You know you're doing well when in this economy you have not one but two sittings for lunch. I considered myself lucky when I managed to secure a 1.30pm booking for a recent Sunday lunch at this well reputed Venetian restaurant. As it happens I prefer to eat lunch later on a Sunday so it was no hardship having to wait for the later sitting.
Upon arriving a special 4,500 yen course menu was offered which included a glass of sparkling wine (of unknown provenance but Italian I presume), four antipasto, two pasta, a fish, a meat, dessert and coffee. It was as much food as it sounds and is sensational value for money when you consider that the quality of the ingredients and preparation is very good.
The course started with a small dish of pickled vegetables. When I was very little, I still remember my grandmother used to make lots of pickled veges and this delicious taste brought me way back. This was followed by a magnificent antipasto plate of white fish carpaccio, white fish (pretty much like a rillette), a crispy ham and cheese salad and boiled white asparagus with warm egg sauce. Alongside this a bread basket groaning with different types of herbed rolls, focaccias and bread sticks was served. This was also unstintingly refilled later in the meal.
Following the antipasto we were served a delicious mushroom and Gorgonzola risotto and a fresh taglietelli with cream sauce, smoked salmon and orange chucks - served in a scooped out orange. Great combination! Following this came a tasty white fish, clam and tomato soup. The meat course was liver cooked with onions and paired with polenta. Hmm - I was a little bit apprehensive as I'm not a huge fan of the non foie gras liver variety, but this was delicious.
Lastly a dessert of pannacotta and a grapefruit granita topped off a truly satisfying lunch. Even the coffee tasted better than usual. It's quite clear to see (and taste) that chef Stefano puts his heart and soul into his cooking. He doesn't only stay in the kitchen and was friendly and solicitous through the meal. When, at the end of the meal, he asked us if we'd eaten enough I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. I'm a real fan of generosity in all its guises, and here is a chef generous in his talent, in his food and in himself. I'll definitely be coming back.