Viale Trastevere, 53-56
Dinner on Oct 7, 2004
Gastronomic wise, today is not a blessing day for me. I caught cold and am having a serious running nose so that my eating ability was hampered. My appetite is not as ravenous as it should be. To worsen the situation, the dishes I ordered were somehow off the note. My experience in Al Marmi was a good example.
The USA Today says it is one of the best pizzeria in Rome and it was nicknamed the “Morque” by the Roman, not a flattery name for eatery considering it means a place where you put dead bodies in before they are sent to the cemetery. But why is it so named? Because this place has a morbid decor, so plain and minimal that it resembles a morque. Of course everyone want to dine in eateries with fancy décor. But most likely the cost spent on décor is shift back to the clientele so that we end up paid more for the food. It is evident that is not the case for Al Marmi. You could tell without any question that the owner have had hardly spent a dime on the décor. Instead, all the costs are spent inside the kitchen. For gourmets, we always take that as good news.
The starter I ordered was the carpaccio di provola affumicata con aceto balsamico (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?), which literally means thin slices of provolone cheese with balsamic vinegar. However, the lack of attention to details that was so commonly seen in Rome eateries shown up again: it was presented after the pizza. Mama mia, that was the sure-fire way to manslaughter the two good food by presenting in a wrong order. I mean, how can you flip-flop with presenting order of the starter and the main course? It always feels bizarre for the palate to eat a cold starter after a steaming hot main course. I didn't say I was in hurry or something, did I? So why not you people just wait a bit.
In this way, I had no option but to go with the colzone, pizza bag filled with cheese, ham and eggs, first. This was really a hard-to-eat pizza. I didn't mean it tasted bad or something. Just that it was very hard to handle with. Once you slice the colzone with the knife, the eggs and cheese would spill all out and hence making the colzone soaked. The sad fact is, once its fillings are spilled out, the colzone get cold very fast and the flavors, the textures of it would turn insipid, which was exactly what happened to mine. I must ask some real Roman some day is there any trick for them to eat this kinds of pizza.
Next came my starter. The thinly sliced provolone cheese with balsamic vinegar. Apart from the vinegar, it was also sprinkled with some cubed tomatoes too. However, I didn't think I was rewarded for the adventure I endeavored in ordering this lesser-seen cuisine. The dish didn't taste too brilliant. The cheese tasted somehow like mozzarella. Yet, it was too light and didn't deliver any sizzle as I bite it. All I could remember was the acid note of the vinegar.
For dessert, the dolce I ordered was the panna cotta. Disappointment again. It was good but not great. It gave me the impression that this dessert was not house-made but was package food.
Today is simply elegiac for me as a gourmet…