Monday, 25 February 2013

Trattoria Sostanza

Before coming to Florence, I had asked an acquaintance through the twittersphere if he could recommend any places for trying bistecca all fiorentina and he suggested Trattoria Sostanza. Reservations were recommended for this resto at all times so yet again, we enlisted the help of our hotel to secure us a table and they didn't disappoint :)

The decor resto is "rustic" and feels like nothing has changed in the last 50 years or so (at least!). Even though we had made a reservation, we still had to share a table with other customers (which just goes to show just how popular this place is!). Again, another wonderful evening of great food and service - if only, all restos were like this :)
Love the old school fridges!!

The artisanal beer and proscuitto fiend strikes again!!

Bistecca to share.......

.....with sides of fagioli in olive oil 

and spinach :)

One (make that two!) happy bistecca diner(s)!!

My pudding of wild strawberries with sugar and cream - much nicer than French fraises de bois!

JD's meringue cake :)

Note. If anyone plans on visiting Trattoria Sostanza, remember to bring cash are they do not accept cards! Buon appetito :)  

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Il Santo Bevitore

JD and I are off on a sneaky "field trip" to Italy for a few days starting off in Florence. Finding a resto for dinner on Sunday can be tricky which is why we asked our hotel to ring ahead to see if they could secure us a table at Il Santo Bevitore (we had passed by it on a Saturday evening the last time we were in town and had wanted to eat there but sadly, they were fully booked. Luckily, for us this time we got a table AND they were open on a Sunday, yay!) 

Had a yummy and relaxing dinner - simple food deliciously cooked with friendly and attentive staff, perfect :)
(Its times like this when I wish we could live in Italy, sigh!)
Love the motif on the napkin, the saintly wine glass :)

Italian artisanal beer and charcuterie to die for to start :)

I had ordered pasta with N'duja sausage as a starter. The waiter had warned me that it would be very spicy but I thought I would be OK. The Italians are not renowned for their spicy food so I figured I had nothing to worry about......boy, was I in for a rude awakening - this dish was MEGA-spicy!!!

In the end, JD kindly swapped his ribollita for my fiery pasta :)

More mellow main of beef cheeks with mushrooms and polenta 

Deconstructed Mont Blanc for dessert

Monday, 11 February 2013

Jamies Italian, Dundrum

JD and I have been to various Jamies Italian restos during our time in the big smoke and we have never been disappointed by them. Food is usually of a high standard and service friendly, efficient and relaxed. Because of this, we thought we would take Ma and Ba Chan to the Dublin outpost of this hugely popular chain for dinner the one night they were in town. Despite being a Monday night, the resto was heaving with people. We were seated in a booth near the back of the resto (and unfortunately, right opposite the toilets) - luckily for us, none of our party were particularly "chunky" in stature otherwise it would've been a tight squeeze as the seating was pretty tight!

Dinner started off well; we ordered a selection of starters to share which were all pretty tasty. Mains arrived and all 4 were either overseasoned or unbearably spicy. A real disappointment after all our experiences in Blighty :(
Share starters of bread basket, arancini, deep fried squid and meat plank - well executed and generally, pretty yummy

Ma Chan's main of seafood risotto - overpowered by so much chilli that she could not finish her dish

My main of baked hake - made the cardinal mistake of ordering fish on a Monday!!! Also overpowered by a whopping dollop of chilli sauce underneath the fish!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

La Maison

I have walked past La Maison many times whilst in town and have never thought of having dinner until now (arm got twisted after perusing their menu). We were able to bag a table for Saturday night and luckily, were seated in the (relative comfort) of the main dining room (it was a cold night and did not fancy sitting in their "conservatory" area). The resto was already quite busy when we arrived. However, it was still early for dinner (7pm) so it was little strange to hear that the rib of beef for 2 was already sold out?! A shame as our neighbours were eating it and it did look very tempting!

This was to be the beginning of many things being sold the point that when our new neighbours arrived to have dinner at 9pm, they were being told that 90% of the entire menu was sold out.....not to mention the various wine options they were picking as well??!! If I thought Ouzos last week was bad being in the weeds with my main course, La Maison really took the biscuit this week - how can someone get the stock ordering so badly wrong??!! In the end, I got off quite lightly as the glass of wine I ordered (which was not on the menu and actually suggested by the staff) and dessert wine guessed it,  sold out!!! Despite the food being moderate, the grosse merde that was service that evening was enough to put us off not returning again!!

Our poor neighbours who were left with a bottle of wine which was maybe their 4th/5th choice, the last remaining portions of starters (possibly 2 choices?) and a handful of mains - shocking!!

My starter of mixed salad of duck and foie gras - I am not the biggest foie gras fan in the world but I did enjoy it a lot :)

Pan fried skate wing with brown butter and potatoes - one of my favourite dishes to eat and this one was pretty well executed

Cheeseboard for dessert

Saturday, 2 February 2013



I came across Ouzos through a re-tweet from a food writer who was a fan of the resto's blog ( I also found myself checking the blog whenever it had new entries and thought what was being written made a lot of sense, hence the decision to make the trek to the coast to try out the resto :)

We dropped in for dinner on Saturday night and first impressions were good. Service initially was friendly, warm and efficient. After our starters were served, everything went a little downhill. It definitely felt like the kitchen was in the weeds as it took an eternity for our main courses to arrive and at no point, did anyone approach out table to offer an apology for the wait. A shame as I had high hopes for the resto.....
Things got off to nice start - steamed pot of mussels with white, garlic and shallot (moules marinières, essentially). Mussels were fresh, plump and juicy :)

  Ouzos surf 'n'turf - the menu claims this is a legendary signature dish but there was nothing very special about it (bar the eternity it took to arrive!). To add insult to injury, my crab claws tasted more boiled than pan fried - if you are going to state the method of cooking on the menu, then at least cook it the right way!