Monday, 19 October 2015

Travel: Aperitivo, Urbana 47 and Grezzo, Rome

Three days in Rome

I've already reviewed Grappolo d'Oro where I ate on my first night in Rome. On the second night, we popped down to the hotel bar for Aperitivo. Apertivo is the Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Lots of bars put on a little buffet which you can help yourself to when you buy a cocktail. We were pleased to find that our hotel sold cocktails and provided an Aperitivo buffet. The drinks were very reasonably priced at about 5 euro each and there was a nice selection of cheese, meat and bread bites. We worked our way through most of the cocktail menu during our Roman trip but I kept coming back to Aperol Spritz!

We were in Italy in the middle of August, when many shops and restaurants shut down for Ferragosto, a massive festival. This meant that many of the places I'd found on blogs, Yelp and Trip Advisor weren't open! We'd headed down Via Urbana looking for one of these restaurants but it was closed. Luckily there were lots of bars and restaurants on this road so we thought we'd just pop into one of those.

I spotted Urbana 47 because it looked modern, stylish and I loved the name! We'd already done the trad Italian thing the day before and I wanted something a bit different.

The interior was very trendy. It put me in mind of the sort of hipster-y bars I go to at home for cocktails, craft beer and 'twists on British classics'. This was exactly that, but with twists on Italian classics. I'm a sucker for anything like that- 'distressed' furniture, exposed brick walls, menus on clipboards etc etc. The clientèle was young and Italian. As I said, it's the sort of place I would go at home, so why wouldn't a 28-year-old Roman be there?

We had a lovely bottle of wine and had a nose at the meny. We didn't want to go the whole hog with starter, primi, secondi and pudding today, so we shared a starter and had a secondi course each. Primi courses are usually pasta and risotto and secondi is usually meat or fish with a small amount of potato or vegetables with it. I like the Italian approach to a menu.

Our shared starter was a giant slab of  Stracchino cheese, pan fried and served with char-grilled vegetables and chilli jam. I could have done with more of the jam but otherwise this was a beautiful starter. Sharing between the two of us was perfect as there was a lot of oozy cheese. A great starter.

I had Chicken Saltimbocca for my main. I've had this before in the UK and although it was pleasant it was basically just slightly dry chicken wrapped in parma ham- the sort of thing you might knock up at home on a Wednesday night. It wasn't like this. The chicken had been flattened, topped with a generous amount of prosciutto and sensitively cooked. It was tender and served on top of perfectly-salty greens. I really enjoyed not having potato or pasta with this and felt good afterwards.

We'd spotted a cool looking dessert shop on Via Urbana so decided to pop into there for dessert. Grezzo specialise in raw chocolate and had a variety of gelato, chocolates and desserts. The interior was lovely and again, it was full of young Italians.

We stood for ages trying to decide what to choose. Everything looked lovely. As Grezzo serve only raw, vegan foods, the pudding were a mix of fruit, nuts, cacao beans, dates and so on. I had their fruity version of tiramisu. Although it didn't taste like your standard tiramisu, it was creamy, the fruit was tangy and it was topped with a layer of raw chocolate. We sat on one of their little tables, chatting and enjoying the atmosphere and our eyes were opened to raw desserts- I'll definitely be trying some in Birmingham. Any suggestions?

I loved our second night in Rome. It was really fun flitting between the different places on Via Urbana. If you're looking for somewhere a little different in the centre of Rome, I'd recommend going for a walk down Via Urbana. No one is going to give you free limoncello and it might not be what you think of as 'traditional' but it was a fun, relaxed night.

Photos by Edd and myself. 
Everything was paid for by Edd and myself

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