Before heading to Rome, we had heard from a couple of different friends that we just had to try a little gem – a gem with a Michelin star. Agata e Romeo is situated in a pretty dodgy area – this would explain the buzzer on the door – the door stays locked (see picture below)!
The taxi dropped us off – we rang the bell and were ushered in by the manager. Its a small set up – a very intimate set up. The open kitchen is in the front of the restaurant and is run by head chef and co-proprietor Agata. The somelier/manager/order taker is her husband – Romeo. They are the Agata e Romeo on the storefront. There was one more waiter and thats it. There must have been 6 covers in the restaurants while we were there. Lots of personal attention, lots of fantastic recommendations and lots of smiles. We were shown the menu and the choice was between going a la carte or taking the tasting menu. Because The Boss and The Boy can be picky eaters at times, we opted for the former option.
There was no steak on the menu – thank God – else, I would have been unable to resist defaulting to that choice – One thing I noticed from this summer holiday, and all the pictures I took documenting all of my meals, is that I eat a LOT of steak – like an abnormally large quantity. I’m officially detoxing from red meat for the next 2 weeks!
The Boy said he wasn’t very hungry and wasn’t in the mood for a starter, so the two we ordered were:
- Cow’s Milk Cheese Flan Served with a Pear Sauce
- Zucchini Blossoms stuffed with Ricotta Cheese and Safron Sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano
The starters were divine – so simple – prepared with such few ingredients, and every ingredient serving a definite purpose.
Cow’s Cheese Flan – This was served warm, and it was delicate, creamy, fluffy, salty, sweet – a flavour explosion that took a moment to really burst on your tonge. A slight smear of the balsamic reduction onto the flan added a gorgeous sweet/tart dimension to each bite.
Zucchini Blossoms – We were told to order these, and I am so glad we did. This isn’t something that would have been on my radar ordinarily – Zucchini Blossoms? Seriously? Man – these were great. You had to get through the slightly crunchy blossoms to get to the fresh ricotta. I felt that the blossoms added more of a textural element to the dish rather than a flavour component – a great very slightly crunchy contrast to the smoothness of the cheese – a little chew, if you will. The saffron sauce was rich and added a flavour blanket to each bite, wrapping it all together. Would highly recommend this to anyone who visits.
For the main courses, we ordered:
- Fresh Mezelune Pasta Stuffed with Buffalo Ricotta and Egplant
- Spaghetti with Baked Small Tomatoes and Grated Salted Ricotta
- Rack of Lamb with Aromatic Herbs, Potatoes Flan and Pistachios
Mezelune Pasta Stuffed with Buffalo Ricotta and Eggplant – This was magnificent. If there could be an example of a chef who could take basic ingredients and elevate them to stardom, this is it. The pasta had been freshly rolled – the Ricotta was light and yet creamy – the eggplant was mild, but present in every bite and the tomato sauce doing its thing – acting as the acidic ting to the dairy’s creamy yang. The Boss had ordered this one – I finished it
Spaghetti with Baked Small Tomatoes and Grated Salted Ricotta – Fresh spaghetti, cooked al dente, simple olive oil, oven baked tomatoes that were sweet and tart and delicious. And, topped off by grated, salted ricotta. Parmesan, I have had. Grana Padano, check. Pecorino, check. Had all of them on my pasta. Had never tried grated ricotta, primarily because the only ricotta I had encountered was a very moist cheese made of milk whey. This was a different type – similar to a ricotta salata – and aged, salted and dried variety of the run of the mill ricotta. I found it less granular in texture than the traditional cheeses i have mentioned – very creamy, yet salty – very nice. Pasta was the stage, the baked, intensified tomatoes were the star and the ricotta was the “glittery lights”. All together, a fantastic production. Bravo and Encore.
Rack of Lamb with Aromatic Herbs, Potatoes Flan and Pistachios – The lamb was my least favourite entree of the evening. No offence to the lamb (or the chef), but I can get good lamb and potatoes anywhere. This was excellent lamb, mind you – perfectly cooked, seasoned and presented. But it was lamb. The Boy, because he is as carnivorous as they can possibly come, ordered this, and polished it off.
On to the deserts. We ordered:
- Tortino Caldo Al Cioccolato Con Panna e Salsa di Ciccolato (essentially, Chocolate Fondant!!)
- Il Millefoglie Di Agata (Agata’s Mille Feuille)
Agata’s Mille Feuille – No doubt the signature desert of the restaurant. If you visit Rome, you should definitely visit this restaurant – if for nothing else than to eat this masterpiece. This ain’t your neighbourhood Mille Feuille – this is one of the absolute, best deserts I have ever had in MY ENTIRE LIFE! Again, not too sweet. Stunning, flaky, crispy, light puff pastry with the most luscious, creamy, decadent custard cream – dusted with confectioner’s sugar. So simple. Unreal – look at the picture – its ridiculous. I didn’t even eat the chocolate leafy thing – so can’t comment. But this was amazing. And it didn’t leave you feeling stuffed and ill – light, gently sweet and stunning.
Chocolate Fondant – Excellent. The cake was moist and airy, the melted chocolate center was warm, gooey, and exactly how you would expect it. It was semi sweet, and exactly as I would have liked. Whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce on a blue plate – a little 80’s in terms of presentation, but a solid desert.
This is not a restaurant you go into to gorge on massive portions and be rolled out of the restaurant. Agata e Romeo is about elevation – elegance – simplicity taken to another level. Refinement on a plate. I couldn’t recommend it enough for anyone to visit while in Rome. I loved it, and our family will be adding this onto our growing list of “must do” restaurants around the World.
Till next time!