Food 2008 – The Roade House, Roade

Friday, 12th September 2008 – Italian Dinner, The Roade House, Roade

Friday night was another of the ever-wonderful Roade House’s special dinners. This time it was an Italian dinner with matching wines. We arrived slightly early, in time to admire the newly-redecorated bar/conservatory, which now seems very light and airy, with lovely white walls and some new modern art on those walls. It looks good and feels a lot bigger in that way that white-walled rooms do when they get it right.

Anyway, we started with a glass or two of prosecco, which is always a good way to start an Italian meal.

The drink was accompanied by a mini-pizza each, which were incredibly tomatoey, and very good indeed.

And some bruschetta with olives and chilli!

After that we were escorted to our table, avoiding the vicious step into the dining room because we know from previous experience that it’s there! And then the fun really started. Chris was obviously feeling inspired again after a holiday or something, but whatever the reason he got off to a flying start with the prosciutto di capra with artichokes and rocket, served with a lovely crisp, fresh, lemony white wine (Mumplin 2006, Roero, Arneis, Casetta).

Next up was soup – courgettes with some sort of added cheese, possibly Parmesan, and very light but tasty. The wine stretched to that as well – no complaints from us.

We moved on both in wine terms and in food terms, with a pasta course, thankfully not on the same sort of scale that our friends at Val Taro insist on serving. No, this was half a dozen clams, and a deal of bottargo, served with linguine, with a smattering of pesto. The wine was a Toledana Gavi, Raccolto Tardivo 2007 and again it was very good.

There came a pause – which was probably just as well – and after that we moved on to the piece de resistance, slow-cooked shoulder of lamb stuffed with mint, fennel and sun dried tomatoes in a red wine jus. It was perfection itself, with a few sweet, crunchy carrots, and an endive. The meat was tender and tasty and the herbs and tomatoes flavoured everything just right. The wine, on the other hand, was a problem. Sue wasn’t happy about any of the Langhe Dolcetto 1996, Marchesini and was not about to serve it to her guests. We ended up drinking a St. Emilion instead, which was good but not part of the plan. The wine merchant would be hearing about it in the morning is my guess…

By now, we were starting to slow right down, and there were still two courses to go! We drew a deep breath each and asked the waiting staff to give us 30 minutes! It was a good idea. When the cheese arrive it wasn’t too scary actually. Goat’s cheese with fig marmalade, and a slice of fig was just the thing.

And then there was dessert… Iced amaretto parfait with poached plums and pistachio biscuit, sticky and wonderfully light, soft, melting in the mouth.

Oh, and a glass of Tegrino d’Anchiano, Vinsanto 1996 was perfect with it.

And all that – wine included – was £55 each. There’s no deal better in the neighbourhood…

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