Pipero Al Rex, Rome Review

  • Restaurant: Pipero Al Rex
  • Patron & Sommelier: Alessandro Pipero
  • Chef: Luciano Monosilio
  • Location: Rome, Italy (Via Torino)
  • Cost: 300 Euro for 2 – tasting menu, wine flights & service
  • Jelly Good Food Rating: 9.4/10

It took a trip to Rome to for Jellygoodfood to reawaken.

I’m writing this from a rooftop bar in Palermo, Sicily, still thinking about the meal that was so good it made me want to write about it and tell the whole world to go to Rome and eat at Pipero Al Rex.

About a week before out trip, J and I played scrabble, with forfeits. J lost, which is only the second time this has happened in the 5 years we have known each other. I decided that his forfeit for losing the game would be to organise a surprise date for us.

J delivered, booking the Michelin starred Pipero Al Rex for our first evening in Rome.
From the moment we walked in, Pipero felt like a real labour of love. Even though the restaurant has been opened since 2011, as a customer, you get the impression it was only opened yesterday and the patron Alessandro Pipero and his staff are trying to do their damnest to impress you.

 

The restaurant itself is perfectly conceived – minimalist design respectful of vintage features of the original reception room where it is located. Spotlights help to create a whimsical atmosphere like something magical could happen at any moment. That same lighting however, does also create a photography challenge for Jelly.

We opted for the blind tasting menu with matching wines, of course.  Here is  what appeared at our table:

Jamon Pata Negra from Spain with a drop of Balsamic
Pork Chip with mayonnaise and yogurt oil, a deconstructed olive and little spicy balls of cured pork.
House breads including lemon focaccia
Wafflettes with chicken livers and gel Moscato
Cuttlefish with wasabi and peashoots
Mussels with Tripe in an emulsion with cauliflower granita
Spinach Pasta, very al dente with egg cream
Custard Eggs with Lapsang souchongpowder
Sweet pork
Melon soaked in red wine
White Chocolate mousse with crumble
Petit fours
We found all the dishes to be curious and tasty. We loved the egg dish as well as the vibrant spinach pasta. The pork, sweet and juicy seems to have been cooked in a water bath and was an easy star of the show.

The only gentle question mark for us appeared over one of the primi plates. Despite being generally omnivorous, Jelly admits to have found ourselves challenged by the mussels and tripe creation.

Acknowledging the recent nose-to-tail trend in modern dining, we have made numerous prior attempts to get on board with tripe and yet we still cannot bring ourselves to appreciate this particular ingredient. In Pipero’s dish however, the tripe had been washed and flavoured to within an inch if its life making it palatable amongst the other pieces in the plate. The wobbly texture of the tripe however, remained as reminder of our gastronomic valor.

A special mention for the vini…

Perhaps not surprisingly, granted that the restaurant is named after its sommelier, the wine paired with our food was phenomenal. We went crazy for Soandre Venice, which was severed to accompany the first course, after the sparkling aperitif.
The Brownish pink, potent, non-acidic, not-too-floral wine  turned out to be the Bosco del Merlo ‘Soandre’ Verduzzo delle Venezie IGT. To Jelly’s great sadness it is not exported outside of Italy.
The mix of whites and reds that followed the Soandre, firmly instilled our faith in the wines of Italy from all regions, leaving us hypothesising why so many of these beauties are not exported and are instead hoarded here for lucky, greedy Italians.

Jellygoodfood bottom line:
Pipero Al Rex is elegant and inventive but firmly rooted in Italian traditions.  Fantastic place for an evening of culinary exploration and highly recommended.  This was the best meal of our 8 day journey through Italy, despite having visited an additional 3 restaurants holding michelin stars.

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