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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dinner at Latium

Ever dependable Maurizo Morelli delighted us with a fine Autumnal treat a couple of weeks ago at Latium. What is more Autumnal than white truffles?

They are simply irresistible, every time they were brought to a table the whole room would be infused with their aroma and we were sniffing like crazed bears. That the tagliolini are made masterfully (light, elastic), boiled exactly to that evanescent critical point, and that the condiment is judged to perfection makes this dish a heavenly experience.

The other primo piatto was a scallop raviolo with courgettes and clams

a whiff of of the sea (splendid clams) in the trademark light pasta that made an excellent counterpoint to the earthy flavours of the other dish.

This Pan fried fillet of red mullet, white onion sauce, sautéed green cauliflower with Taggiasche olives and sun dried tomatoes dressing was so joyous and sunny that it made our picture red...(we'll never learn)

You can see from the picture how accurately the skin has been made crispy. This dish was airy and light, full of intense Mediterranean flavours, in its genre a small masterpiece.


you've already seen here...

We finished with a ravishing pair of cannoli

To be precise: Sicilian cannoli filled with ricotta, candied fruit and chocolate, orange sauce. The crust is crunchy to the right point, the ricotta filling sweet, luscious and indulgent, the sweet and sour notes from the sauce are almost painfully intense.

And this  Domori dark chocolate mousse, poached pear in red wine, Marsala sabayon and white chocolate sauce

 was a feast: very clean, intense, bitter chocolate mellowed by the sweet sabayon and white chocolate sauce, with the moistily delicious poached pears.

The cost of all this is seventy pounds (plus the truffle supplement).

Now, what to say? For such first quality produce, cooked at this standard, this is breathtaking value. For example, you'd spend ninetytwo (plus an even bigger truffle supplement) at the celebrated and Michelin starred Zafferano. Yet we think that Needham (the Zafferano chef) for how serious a professional he is, just cannot compete with Maurizio in terms of understanding and mastering of Italian flavours. Not to mention that in the disappointing visit we reported, now a long time ago, we found a large bone in a fish, and this is a documented objective major mistake and not a matter of taste, a piece of sloppiness which we've never encountered in the dozens of times we've been at Latium. Yet the bloggers, inspectors and critics of this world seem to be blinded by atmosphere, location and glamour to what is actually in the plate. As far as we are concerned, we have no desire to be 'processed' by the Zafferanos of this world and to feel like cash cows, we'll happily leave that kind of place to others and we'll equally happily continue to be delighted by modest, talented, under-recognised Maurizio for many years to come!



Anonymous said...

Fish do, in fact, have bones and it is a great mistake to cook them without. It is the taste of customers who force restaurants to serve boneless fish that is deplorable rather than a chef occasionally missing one.

Man-Woman said...

We wouldn't say it is a mistake not to have fish on the bone, it depends on the dish.

But that's not the point.

The point is that it is a basic requirement that when the fish is not on the bone, it should be deboned properly. At Zafferano, it was not.

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