Restaurants & Bars 7

[Venice] Alle Testiere

Harters | Apr 5, 2012 10:42 AM

They pack about 20 covers into this tiny room, offering two sittings. One at the just too early time of 7pm and the other at the just too late time of 9. We went with the early one. Food is excellent with the chef fully appreciating that, when you’ve got good ingredients, the best thing is to do as little as possible to them before they get to the plate.

So, a plate of pilgrim scallops, or queenies as I’d usually know them, were served on the half-shell with no more than a scattering of chopped softened lemon and a few strands of mint. Absolutely bang-on for freshness. The other starter was also light and refreshing – salad leaves, some thinly sliced raw asparagus and a little pile of spider crab meat. Of course, with both plates being light, we scoffed the excellent bread like it was going out of fashion.

For mains, sea bass fillets were served “Mediterranean style” – topped with delicious salty olives and capers and drizzled with a little olive oil. Alongside, a grilled tomato and some boiled potatoes. This really was seafood cookery at its simple best.

Tuna was served properly cooked to medium rare instead of the fashionable “almost raw” and was all the better for it. There was a sauce, mainly reduced balsamic vinegar but, interestingly, spiked with juniper berries. On first bite, I wasn’t too sure about the berries – the resin-y taste didn’t seem quite right – but it was!

A accompanying order of mixed vegetables was excellent – carrot, courgette, wilted chard, aubergine, grilled radicchio

Desserts were also pretty good. A raspberry pannacotta was perfectly set and incorporated some small chunks of the fruit, which also appeared in the surrounding sauce. A slice of chocolate cake was excellent – both bitter and sweet, suggesting the use of a chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids. The only disappointment was the cream which looked and tasted as though it had been sprayed out of a can.

Excellent espresso to finish.

Service had been spot on throughout – but that’s almost a given in Italy.

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