With its designer tones and clean wooden lines, sitting inside Rome’s Marzapane restaurants, you could be mistaken for thinking you’re dining somewhere else, perhaps in Scandinavia.
Alba Esteve Ruiz is a young Spanish chef. She trained in none other than El Celler de Can Roca, consistently named by many an illustrious guide, the best restaurant in the world. Her roman kitchen might not have been awarded accolades of the same calibre yet, but you get the feeling this is not far off at all. Her cuisine is inspired by her native Spain, is fun, inventive and relaxed.
I’d tasted some of her dishes at various Rome food festivals, but never dined at Marzapane. After tonight’s meal, I was left wondering why had I waited so long!
Here’s what I ate as part of the Alba tasting menu (€59 without wine):
Amuse bouche: wilted cabbage, polpetta di bollito (broiled meat) and barbecue sauce Cauliflower cream and crisp greens, including roman broccoliRed prawn tartare with burrata, smoked eggplant cream, tomato and brut purée and pistacchio brittle Risotto with butter, Cantabrian sea anchovies and candied gingerCrumbed and fried red mullet with cabbage and coriander-slawAlba’s CarbonaraPre dessert (cinnamon custard concoction) Mille feuille with caramelised white chocolate, liquorice powder and sea salt Petit fours
Signing off from Trastevere,