Monday, April 11, 2011

Bistecca alla Florentina @ Nino Ristorante (Rome, Italy) - ♕♕♕♕♕

    If Florence and Tuscany are famous for inventing their famous T-Bone steak dish Bistecca alla Florentina, then Nino Ristorante @ Rome is the restaurant responsible for putting this dish onto the world map, after the much publicized visit by Tom Cruise and his Wife during their wedding trip!   A famous Bone-in Italian Steak Cut once banned by the Italian Government for more than 5 years across the nation from being served in restaurants, during the peak of a mad cow’s disease scare,  Tuscan natives owned Nino luckily survived through this ordeal and inconvenienced  vacuum period.   Critically, the most crucial ingredient for re-creating this authentic dish is genuinely imported from Tuscany, unlike most other restaurants offering the same name dish on the street, so beware of the traps surrounding you (and so far, no one seems to sell the real deal in Hong Kong either)… 

  A quick search online nets the common answer that beef meat fit for an authentic  Bistecca alla Florentina  must come from white ”Chianina” cows,  but this information is not entirely 100% accurate because traditionally,  another breed of long horned white cow ”Maremmana”, also bred in Tuscany is equally permitted for re-creating this dish truthfully..


IMG_0756Spanish Steps, Rome -

Close to the Spanish Steps -
There are many tourist traps in Rome, I fell victim to a few of them,
especially the gelati stores.  Luckily, this wasn’t one of them.


Old retro-style deco, it’s been here since 1934 -
A Cucina Toscana cooking mostly Tuscan cuisine,
but with a few Roman dishes thrown in…


Acqua di Nepi (from Lazio) -
Italian Mineral Waters are the most prestigious in the world – well, they invented it!  Back in the Roman Empire days, hot or naturally effervescence spring and underground water were considered to carry medicinal curing properties.  Roman Baths were thus invented and then followed by bottling the Mineral Waters. Some of the mineral water springs were and still are certified for their medicinal properties.  This Acqua di Nepi water is used extensively in Rome’s restaurants, and considered to be pretty good overall.  It’s quite minerally!


Bread Basket -
You can buy truly great quality Artisanal bread loaves in Italy as they’re a bread nation, and there are many artisanal styles available.  Restaurants somehow give out mediocre bread and often pre-packed, super hard Grissini.  Bread is served cold in nearly every shop I visited.  So HK is doing not bad in this regard, the culture is different  ~  6.5/10 



Steaks are cooked on Charcoal Grillers -

Bistecca alla Florentina €45.5  (Dry Aged for a few weeks)-
Usually ordered thicker for sharing by everyone, but this was already quite massive and the minimum order even for 1 person at 700g.  The bone on this thing is freaking tiny compared to other T-bones – so it was mostly meat I really had trouble consuming the whole thing and luckily planned ahead not to order entrees.   The meat on the left is the tenderloin, the sirloin on the right.   The Tuscan white beef was very flavourful but it requires some teeth action, even though this was moist and well cooked.  A tad over-salted for my liking and could do with more charcoal aroma.  Tuscan beef and USDA Prime steaks are really different beasts altogether  ~  9/10 


Cooked to Rare -
Most restaurant won’t ask you how you would like the steak done, because they feel competent enough to take charge and will force you to eat it quite rare and bloody, and usually burnt on the outside crust if you order thicker cuts.  T-Bone’s are best cooked to Rare Plus in my personal opinion, as you don’t want to over-cook the tenderloin part and make it rough, nor undercook it – which makes its chewy instead. Here it was lovely !

House Chianti and Carafe -
Served in a water glass, because I deliberately ordered cheap wine that are usually drank like water by everyone, normally not considered even up to quaffing quality! 
Better wines are served in better wine glasses. 
Theory easy enough to understand ~  7/10

Tiramisu  €8 -
This Tiramisu is served in traditional glassware, like it should, because it’s a trifle not a cake by invention.  And this was simply amazing, probably the best Tiramisu I’ve eaten for many years!  There are no shortcuts taken here, the mascarpone was beaten smoothly and light, and still tasted like fresh cream cheese for once, and there are no ‘coffee liquor’ and cheap ‘rum’ passing off as Marsala wine and real Coffee, like the kindergarten versions in Hong Kong.  Da Domenico in HK does a fairly decent one too and comes closest, and Cova or Il Bel Paese might be relatively good by HK standards but can’t even rate when compared to here – the difference is a massive day and night!  This is the AUTHENTIC taste I knew had existed all along but couldn’t find locally (actually the one I make is very similar to this haha so that’s why I know).  In fact, almost all desserts I ate in Italy were EXACTLY the way I remembered and thought they should be.  I have no idea why Italian Consultants or Chefs working in HK can’t pick up on these differences, this really bothers me as French food in HK is generally much more closer to the real thing    ~  9.5/10 

Doppio Ristretto € 3 -
I ordered this to test the restaurant for fun, but this was too over-extracted volume wise, may be timing as well.  Crema was all bubbly but body under was thin watery, with distinct burnt taste.  The blend is from the famous Nori Caffe Bar too.  A disappointing finish to what was otherwise an excellent meal  ~  2/10


Thanks to friends K and G, for insisting that I visit here.


Price: €75 Per Person including VAT
Food Score: ★★★★
Coffee Score:
Opening Hours:
Lunch -  12:00pm to 15:00pm
Dinner – 19:00pm to 23:00pm


11, v. Borgognona - ROMA (RM)
Ph: 06.6795676 - 06.6786752

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