Gonna make this a quick one. We arrived into Rome on a red eye flight from Dubai. We love Rome, and try to make it here every year, en route to North America. Fortunately, despite being overbooked, our hotel was able to get us into our rooms by 8 am – Amazing to be able to take a hot shower, and prepare for the day. My son had made us promise that we wouldn’t make him take a nap, and we would get out into the city – so we did.
Our first stop was the Trevi Fountain – legend has it that if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, a return trip to the Eternal City is guaranteed. It’s worked so far, so off we went. Mush to our dismay, the Trevi Fountain has been closed and drained, temporarily, for renovations. There were a lot of very disappointed tourists mulling around – taking pictures of the works in progress – so, naturally, I did too.
Disappointed, and feeling just a little peckish, we thought we would grab something quick to eat, to tide us over until dinner. We have all heard repeatedly that one should avoid any restaurants near major tourist attractions as the food is sub par and the prices are exorbitant. We were making our way out, meandering through the lanes, working our way to the main road to find a taxi, when we cam across Baccano. This is very close to the fountain, and there was wonderful cold A/C air wafting out, so we looked at each other, nodded Heck Yeah, and headed in.
Very bistro like set up, with a decent menu. The staff was super friendly and accommodating – and definitely knew the menu well. Very helpful, and understanding of our dietary requirements – Don’t Dig on Swine. The Boy was not very hungry, The Boss just wanted something cold to drink, and me – I could always eat.
We ordered a plate of Beef Carpaccio, a plate of Burrata Cheese and a simple pasta – Cacio e Pepe.
Carpaccio – An Italian classic. Raw, premium beef – sliced/pounded paper thin, and served with a drizzle of fresh olive oil, peppery arugula, and some cheese…and in this case, a pickled onion. It was delicious – and so simple.
Burrata, served with an anchovy sauce (and some anchovy filets on top). Some may hate the humble anchovy, but I love its overpowering salty and fishy flavour. I had never had it paired with a cool, creamy burrata before, so this was a very pleasant surprise. The cheese, itself, was very nice in texture – a very smooth, creamy inside, that had a mild, dairy sweetness to it. The sharp flavour of the anchovies contrasted beautifully with the mildness of the burrata. I’m going to try this at home – spread on a nice crostini, this would be delicious.
A very simple, traditional, Roman pasta dish – Cacio e Pepe. Homemade Tonnarelli pasta, tossed with Pecorino cheese and pepper. An Italian mac and cheese, if you will. Couldn’t get more stripped down than this. The pasta, itself was wonderful. Tonnarelli is like spaghetti. Home made, it was dense, weighty and had a slight chew to it – perfect. Pecorino cheese is made from sheep milk, and is hard and salty. Pepper… well, its pepper. Three ingredients – can make it at home. Leave a tiny bit of the water that the pasty is cooked in inside the pot – add the Pecorino and some pepper. The water helps the cheese melt and the starch in the water helps bind everything together. Outstanding.
Great little spot, which was a welcome surprise being in such a touristy area. Prices were average (everything looked cheap compared to Dubai). Service was great. Would recommend this place to all friends.
On to the next one – many more to come from our travels during Summer 2014. Stay tuned. Till next time.