Moom Talay and Toscana, arguably the ‘best in class’ in Pattaya
Luca Marchetti, and his Thai wife of 22 years, run the Moom Talay (Thai) and Toscana (Italian) restaurants in central Pattaya.
Located side-by-side on Beach Road, about 100 metres south of Soi 6/1, and alongside the Tropicana Hotel (where, it should be noted, guests for the two eateries can park for free: just obtain a ticket from the security guard at the gate, and this will be validated by the cashier when you pay your bill) Toscana and Moom Talay open from midday until midnight.
In a situation which may well be unique to Thailand, the Italian-born expatriate and his wife run a separate vegetable and animal farm, the only large-scale organic farms in Pattaya. From these farms comes the food served in the two restaurants.
While Luca admitted it would be cheaper to buy everything he and his wife sell in Moom Talay and Toscana from suppliers, he says, “How could I promote my food in my restaurant if I didn’t know where it came from?”
Luca Marchetti grew up on a farm in the mountains to the north of Tuscany, so the 52-year-old entrepreneur knows what it takes to run a rustic operation.
The vegetable farm covers an area of around 5,000 square metres, and has views out to Na-Jomtien. There are two full-time Thai staff employed to plant, water and generally cultivate the vast rows of spinach, onions, celery, mustard, parsley, rocket, beans and other vegetables which make it onto the plates and into the soups in Moom Talay and Toscana.
While the vegetable farm may look easy to handle, it’s not plain sailing, especially in the wet season, which can play havoc with vegetables. At the other end of the weather spectrum, the extreme heat usually experienced in April and May, is blunted somewhat by the water the farm is able to draw on from two wells, sunk 30 metres into the ground.
The vegetable patches are rotated on a regular basis and a brace of free-range chickens helps put added manure into the soil, to help with regeneration of precious minerals.
Luca refuses to use any chemicals on his produce, preferring nature and nurture to provide the necessary abundance to keep the restaurant tables stocked with what really are fresh vegetable produce.
Situated in Huay Yai, the animal farm spreads over 10,000 square metres and employs around eight staff to feed and care for a wide variety of creatures, from pigs, goats and rabbits to chickens, ducks and geese.
The central policy Luca and his staff employ on the farm is they let nature take its course. As Luca says, “We do not use antibiotics for the animals. If they die, they die.”
There are 14 incubators and from these Luca is able to produce all the daily requirements for his restaurants for chicken, duck and quail eggs. There are also plenty of eggs left over to provide the basis for the next generations of fowl on the farm.
The duck eggs help makethe ice-cream and pasta sold in Toscana and Moom Talay. “I have a machine which enables me to pasteurize 60 kilograms of eggs at a time,” stated Luca.
The farm also has braces of turkeys, pigeons, guinea fowl and rabbits, the latter sourced from New Zealand. Luca keeps a careful record of the breeding of his rabbits, so he can improve the strain and avoid inter-breeding. Rabbit, Luca says, provides “fantastic meat, no fat, high in protein and it’s easy to digest.”
Given the attention to detail and quality, it’s no surprise Moom Talay and Toscana are so highly rated.