Specialist Thai Restaurant Moom Talay and its sister Italian Restaurant Toscana are located side-by-side on Pattaya Beach Road, about 100 metres south of Soi 6/1 and are run by Luca Marchetti and his Thai wife of 22 years.
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?”
So, 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. It makes for awesome tasting food and is a set up that may well be unique to Thailand.
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.
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 is fresh vegetable produce.
The animal farm is situated in Huay Yai, is spread over 10,000 square metres and employs around eight staff to feed and care for a wide variety of animals, 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.”
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 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.”
As for desserts, the dessert menu is extensive with nine or 10 flavours of ice cream, all made from goat’s milk, alongside sorbets, profiteroles, tiramisu, mousses, puddings, sponges and the like. All the desserts are made in-house from products sourced primarily from the natural animal farm. The restaurant has its own pasteurizing machine and there is no pre-mixed powder or preservatives used in their desserts.
Moom Talaya and Toscana are located 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 after your meal. Toscana and Moom Talay open from midday until midnight.
Given the attention to detail and quality, and given that all the produce is home grown, it’s no surprise Moom Talay and Toscana are so highly rated. A visit to sample all of the excellent fare on offer is certainly a good reason in itself for a special trip to Pattaya from the capital.