I think it’s fair to say that I would happily have eaten pizza for the whole four days I recently spent in Naples. And yet one evening we tried a local Michelin-starred restaurant called Palazzo Petrucci, just for the sake of variety. There’s also a two star in Naples but it’s farther out of town and we wanted to stay more central. It’s located right in the centre of the old part of town, in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. The white building at bottom right is Petrucci Pizzeria, but the place we wanted was hidden in the corner. See the white rectangle just to the right of the base of the obelisk?
I’ll zoom in a bit:
Once through this discreet entrance you find yourself in one simple, high-ceilinged room. Off to the left is a stairway leading up to the kitchen, which can be seen through that window at the top. To be honest I found the décor a little uninspiring: stark and uncomfortable, in spite of the use of warm colours. But the friendliness and competence of the staff compensated.
We chose a tasting menu, but first came an amuse-bouche of salmon, octopus, salad and pepper sauce. There was another ingredient but in the notes I took on my phone auto-correct changed it to “gremlins” and now I can’t remember what it actually was.
The first proper course was a kind of “stracotto” pork croquette, on top of a thin slice of lobster, with truffle “caviar”, rice chips and cabbage. The wine was Vermentino. “Stracotto” literally means “overcooked”, or cooked until it’s falling apart. The croquette was nice but it felt a little out of place next to the other, more delicate and subtly-flavoured elements.
The soup course. I probably wouldn’t have chosen a cold lemon soup if I were going à la carte, but that would have been my loss because it was lovely. On top, julienne of squid, star anise, and bread cubes coloured with squid ink. And accompanied by a lovely glass of Sancerre.
After the soup comes the pasta. Spaghettone, anchovies, seaweed crumble, and a glass of Vallicelli.
The service was moving quite fast. Almost too fast. I don’t like too long a pause between courses, but here they were almost bringing us the next course before we’d finished the previous one, which made us feel a little rushed. In fact I decided to blame this rushed feeling for the fact that I forgot to take a photo of the main course, which was lamb with mint, apricot, and pecorino. The wine was a slightly weird and bitter unfiltered Bourgogne.
Now we moved to dessert, and were given a glass of not too sweet Passita from the nearby island of Ischia. This accompanied a yoghurt mouse with coffee.
Caramel mousse and a passion fruit crunchy ball with a liquid centre. Top marks for the caramel dribbles around the outside.
The inevitable petits fours.
All very pleasant, and recommended if you want at least one meal in Naples that isn’t circular and doughy.