It’s a beautiful evening in Rome and the best table with a view of Rome’s spectacular Colosseum is situated on the top floor of Palazzo Manfredi, Aroma Restaurant. The restaurant isn’t just about the views, Chef Di Iorio’s uses the best local produce to tailor unique Italian culinary offerings. The wine cellar is quite something as well with over 600 different wines available for selection.
We are seated on the terrace next to the window with a stunning view of the Colosseum.
We start with a Champagne and are brought our canapes; Arancini, Cream Cheese Scroll and Cracker, Grissini and a Zucchini Flower Fritter.
The arancini is a contrast of crispness and the moist rice centre. The cream cheese scroll is a delight as it crumbles in the mouth with a grainy texture and glued by the softness of the cheese. The cracker and grissini are both crisp and perfect with the champagne. The zucchini flower fritter has a decadent burst of flavour in one bite.
For the wine, we opt for the Marchesi di Barolo ‘Barolo Coste di Rose’ (2016) Barolo DOCG for the evening.
It’s classic Barolo with a beautiful garnet red colour which glistens in the sun’s majestic rays. The aroma is quite intense with beautiful florals, aromatic herbs, aniseed and spices on the palate the plush fruit flavours with intense tannins make it a beautiful, luscious experience in the mouth. A beautiful wine with great structure and character for the evening.
A second round of canapes arrive; Cherry Tomato with buffalo mozzarella with Gazpacho Whipped with Panko Crumb.
The cherry tomato provides a burst of rich saline juiciness and is balanced by the creamy buffalo – a very traditional marriage made in heaven. The gazpacho is a fluffy dream with a textural contrast of the panko. It is a nice way to awaken the palate ahead of the first course.
Vanilla Beef Carpaccio, Sea Urchins and Peach
The treasure of the natural untampered produce – sometimes it’s best to let the produce speak with no culinary intervention at all. There are notes of vanilla and peach which pair nicely with the salinity of the beef and sea urchin and the emulsion. The soft “melt in your mouth” beef releases its natural flavours and a buttery flow on the palate.
Goat Cheese stuffed Sole, Lettuce and Figs
The flaky sole, soft goat cheese and crumbed outer texture is melded to the sweetness of the fig jam. The dish for its simplicity is difficult to execute, but the sole emerges perfectly cooked. The lettuce on the side with cream is a good balancing act to the dish.
Tomato Water Risotto, Neapolitan Taralli and Anchovies
This is a dish of delicate balance and flavour. It paid to cleanse the palate to truly appreciate it. The mild tomato water base of the risotto does battle with the creaminess of the risotto. The crumbles of Neapolitan taralli and seasoning add a lovely textural contrast to the dish and the salinity of the anchovies adds a punch but the dish still retains its mildness.
As we start the dish, the sun begins its escape over the horizon giving us a beautiful view over the Colosseum and the rest of the eternal city.
We have a selection of bread brought out midway through the proceedings. I always opt for the thin crispy bread to ensure I am able to complete the dinner.
Sour Butter Tagliolini, Sheep Tartare and Majoram Flowers
The dish has a myriad of flavours, its rich buttery, mild salinity, sour tart finish melded with the mild woody sweetness of the majoram. The dish is soft with the jelly like texture of the sheep tartare, the tagliolini (which is cooked perfectly) and the sauce are a harmonious melody.
Marinated Amberjack with ‘Ceviche Foam’ and Fermented Radish and Green Herb Paste
The amberjack is firm with its natural flavours on showcase, there is a tartness of the ceviche foam and the refreshing bite of the fermented radish with the strength of the herby flavours of paste.
Lamb Loin, Pistachio, Carrots and Buffalo Milk Yogurt with Pickled Carrot and Carrot Purée
This is the highlight of the night. The pistachio crust adds a lovely crunch which contrasts to the tender succulent lamb loin. The medley of carrots in different methods is quite an experience, the moist soft puree, the tartness of the pickle and the charred firmness of the roasted. The buffalo milk yogurt provides some balance to the strength of the lamb. All in a well-rounded dish.
Green Apple Sorbet, Chocolate Crumble and Pop Rocks
The strength of the lamb means a good pre-dessert palate cleanser is in order and the restaurant delivers. The sorbet of green apple and the pop rocks does it job, with a lovely mouth feel experience. We are now ready for dessert.
Sour Cherry Sorbet, and Ricotta Cheese, Meringue, Freeze-dried Raspberries
The dessert is considered a flagship of the restaurant with a stencil of the Colosseum opposite the terrace. The aesthetics are on point. The textures are right, with the crunch of the meringue, the lushness of the fruit, the cold ice of the sorbet and creaminess of the ricotta. On the taste perspective it exudes fruit, through the sorbet and the raspberries (of different styles) which is balanced by the ricotta. However, I would say some chocolate in the dish would be an ideal complement to the raspberries.
We are brought a range of petit fours; cherry chocolate cup, white chocolate pistachio, cookies & cream and mini custard puffs.
I enjoyed the canapes immensely as they were more my style compared to the dessert. The sweetness of all the petit fours were milder and more chocolate based than fruity. A delightful way to end the evening.
The risk with a restaurant of this nature in a tourist town like Rome is as the old adage goes “you’re paying for the view”. This is not the case at Aroma Restaurant. The view is amazing in its own right and one of the best views in all of Rome, but this is a dining experience which is world class in its own right.
The essential planks of a solid dining experience are here: local produce of quality, creativity, textural contrasts and variation across the dishes, an extensive wine list and the quality of the service. The menu is well thought through and there are a variety of fish, meat and vegetables used to give a well-rounded dining experience. It would be remiss of me not to mention the view, it is quite special to have a view of the eternal city in all its splendour with the beauty of the sunset accompanied by a wonderful dinner. It is an experience to remember.