Right on cue, the rain poured down in torrents as my husband and I parked the car in Testaccio. We were not prepared for it as the morning had been sunny and beautiful. Looking up, there was a big mass of an angry black cloud looming on top of us. This will take a while so I settled comfortably in the car and prepared to speak about the rione or district of Testaccio known as the old slaughterhouse of Rome. Interestingly, the Testaccio Hill is also known as Monte dei Cocci because it is artificially made with a mountainous pile of broken clay vessels or amphorae because during the Roman times, it was an important venue of trading in the Tiber River. Whereas in modern age, it was a working class neighborhood that gave in to gentrification and became the hip and dynamic area for mushrooming chic restaurants and bars. In summer, you live it outdoors and enjoy the vibrant music scene while sipping on drinks.
The rain finally gave in to the sun and we stepped out on the cobblestone road. We headed towards the far end of Testaccio to Stazione di Posta Restaurant. It was practically away from the main hub of the area and it is located in the 19th-century building of the Città dell'Altra Economia. There is a big open space in front of the restaurant where tables and chairs are available for outside seating on warm days. Then around the glass and steel restaurant itself there are bar stools too. Stazione di Posta is also a known place for cocktails.
Inside, the contemporary decors complement the steel and glass structure of the restaurant. where strategically placed old items give accent to its modern look. It was interesting enough to go around the main dining area and look at the curious mixture of armchairs and stools.
|Photos above from Stazione di Posta|
We were walked to our table and we browsed the menu. It was minimalist. There are just a few entries for all courses without so much words to describe them. Trusting that Chef Marco Martini has just earned his first Michelin star (the youngest in Italy) and is one of Italy's emerging chefs, I trust that his choice of little words would make it big on my plates. And my journey begins.
There were a few amuse-bouche that were little creations of art like the ones in the eggshells and served in a nest, test tubes that you need to drink from and little cones supported in wire nets. I observed how every single item arriving to the other tables brought smiles to the other diners just like us. The food is not only delicious but so much fun too with the quirky presentations and just the right quantity. You see, when the chef is good, I like to eat my way through from the appetizer to the dessert without feeling excessively full.
When my spuntature (spareribs) with pillow-soft potato croquettes and barbecue sauce arrived, I was advised by the waiter to eat them with my hands which I did. Delicious. For the primo, I ordered the ravioli al vapore (steamed) with chicken and potato broth. I was curious and I was also yearning for something Asian. The waiter arrived with the hot broth in a teapot that he poured in the bowl of the waiting steamed ravioli. It was exquisite and with an embarrassing speed, I finished everything before my husband even arrived to half of his rigatone mari e monti (sea and mountain).
The maialino (young pork) with creamed apples and potatoes and some mustard on the side was exceptionally tender. It was baked for ten hours in low temperature then cooked again in a saucepan to get the right crunchiness of the outside part. Big work on the chef's side with simple and incredible result.
When you start well, you also end it well. I ordered the smoked dark chocolate with cream of extra virgin olive oil. It was lightly bitter just like how I wanted it to be with the surprising touch of smoky flavor. The cream of extra virgin olive oil had a very delicate flavor. My husband's ricotta, pear and chocolate was a beautiful presentation of the three ingredients scattered about on the plate.
The dessert was not enough because out came a bonsai tree with meringue candies dangling from it along with a vase of jelly bean candies with marshmallows and chocolate pop skewers placed in between them. Didn't I tell you that it was fun? Even the elderly man next table couldn't resist a smile and taking a photo with his phone when his bonsai tree and jelly bean vase arrived. The kids in all of us were amused.
Chef Marco Martini has an evocative kitchen, creating strong images and powerful flavors with his dishes using high-quality ingredients and innovative style of cooking. His representation of Italian cuisine has contemporary twists that makes dining a beautiful kind of experience.
Largo Dino Frisullo (Testaccio), Roma
Tel: +39 065743548
Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays (open for lunch and dinner)
Tuesdays (lunch only)