On a last minute whim I booked us in for dinner at Michelin-starred Pipero al Rex in Rome; a small restaurant within a hotel, with just six tables. Opened in late 2011, it received its first Michelin star within a year under restaurateur Alessandro Pipero and chef Luciano Monosilio
We were received by Pipero himself, who made it a point to chat with us about the menu, offering to tailor the tasting menu to our preference. He was more than happy to accommodate my request to try their famous carbonara as I was on a quest for the best carbonara in Rome.
|Pata negra from Pipero al Rex, Rome, Italy|
I love cured meats and the soft, salty fattiness left a wonderful aftertaste which only served to make me hungrier for the meal ahead.
|Parmesan and cream marshmallows with hazelnut cream and orange twist|
I adore all things dairy and this morsel of fluffiness was a light, savoury version of a marshmallow, garnished with a tuft of orange zest.
|Blue cheese semifreddo balls with spinach cream and potato chips|
The blue cheese sphere was not too overpowering and had just a hint of the tang that I love about this group of cheese.
|Waffles with chicken liver pate and sweet wine gel|
|Crispy pork Chips with& yoghurt and olive oil Sauce|
|Raw duck, mustard and apple cream|
I have never eaten raw duck before but I really liked the way the soft tartare was offset by the crunch of the crostini rounds. I've always associated duck with orange but apple turns out to be a pretty good match too.
|Shrimp, coffee and milk|
The texture of the finely sliced shrimp takes a bit of getting used to as it can feel a bit slimy, but this was a pleasant combination of raw shrimp with a coffee sauce and a creamy milk sauce.
|Tortellini with chicory, mozzarella and anchovies|
I particularly liked the smoked anchovy flavour that was incorporated into the dash of cream sauce, in addition to the segments atop the tortellini and mozzarella cheese.
|Spaghetti alla Carbonara|
It was a rich and creamy dish with lashings of parmesan cheese and the typical Roman addition of salty and crunchy guanciale cured pork jowl. It was a great dish and definitely ranks among my top carbonara picks in Rome but still, it wasn't my favourite (look out for my next Rome post).
|Lamb and smoked tea|
I powered through the lamb which was cooked rare, leaving it nice and tender, and enjoyed the gentle smoky flavour of the lapsang souchong tea against the raspberry and balsamic sauce.
Pipero returned at this point and kindly offered to pause the menu for a little while I readied myself for dessert.
|Sandwich of tiramisu|
|Apple, yoghurt and almond|
At this point, the hubby decided that he needed a whisky and ordered a 12-year old Ardbeg. We were so surprised when they poured him a generous serve, left the bottle at our table and asked us to top up as much as we liked. This generous gesture was invariably repeated a few times on our trip at different restaurants in Rome.
The tasting menu was an experience I would recommend to any visitors to Rome, pairing the many years of experience from restaurateur Pipero and the creativity from chef Monosilio.
Pipero al Rex was not our only Michelin-starred restaurant in Rome, but I felt it was much more representative than others of a blend of local cuisine, seasonal produce and new methods of cooking which seem to be the hallmark of new European cuisine.
More postcards from Rome come.