This time Roberto Giuliani takes the stage:
Who, you wonder? Michela Irione (the architect, in the kitchen) and Elisabetta Valentina Tappi (the fashion designer, in the hall): in less than three months they transformed a place that had hosted a stucco shop into an architectural jewel where white predominates, bringing life to the place and giving it a sober feel that is not without warmth: A huge picture window separates the hall from the terrace outside. Given that the restaurant opens onto the street, Michela and Elisabetta installed acoustic insulation, and lines the larger walls with bottles from all over Italy.
The idea of putting the kitchen on display, behind a glass, is very nice, and the place is all the more welcoming thanks to the soul and jazz music they play. In short, a tremendous amount of work and planning, which led to the inauguration, on June 2, which was a smashing success, thanks also to the contribution of the Neapolitan chef Lorenzo Monzù Scalzone: Lots of people sipping and enjoying the tidbits offered.
But I wanted to know what they'd serve day-to-day, so I returned for lunch on the 5th to taste the dishes of the week -- the menu changes weekly, something decidedly unusual in places like this, and that just goes to show how much drive Michela and Elisabetta have. With summer at the door fish predominates. Absolutely fresh, from Grottaferrata's top fishmonger, or from a trusted friend in Terracina. And the quality was there, in an excellent "Tartare di Orata con salsa di pomodoro ghiacciata," gilthead seabream tartare with chilled tomato sauce, (which will also feature chives when they are available) and in the "Mezze maniche al ragù di Ricciola e pecorino," mezze maniche with amberjack and pecorino (the fish will change depending upon what's available) or the mouthwatering "Polpo con patate, piselli e cacioricotta," Octopus with potatoes, peas and cacioricotta cheese.
All accompanied by a passion of mine I was unable to resist, La Bellanotte's Conte Lucia 2009, a spellbinding Pinot Grigio with coppery reflections whose intensity varies from vintage to vintage with the time spent on the skins, and that because of this cannot call itself DOC Isonzo, because the Appellation's rules don't allow for that color, but we are in Italy and therefore shouldn't be surprised. To finish up, Michela prepared an unforgettable Amaretto Tiramisu, a delicious variant on the classic recipe whose only defect was that one couldn't get enough of it.
In sum, sober Mediterranean cooking based on top quality ingredients and recipes that are essential, with measured use of seasonings that never take the fore, but rather maintain balance. A style that doesn't mask the dish, and because of this requires absolute quality, because there are no screens to hide behind.
Michela and Elisabetta clearly show their unwillingness to compromise or take shortcuts; their goal is to make their restaurant a beacon, a place people come to for lunch or dinner, and where they can find a vast selection of wines at very affordable prices. To name a few, Grosjean, la Bellanotte, Marisa Cuomo, Tenuta Bonzara, Alberto Loi, Cantina Santadi, Poggio Le Volpi, Castel De Paolis, and Terre Contese.
Obviously, most of these wines are also offered by the glass, and they are also planning to offer other drinks, including top quality distillates.
Elisabetta and Michela's friendly hospitality and professionality, will leave those who stop at Via Vittorio Veneto 25 with the fondest od memories, as will the sumptuous aromas rising from their dishes. You will need to make reservations.
Le Oche Giulive Bistrò
Via Vittorio Veneto, 25 - Località Squarciarelli - Grottaferrata (RM)
Tel. 347-3360040 / 345-8738226
Web site: www.ochegiulivebistro.it
Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.
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