“It is such a beautiful time to be in Venice” I say to Mysaucepan. “The carnevale is reason enough just to be here, let alone a spag bol I’m craving for.”
“Eat seafood when in Venice” she quips. “Your spag bol time will come when we get to Bologna in a few days.”
“In any case, I have booked a one-Michelin star restaurant right for lunch in the heart of Venice.”
Il Ridotto, Venice, ITALY
Since arriving in Venice, I have been fascinated by the artistry of Italy’s famous Murano glass.
The original factory dates back to 1291 and is located on one of a series of Murano islands located 1.5 kilometres north of the Venetian lagoon. The multitude of vases, sculptures, figurines, jewellery and accessories are all handmade so each individual piece is unique in its own right.
I ask the waiter for a wine recommendation and he proposes I try a 2010 Giuseppe Sedilesu Cannonau di Sardegna Ballu Tundu Riserva.
Unlike the nebbiolo, barolo and barbaresco wines of Piedmonte, amarone della valpolicella of Veneto or sangiovese from Tuscany, the cannonau is the equivalent of a grenache that thrives on the island of Sardinia.
With a bouquet of ripened dark fruit and a hint of pepper and spice, this wine is well balanced with subtle tannins and a teasingly long finish. As most Italian reds are made to be drunk with food, I am happy to drink this one on its own. It is beautiful and smooth like Monica Bellucci trailing a Brunello Cucinelli cashmere shawl as she retires into her bedroom. Bravo cameriere!!
A sliver of chicory is gently bitter though the subtle creaminess of celeriac puree is enhanced by the saltiness of anchovy.
Black spaghetti, sea urchin, candied peppers and leaf cabbage
The combination of squid ink spaghetti and sea urchin spells flavours from the sea.
I am not sure candied peppers with hints of sweetness are necessary at all though I assume a one-Michelin star would endeavour to distinguish its black spag from the ones in your local trattoria or ristorante.
I did wonder for a moment if it is Italian tradition to serve black pasta without sauce because this dish is seriously lacking a flavoursome liquid to bind everything together. Then again, I had squid ink pasta last night at another Venetian restaurant a few doors away for about 12 Euros. That particular black pasta was swimming in a delightfully rich seafood sauce and I liked that one better.
Fillet of suckling pig, puree of beans, raspberry sauce
Fillet of suckling pig is four medallions of pork on a bed of nutty beans puree drizzled with raspberry sauce.
I was looking forward to wafer thin crisps of pork rind a la Chinese style suckling pig but it was not to be.
I suppose the combination of bean puree and sweetness of raspberry sauce might be the equivalent of a Chinese hoisin that is usually paired with Chinese suckling pig since it is made from soybeans, sweet potato, sesame seeds and sugar.
This dish is passable though it left me craving Chinese suckling pig.
Roasted pilgrim scallops, carrots and smoked black tea
Mysaucepan is a scallop lover and will swim an ocean for a few of these morsels.
Four beautifully plump scallops are seared to golden brown while succulent and medium rare inside. Smoked black tea is aromatic with the sweetness of carrot puree.
Il Ridotto is an intimately small restaurant that presents Italian a little differently. Service is top notch as it should be.
Cover charge of Euro$4 per person applies.
Il Ridotto Restaurant
Castello 4509 – 30122 Venice
Campo SS. Filippo e Giacomo
Tel. +39 041 5208280
Fax +39 041 5234222
Info and Reservations: email@example.com
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12:00pm – 1.45pm Dinner: 6:45pm – 9.45pm
We suggest to make the reservation by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org