We arrived at this restaurant thanks to the advice of a friend, and despite being located on the outskirts of Pontinia, the Essenza restaurant remains a good reason to come here.
Having come in the middle of summer, we decided to sit outside, where the environment is quite informal, but certainly meticulous and refined.
The gastronomic choice of Essenza
The possibilities that you have, in addition to an à la carte menu, are 3 tasting menus. Whatever your choice, prices are really affordable considering the quality of food and service.
“Avvicinandosi” is a three-course tasting menu, recommended for those who want to get to know the cuisine of this restaurant, for only € 35 with a combination of two glasses of wine, adding only € 10.
“Visioni e prospettive” is a full 5-course menu at € 45, with a combination of three glasses of wine adding € 15, to better enjoy the chef’s creativity.
“Radici nel Cemento” is a complete tasting menu with 8 courses at € 60, with a combination of 5 glasses of wine adding € 30, to understand the true essence of this kitchen.
Essenza and details
Details that I think make the difference between those who do this job just to do it, and those who do it with so much passion, we have noticed several.
Let’s start from the wooden bag-holder that you will find next to each table, really original idea, maybe someone will not even understand what it’s for, but surely it’s a detail that makes you understand the “essence” of customer care you have in this place.
As well as the very nice cutlery rests that you will find on the table, really refined and particular, you understand from these little details that here nothing is left to chance.
The service was really impeccable, with a wide explanation of the proposed dishes and wines paired.
Competence and passion are two important elements in this job, and here we have found them both.
Another certainly pleasant note, was to meet this young and talented chef at the end of the evening, a simple gesture that does not make you go away in anonymity.
Every customer here is important, followed, cared for and pampered… do not just expect a dinner, but a very pleasant experience.
The Essence of tasting
Our tasting began with welcome snacks, sipping some delicious Franciacorta Cintus…
My advice is to start with the tuna tartlet, then the arepa and the fish croquette.
Leave at the end the panzerotto with meat ragout and especially the turmeric macaron with chicken livers.
The last of the appetizers was the caramelized onion with saffron with potato and Parmesan…
Accordingly that I am not an onion lover, the combination of flavors of this dish was absolutely perfect.
At this point we have been given the opportunity to choose an oil among a selection of 5 products, to be accompanied with the selection of bread of the house. We have remained faithful to the territory…
The first starter presented was the rock, marine fantasies. I leave you to judge by the photo…
The black ink sponge, mussels, sea asparagus, red shrimp, a marriage of flavors at every bite.
The second starter was an avocado roll with guacamole sauce, raw red prawns and bread sorbet with butter and anchovies…
All this while sipping another delicious wine, “animale celeste” from the Antonucci winery.
The following course was one of the signature dish of Chef Simone Nardoni, the panzanella…
The roasted squid, the pepper sorbet, the melted burrata, make this dish definitely unique in its kind.
Then it was time to go to a pasta course: the “eliche” creamed with red shrimp, calamari and truffle…
Definitely a more decisive and incisive flavor than the previous courses, it was a slow and growing path of flavors, which went to end with the last course, the meatball…
A very strong flavor, accompanied by chickpeas ragout and a light cocoa dusting.
The “essence” of the final
In the tasting menu we would have expected a dessert, instead the meal ended with a very pleasant “reset”, cherries in syrup with lime juice and carcadè…
So we decided to order a dessert, 100% hazelnut…
This was definitely the best way to end a truly satisfying culinary experience.
Accordingly I love hazelnuts, the contrast of warm and cold, soft and crunchy, hazelnuts and chocolate that this dessert expresses, it’s really something to try.
And at that moment we were still unaware of the final “cuddles” that awaited us with coffee…
Essence of “Essenza”
Overall it was a very pleasant culinary experience, discovering the creativity of this young chef class ’87.
The service was really impeccable, the result of so much passion and in my opinion also of so much humility, but awareness of its own knowledge and capacity.
Definitely at the same level of many starred restaurants in which I have been… congratulations!