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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life is beautiful


is a Zuppa di ceci con prezzemolo and riccioli di merluzzo nero (Chick pea soup with parsley and curls of black cod).

And we should add, extra-virgin olive oil from outer space… (seriously, it is in fact from our planet, more precisely from Latina). This is an off-menu item we recently enjoyed at Latium. The ensemble was just so balanced, with flavours so clear and so intense, to make you want to shout: this is great! this is the essence of Italian cuisine!

We need to remember this the next time we end up in a pretentious venue – sadly no scarcity, it will surely happen- where we look in vain for a spark on the palate beyond the technique and the smokes and mirrors: eating well is about flavour is about flavour is about flavour.

Well, since we are at it… our dinner continued with some other delights. For example this:

Maltagliati with pheasant ragout and girolles mushrooms

What makes this ragout so damn good –we just can’t get enough of its captivating sweetness- is (beside the great mushrooms) the ‘fond’ (this one of chicken), something which you won’t find in many Italian restaurants in the UK (or even in Italy, for that matter). This is technique not at the service of itself or of the show, but at the service of the dish, just of the dish.

We also had the:

Chicken tortellini in broth

The theme of this dish is delicacy: not your regular in-yer-face Bolognese tortellini, here we have something frankly more refined. But the broth carries enough personality that it alone could be a dish in itself.

And finally just look at this:

Tagliata di manzo with wild mushrooms and potato puree

And this:

Pheasant with cime di rapa (broccoli tips), cauliflower cream and roast potatoes.

You could frame these dishes and hang them on the wall, so beautiful they look. But we ate them instead. They were hearty, they were delicate, and our palates were grateful for that. Admittedly the splendid colour of the beef comes from it being cooked between raw and rare: but isn’t that the best way to taste it? Man and Woman think so.


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