that’s certainly direct. I love tomatoes, so I enthusiastically f*** on.
We share a couple of pies, one tomato-based, one not. First up, a spicy and savory ‘Amatriciana’ with a piquant red sauce, guanciale (cured meat), pecorino and mozzarella. Accompanying, a decadent pesto and burrata number that has an irresistible ball of creamy burrata as its epicenter, with mozzarella and olive oil in welcome supporting roles. The model family next to us are digging in with gusto, too. The server and Sasa exchange a look and a quiet word about them that I only get an explanation for after we leave.
The pizzas are created on a sourdough base, and honestly they’re a thing of perfection. Maybe the best I’ve had anywhere, though we should definitely factor in my hunger. I love sourdough, but so often the kitchen will send out a pie with incinerated dough bubbles that you have to discard. You don’t want to undercook them either, though, so it’s a real tightrope walk to get them just right. Sparrow sticks the landing with aplomb, and apparently making the dough is a 48-hour process. Somehow both crisp and chewy, they’re intensely flavorful and an ideal size for sharing a couple of variations.
Desserts are cute, too - individually-wrapped ice cream sandwiches with buttermilk ice cream, jelly and a cornflake cookie biscuit base. The server is goading us into more food but it’s more than enough, even for my ravenous appetite.
I find out two things after we leave. A week or so later, I learn that Sparrow was one of Time Out Bangkok’s restaurants of the year for 2022, which isn’t surprising. As soon as we’re on the street, I also learn from Sasa that the woman on the next table is a very famous VJ (they still have those!) on MTV Asia, and the server told her that the family are huge fans. To these accolades, I add my own humble recommendation: if you don’t like Sparrow, you can…respectfully try somewhere else. (PO)
Sparrow Pizza Studio: 1 8 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Phra Khanong Nuea,