Marzapane Roma, Rome, 12/13/15

Exterior
Exterior

 

A small place with a see-through kitchen run by Chef Alba Esteve Ruiz. She’s just in her mid-twenties but making quite a splash on the Rome dining scene. She is taking some of the standards and putting a nice twist on them as well as coming up with some completely new combinations. They offer several tasting menu options as well as a la carte options. They will substitute one item for another as long as the whole table agrees, which opens up a world of wonderfully individualized tasting options. It is a fairly casual vibe without losing any of the service you expect from a fine dining restaurant – making it a really enjoyable dining experience. For example, they offer purse stools which are actually a child’s chair – fun yet functionally elegant. The dining room wraps around the pass through kitchen window, which slides up and down and thus keeps the kitchen noise from upsetting the dining room – another nice touch.  We chose the Alba tasting, named for the chef – how can you lose with that? We certainly didn’t!

Interior
Interior
Looking into kitchen
Looking into kitchen
Chef in the kitchen
Chef in the kitchen
table set up
table set up
"purse stool"
“purse stool”
Really nice knife rest - quite heavy
Really nice utensil rest – quite heavy
house made breadsticks
house made breadsticks
menu
menu
menu 1
menu 1
starters
starters
main courses
main courses
second courses
second courses
tasting menu
tasting menu
tasting menu Marzapane
tasting menu Marzapane
Tasting menu Alba
Tasting menu Alba
tasting menu Il girone dei golosi
tasting menu Il girone dei golosi
Beef ball with cabbage and barbecue sauce
Beef ball with cabbage and barbecue sauce. Tasty.
bread tray - all house made
bread tray – all house made
focaccia
focaccia
they give you some of each
they give you some of each
Frankie wanted to try all the kinds of breads
Frankie wanted to try all the kinds of breads
kitchen
kitchen
IMG_6544
Cruciferous – 8 kinds of Brassicas: cauliflower, Romanesco, Brussels sprout leaves, cabbage. On top is one crispy leaf with cauliflower and mustard seed below. Very nice but a tad too much mayonaisse taste.
IMG_6559
Red prawn tartar, burrata cheese, smoked eggplant cream, candied tomatoes with mustard and “Ugly but good” pistachio cookie. Nice when all components combined and the cookie is outrageously good.
wine
wine
Risotto with butter, anchovies from Cantabrain Sea and candied ginger
Risotto with butter, anchovies from Cantabrian Sea and candied ginger. Nicely al dente. I was worried about the anchovy taking over but it turned out to be quite tasty and only one small bit in the middle. It’s subtle taste was integrated into the dish but the creaminess of the the dish was not disturbed. The ginger was a very nice touch and also blended well. It was lovely!
Mackerel, grilled leek, olive cream, pepperoni and lemon crees
Mackerel, grilled leek, olive cream, pepperoni and lemon crees. The mackerel was nicely charred and so was the onion. The brown streak was olive sauce. The onion was particularly great.
Carbanara 2013
Carbonara 2013. A bit gummy, the color made me think of “cheese whiz” , and I would have liked the meat chucks to be more textured, but still overall it was a good enough I didn’t leave a drop.
Chef Alba Esteve Ruiz makes her rounds as dinner winds down
Chef Alba Esteve Ruiz makes her rounds as dinner winds down
Pre dessert: eggs, vanilla  and sugar
Pre dessert: eggs, vanilla and sugar. Like a chess pie without the crust. The crisp bit on the back was almond praline. A very nice bite to get you ready for sweet time.
Millefuille, caramelized white chocolate, liquirice and maldon's salt
Millefuille, caramelized white chocolate, liquirice and malden’s salt. The pastry was really buttery tasting with wonderful flakiness. The top cream had a bit of salt which made a nice contrast. Unlike any version I’ve had and I’d love to have it again!
IMG_6641
(L to R) Biscotti, very nice; honey cookie, not too sweet or buttery; lime meringue pie, remarkedly good; raspberry cheesecake, nice crust; chocolate with passion fruit, really dark chocolate and a good balance of flavor
Frankie insisted we finish the meal with grappa
Frankie insisted we finish the meal with grappa
Our very nice waiter
Our very nice waiter
IMG_6688
Frankie gives 2 ears up for their parting gift – they gave her one too! They were amazingly great!
The whole kitchen staff posed for a photo! What a nice group!
The whole kitchen staff posed for a photo! What a nice group!

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