OK, here you get two restaurant reviews for the price of one. Both visited during a road trip this August.
First, a return trip to The Cook. Since we visited in 2012 they’ve moved into slightly fancier premises in the centre of Genoa.
The Amuse-bouches. Even after 8 years the cook still likes to pair raw shellfish with fruit.
And oyster with white chocolate. This one was a bit thick and too sweet for an amuse-bouche, much as I like white chocolate.
A small focaccia with blobs of stracchino cheese and pesto. A nod to the local specialities.
Then on to the menu, and a real step up in terms of presentation. Anchovies marinated in lime, with peppers and squid ink.
Scallop, apricot, beetroot.
Sea bass. The dots are flavoured with mango, red onion, lemon, coriander and chilli. Very strong flavours. And a plantain banana crisp in the little clip.
Perhaps my favourite: a large raviolo filled with burrata and split into nine squares, each with a different topping, including shrimp, asparagus, and prescinsêua.
Leerfish with strawberry jelly, courgette and asparagus. I wasn’t so convinced by this one.
The Meat: this was a ‘deconstructed” vitello tonnato. Meaning that they don’t bother to combine the ingredients, just placing them separately on the plate. I never really saw the point of this approach to be honest. The ingredients were good quality and tasty, but why not just put it together properly? That’s the whole point of the dish.
Fig sorbet, bergamot granita and parsley jelly. Meh.
Basil ice cream, olive sauce and white chocolate. This one definitely worked.
Some good ideas and excellent presentation, even if not everything convinced me. I’ll still go back another time.
A few days later we found ourselves with friends on the Adriatic coast in the Marche region, where we stopped for dinner at Uliassi (3 Michelin stars).
It sits right on the beach, at the end of a long seafront walk lined with bars, and so it has a nice sea view. But considering how hot it was we opted for indoor air-conditioned comfort rather than a table on the terrace.
Of the three menus on offer (the other two were meaty and fishy) we chose the Lab 2020, which was a little more experimental.
Anchovies and fennel on toast.
Raw octopus with lard on a ‘tigella’ bread roll.
Foie gras and truffle wafer.
Chard and sunflower seed éclair.
Leek and tamarind mousse.
Another bread cracker.
Oyster with salami fat.
Prawn with almond milk and coffee drops.
Sole with lettuce and bergamot juice.
Spicy snail, spinach and pine cone.
Raw pigeon, cherry, liquorice and lavender.
Endive with squid sauce. Possibly the least popular dish of the evening on our table, although I quite liked it.
Bone marrow marinara. The opposite situation. My companions loved this, while I found it a bit too sticky and claggy. Not because it was badly made, but just because I’m not really into bone marrow.
Pasta with herring cream and timut pepper.
Spaghetti with black olives and eucalyptus. Both pasta dishes were gorgeous.
Lamb kidneys with citrus fruit. Again, I liked this more than my friends did. Although I could see their point too, as it was a rich and unusual combination.
White melon and pistachio granita, to cleanse the palate.
Black Forest dessert. The red tree on the right is edible, not just the design on the plate.
Very impressive. Senigallia as a town doesn’t have much else to attract us back for a return visit, but if we’re ever in the area again I’d go out of my way to go back to Uliassi.