Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Italian Series (Part 4) : Let's go 'Baby'

Villa Borghese

I enjoy Milan, but I like Rome more. In terms of gastronomy discovery, I find that Rome has a good offering of trattorias, chic restos and awarding winning fine dines. As a "Haute Foodie" (, I have to do URBAN proud and check out some Michelin starred restos.

A good tip for anyone visiting Rome is to plan your day by the areas you are visiting. Rome is not that big, but it is not that small either. It is similar to when I visited Tokyo, I will plan my shopping and dining based on the areas I will be visiting (Roppongi, Shibuya, Ginza, etc), so I can maximise my day exploring the key things in the area.

Hence, the day I visited Galleria Borghese, housed at the Villa Borghese, I decided to choose a restaurant in the vicinity for lunch. 'Baby' is the Michelin star resto at Hotel Aldrovandi, a grand hotel located within Rome's most upscale residential area. Trust me, I know posh when I see it. Hotel Aldrovandi is posh with an air of aristocratic grandeur. As the hotel has the luxury of space and a huge building, it could afford to have an outdoor pool and garden, as well as a poolside bistro.

'Baby' offers indoor and al fresco terrace dining. For our lunch, we opted for the terrace as it was a glorious summer day. The interior of the resto is contemporary and elegant, while the al fresco has a good garden view overlooking the pool.

As much as I wanted to try the degustation menu, I really don't think I could eat that much. Hence, we decided to order a starter to share, followed by a main course and dessert each. I ordered a pasta dish for main course, but it was served to me as an appetiser. Why? I forgot that in Italy, pasta dish is considered a second appetiser and is before a meat/fish main course.

Upon some research, I learnt that 'Baby' is the Roman restaurant owned by Don Alfornso 1890, one of southern Italy's top restaurants. The owners, Alfonso Iaccarino and his son Ernesto, oversee the menu and operation from their Amalfi Coast base. Considered a gastronomic genius, Alfonso Iaccarino is the celebrity chef who sends over to 'Baby' organic tomatoes and olive oil from his own Amalfi Coast farm, as well as fish that arrives every day from the same coast.

Amuse Bouche : Seared tuna with berry sauce

Appetiser to share : Smoked amberjack

My main that was served as a starter : Ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese

Main for Lolo : Swordfish steak with cous cous

Dessert for Lolo : Chocolate semi freddo

Dessert for me : Citrus souffle

The dishes might sound simple but they tasted heavenly. For foodies and chefs alike, we all know that the simplest dishes are sometimes the hardest to perfect. Reason being you have to focus on using only fresh produce, good cooking methods (usually through years of apprenticeship and experience), topped with lots of passion and dedication.

I will definitely dine at 'Baby' when I return to Rome. LUXE City Guide also gave its stamp of approval, quoting "This calm and cool as a cuke Michelin-starred, chic sleekster salon really comes into its own for summer eve romantic dining on the poolside garden terrace. Mwah!"

Closed on Mondays.
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