When a restaurant they always talk too well, I worry. For nature, always distrust of the rave reviews and guides, Maybe that's why, I waited so long to try the Trattoria Epirus, in Rome, in the neighbourhood of San Giovanni. Three years after opening, and after the redesign of 2015, I couldn't resist and I booked a table. The only remained free on a Saturday night. The restaurant is located in a secluded and not at all happy from the tourist point of view of the neighbourhood of San Giovanni, in piazza Epirus 25, right in front of the Latino market, Hence the Trattoria Epirus uses for meats, cheese, fruit and vegetables, While the fish comes from one of the leading suppliers of capital to the world of entertainment (the Urban Fish). In the kitchen there are two young chefs, Matthew B and mark Maguire, that after attending the Gambero Rosso cooking school Assembly made different experiences in restaurants in Italy and abroad, to find themselves in this adventure in which they decided du join forces and ideas. Along with mark and Matthew there are three other people who are part of the Brigade, including a young chef devoted entirely to confectionery. In the Hall, Alessandra Viscardi and the sommelier Francis Romanazzi. The menu includes a card with a few dishes following the season and the inspiration of the moment: five starters, four first, four seconds and four sweets. Among the proposals in a tasting menu prepared by chef, of 5 courses plus dessert, at the price of 50 euro. Or, You can choose a tasting Freehand to 55 euro: in this case the customer choose five courses plus dessert from the menu, that must be ordered for the whole table, but without the constraints of starters, first or second courses. I chose the free menu, trying three appetizers, a first, a second and sweet.
The chef's welcome is a goat cheese mousse with siphon with powder and cream of turnip and corn waffles: a cool appetizer, with the slight acidity of the goat cheese and the pleasant bitterness of broccoli rabe. The place is small, just 26 covered, distributed in two mini rooms with an open kitchen, behind the counter serving. In summer you can also use the outdoor seating. Contemporary-industrial décor in shades of gray, with old style lamps in yellow light, in my opinion, do not do justice to the beautiful colors of what arrives at the table. La mise en place is minimal, with plates and cutlery rests in Slate. The bread is obviously homemade, with a pronounced acidity that denounces the presence of sourdough: finger roll and Focaccia with semi-wholemeal flour, poppy seed pods and breadsticks. To follow, an imperial Eagle tartare with Oyster mousse, brunoise of cucumber and a gel of Apple Cider vinegar: a very centered, NET and intense flavors, Since the acidity of vinegar, via saline taste and unmistakeable of oysters and refreshing cucumbers.
Yet, a surprising PEAR soup flavored with saffron, with rice flour dumplings stuffed with cheese and pepper and steamed, turnips, chestnuts, Poplar mushrooms and pine nuts. A fun variation on the theme of pairing cheese and pepper, with a clear oriental inspiration but with flavors of the Mediterranean all, Indeed the Romans. Other dish happy.
We come to the first course: noodles with crab meat, celery and chestnuts. Savoury biscuits, al dente, well creamed, good idea of brunoise celery raw with his fresh aroma and lingering. A well executed dish, compelling in its simplicity but not surprising, in the light of what tasted before and what comes next.
The thigh of quail stuffed with ' nduja of Spilinga, accompanied by her chest, Peanut cream, turnip greens, potatoes, Poached quail egg and its sauce was the dish that I loved the most. Served in paper as a Starter, It is in my opinion a second complete and complex, worthy of closing a high-level menu with a great expressive power. Does the idea of stuff the quail with flavorful and hot ' nduja (non-random juxtaposition, as the mother of Matthew B is c), that gives strength to the meat of this little bird, ennobled by a perfect cooking. Great idea peanut cream, dense and greve, that dampens the hotness of the ' nduja, While the poached egg with the yolk and liquid fat comes full circle to a high-class dish.
Good also the pigeon, chest and thigh, well cooked, rare but not bloody, served with pumpkin cream, its cooking liquid, a Pate of his chicken livers, Purple Potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms and Poplar. Also in this case the chefs demonstrate cooking meat and is perfectly clear extricating the choice to use the raw material in its entirety, with respect, it entirely.
As pre dessert, a fresh green tea ice cream with Apple pod. Despite the tasting menu is served for the whole table, the kitchen gives everyone the freedom to choose different pastries (bonus). Refreshing and lively the tartlet with creamy and lemon gel, a perfectly timed rock sugar and white pepper ice cream: Bella the acidity of lemon to contrast with the butter of pastry, really good cream lemon curd. Then a vanilla rice milk and bay leaf with ice cream and hazelnut cream, whole hazelnuts and chocolate: a sweet for those who love cream and chocolate, but with light notes, not cloying, suitable for an end to greedy gourmet meal. In closing, Petit fours with a pastry with chocolate and nuts, creamy coffee and hazelnut Praline.
The wine list is obviously the result of a very personal choice and member of Trattoria Epirus and Francesco, It favours only the wineries that use the natural and biodynamic method. The labels are few, and little representative of the wide range of Italian and foreign names (even within the same area of natural wines), focused on Italy and France manufacturers. A wine for connoisseurs of the genre, that in the future I hope it can expand, because both in prices both as proposals may not meet the full expectations of an average consumer, unaccustomed to unfiltered wines, with oxidation and acetic notes. Is’ a risk that the Trattoria Epirus knows to run. Prices range from 18 to 60 euro, up to 100 euro for champagne. Whereas the average cost as much as a wine tasting menu, Maybe you could lower a bit’ mark-ups. However, the possibility of a good and varied selection of wines by the glass, between 4 and 8 euros (10 euro for champagne). In paper, Italian craft beers and also. Merit for specialty coffees: Moka napoletana, french press coffee pot and vacuum filter.
IN CONCLUSION: My concerns for positive criticisms too were completely unfounded: La Trattoria Epirus is definitely one of the best restaurants for value of Rome, where you can experience a creative cuisine, funny taste, high-level, that stimulate the palate with a swing of concentrated and balanced flavors. Besides the fact that a professional chef will present to your table asking if you enjoyed everything and agreeing with smile even critical opinions. Highly recommended.
(visited October 22, 2016)