I said that I wasn’t going to write about food for awhile but this is my birthday week so I’ve been eating out more than usual. The diet is back-burnered for the moment, although the gym part is going well. Those last six are words I never thought I’d hear myself say.
I’ve been wanting to try L’Osteria di Monteverde ever since I saw it reviewed in the paper about a year ago. The restaurant got an enthusiastic thumbs up from the critic and it’s the requisite 10 minutes from my house. (When oh when is the Monteverde Civic Association going to start throwing money and prizes at me for writing so many reviews of local eateries?). So that’s where we went for my B-day.
Love love love! The (polite and friendly) waiter first brought us a little amuse bouche: a spoonful of whipped smoked cod. That may sound less than appealing to the unadventurous, but it’s very good. Fresh and tasty. It sort of reminded me of the gefilte fish that my ex-boyfriend Matt’s mother used to make for Passover. I loved those gefilte fish so much.
Next I had a truly spectacular appetizer: roasted quail legs wrapped in my beloved Lardo di Colonnata and nestled in a refined puddle of gorgonzola sauce with red onion relish. Yeesh. I gained 10 pounds just typing that sentence. It was awesome.
Jane had shrimp — also be-larded — on a bed of truffled mashed potatoes and the Upstairs Vegetarian had broccoli meatballs (what do you call meatballs when there’s no meat? Balls? Broccoli balls? That just sounds wrong.) with pecorino cheese.
We skipped the pasta course — although we pledged to return to research my upcoming cacio e pepe post. I had roast lamb — my absolute favourite thing in the world — with a shaved raw artichoke salad. Jane and Betta both had squid stuffed with a broccoletti/cheese mixture that looked yum. Since I am a big believer in pushing out the boat on one’s birthday, I also had a baked potato stuffed with yoghurt and dill.
Dessert was nut cake with cappuccino cream for Jane, cheesecake with orange-caramel sauce for the U.V. and, for me, a white chocolate mousse with wood fruits. I know it’s not cool to like white chocolate. But I really really do.
I’m excited about this place and look forward to coming back soon. It’s quite small — about 10 tables — so it’s best to book ahead.
L’Osteria di Monteverde, Via Pietro Cartoni, 163/165, Rome. 06 5327 3887. Closed Monday at lunchtime