Sunday, September 12, 2010

il Convivio

One Michelin star to rule them all kick things off.

I'd missed out on getting a booking at a few other Michelin-starred restaurants around Rome so it was il Convivio that had the honour of being the first cab off the rank for this idiotic celebration of overconsumption.

I had no idea what to expect and was looking forward to this place giving me some insight into how this trip was going to pan out. Would the food blow me away or would the food just blow?

il Convivio definitely didn't blow me away.

The restaurant is beautiful, the service is quite polished (but needs the touch of a good sommelier to inject knowledge and better pairings), but the food just didn't do it for me.

We kicked things off with a quick appetiser: fried olive and white fish fritter. Nice enough.

Into the menu proper and it never really took off. Red mullet with pear and truffle sounded interesting but didn't do much. A prawn fritter with an oyster mayonnaise and a salad of potato, tomato and something else was nice but the sort of thing you'd except to find in an upmarket fish and chip shop. Spaghetti with razor clams and something green had some good flavours but the razor clam disappeared in the dish.

There was finally a great dish with the porcini meatballs with sweetbreads and green beans. These were the sort of flavours I was hoping for from a higher-end Italian restaurant.

Unfortunately, it was followed with a so-so dish of steak with shaved truffle, roasted onion and potatoes. Nice, but it was closer to home cooking than fine dining. Same deal with the dessert of a fried calzone filled with ricotta and pistachio.

It's certainly a nice "experience" restaurant, but the food just doesn't match the decor and the service, so I was left feeling a bit hollow.

No more Michelin starred places for another few days, until we get through Florence and into Milan, so I'll be getting stuck into some good cheap and mid-range places in the meantime. Florence is apparently well known for its steak, so there will be a bit of that happening.

The next Michelin-starred place is Cracco in Milan, carrying 2 stars. It's also #71 in the San Pellegrino world's top 100 restaurants. I'm a bit worried about that one, having seen mixed reviews, but it should be another good learning experience.

Michelin star tally: 1

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