Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vivendo (Rome, Italy) - ♕♕♕♕ 3/4

Michelin 1 Stars

  I do admit, I am a poor planner whenever I go on traveling.  Although some people devise a full ‘blueprint’ of their to do list of high-end dining sessions and jot down on their moleskine pages how many stars they’ve had the privilege to accumulate during a single trip, for me traveling has always been equal parts serendipitous discoveries, as well as balancing between that and the right amount of prevised itinerary planning!   Some find enjoyment pondering over every Chowhound recommendations or the Michelin/Gambero Rosso printed must-visits.  Twiddling my thumbs on the plane or train, I generally just hope for the best.   But let me tell you this as a warning please!   Capricious and spontaneous mentality won’t land you anywhere when visiting Italy.   An endless encounter of ostentatious options out here will ultimately rob you of the opportunity to visit places worth well your hard earned money, time, as well as stomach quota.  There are simply too many touristy spots in every city that divert your attention.   So – always plan ahead.    


, a Michelin 1 Star rated and 15/20 Gambero Rosso scored restaurant harboured within the grandiose St Regis Hotel,  turned out to be a fairly affordable, decent Michelin meal headed by Chef Francesco Donatelli.   But it was not without regrets as I came and left.   After I’d ordered the fixed Experience Menu (€ 80),  I overheard the staff explaining to another American Couple opposite that Set Menu dishes could be substituted with any other courses in the A La Carte Menu.   And this fuller and freer menu looked even more promising, and no doubt could have gotten me a better meal in the end than the Set Menu of the day.   The execution of dishes at Vivendo are very high and perfectly executed, much like Michelin 2 Stars 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, yet holding even more surprises and satisfaction in the end despite being graded one star lower. 
Its an Unfair world, indeed…

Warmly lit Dining Space with super accommodative staff, as I ensconced myself on Sofa  - 
A rare sight over here in Rome, when most waiters are arrogant!  Dress Code here is smart-Formal.  No need to be forced to put on a jacket, unlike some obnoxious crap in Europe... Good


My Tasting Menu, could have been this..  -
Note:  Set Menu Items could have been substituted with any of these A La Carte items. 
Silly me for finding out too late!  It’s promising and sounded even more convincing indeed…

Appetiser of Veal Meat Balls -
With Carta da Musica crisps, pumpkin puree and herbed sauce. 
A very Roman fritti starter definitely.  Lovely !  ~   7/10

Bread Basket -
This was one of the best bread baskets I’ve had in Italy.  The Grissini, albeit the Torinese original ‘harder type’ had a floury coating and were crispy but not hard.  The rest of the rolls and bread slices weren’t overly Italian, but were made to a good quality and served warmish ~  8/10

A Caldaro ‘Wadleith’ 2009 from Alto Adige (Chardonnay) -
This was quite intense and mid-bodied, with a Straw-Yellow colour and quite creamy for a cooler region Northern Italian chardonnay.  It was ripe without being sweet, very well balanced.  A very unique and balanced wine in my very limited wine exposure, without nuisances.  Great recommendation by the sommelier.  Loved it ~   10/10


Tartelleta di Melanzane su Passata di Carote allo Zenzero
con Fiore di zucca farcito Ricotta e Alici -
Baked eggplant tartlet, with ricotta and anchovy filled Zucchini Flower, over a ginger and carrot puree…   this wasn’t revolutionary no.  But it tasted so great and is just so very Italian.  The ricotta and anchovy brought out the best of the flower wrap  ~  8/10


Tortello di Gambero su passata di Melanzane alla Siciliana e Pesto di Rucola Selvatica -
A King Prawn tortelli topped with a famous, transformed Sicilian eggplant dish instead as a puree sauce, then dotted with a pesto made from rocket leaves and more puree.  The puree is honestly getting a bit REPETITIVE and boring by now, but seriously, this dish tasted great.  The prawns inside were very flavourful as you would expect from Italian gambero rosso and the overall tortelli were cooked well.   Reminds me of the immaculate Ravioli I had at Petrus.  ~ 8/10 

Capesante in Carrozza con Mozzarella di Bufala su Salsa di Focaccia e Gocce di Alici -
Scallops are filled with buffalo mozarella, coated in bread crumbs and then served over a bread sauce and anchovy with beetroot jam.  I didn’t again think this was highly revelationary, yawn.  But remember, this could have been substituted to any of their other dishes if wished…  But taste wise, this was just excellent.  I mean, how many times have u seen this dish locally here?  ~  8/10


Filleto di Manzo a modo di Tagliata su Carpaccio di Zucchine e
Provola con Cipolla Rossa di Tropea al sale e riduzione di Cesanese -
Beef Fillet is cut into Tagliata slices, Zucchini topped with Smoked Cheese Carpaccio, together with Tropea red onions and Cesanese wine reduction.  This might have looked simple, but every component of this dish worked so seamlessly together.  The smoky but softish cheese was the perfect pair with the soft zucchini bed, the sliced beef fillet also executed perfectly, all balanced by the Cesanese red wine reduction and the sweetness of Tropea onions.   The difference between this dish and say Michelin 2 Stars 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo’s Tajima Beef dish, is that this dish had all it’s ingredients tied together like a pair of fitting gloves.  Whereas, the equally well cooked Tajima Beef dish over there had different parts singing solo by themselves like a repertoire.   Not rocket science, but came out brilliantly in taste over here ~   9/10

2008 Avignonesi Aleatico (DOC), from Sovana Tuscany -
Sommelier recommended this red sweet Aleatico wine from Sovana region, similar to a red muscat, after a quick exchange involving a conversation between us even though I have zero idea about what’s happening at all.   And telling him that I do love Sweet Mourvèdre and Sweet Reds too, he predicted precisely that this wine with the following Chocolate based dessert and the Pasticci will pair perfectly together.  I have got to admit, seriously and with a lot of shame as I repeatedly discovered again and again.  Sommeliers and real wine-lovers always have this sense of understanding of what one or another needs barely after a few words of exchange.  Something I know exists but can never muster myself, which does dent your personal confidence.   To the credit of Vivendo, the team passed with flying colours.  This was served slightly chilled and was viscous without being too sweet.   ~   9/10.



Tarfufo al Cioccolato con Crumble al Pistachioe e Salsa e allo Zafferano -
Pretty self-explanatory, with a Chocoalte Tartufo surrounded with very malleable chocolate strips (a novelty to me) with pistachio crumbs and a strong Saffron sauce.  Again, I must stress this was not out-of-this-world or molecular or trying too hard to be what it isn’t trying to be.  But this dessert, together with the Aleatico was amazing together.   May be high-end Italian dining was never meant to be exciting, but more about final taste?   ~  8/10


Pasticcini -
A beautiful presentation of a various few cookies, biscotti, almond meringues and coconutty concoctions and fruit pates.  No idea what I am talking about here to be honest!  But they were good rather than exciting but the presentation was beautiful.  I ate all of this plate : )  ~  8/10


Solid Performance.   Nothing extraordinary at all, but every single dish were cooked to its intended perfection, some of these carried more thoughts combined into it than perceivable from 1st glance.  Just re-check the descriptions again, to see how this had really been planned all along like proper Haute Cuisine!   Reminds me slightly of my excellent low profile, but amazingly great meal at The Ledbury in London.  (Best new comer at #34 in the World:  http://bit.ly/lK9I53)

Inside the Prestigious St Regis Hotel -
Right next to Repubblica.  Walkable by foot from Metro, at around 5-10 minutes time.
Definitely Recommendable.

Price:  €110 Per Person
Score: ★★★★★☆

Opening Times
Tues to Sat -    19.00pm - 22.30pm
Sun to Mon -     Closed

Address:  3 Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 00185 Rome, Italy
Ph:  06-4709-2736

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