Last Christmas between Tokyo and Shanghai we had three weeks in Sri Lanka. I can’t tell you how much we were looking forward to it. A much needed holiday, we had a lot invested in it both in terms of dollars and expectations. In fact, it was these expectations and the huge amount of research I had done which was to be our downfall. We don’t really have any fond memories of the holiday for a variety of reasons – apart from spending quality time together. And to be honest every time Rich got an email about the wonderful skiing conditions back in Japan he was resenting the quality time a little more each day!
I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago reading Jas’ post about Faraway Lands and Perfect Moments after we got back from Sicily. This time we stayed in one place, relaxed and apart from having a few ideas about where to eat around the area there was virtually no planning. Richard’s Mum was joining us for the first week and I was designated driver for the whole trip – no one wanted to spend hours in the car so everything had to be within a one hour drive. And guess what? There were more perfect moments in 12 days than in the whole time in Sri Lanka.
Sakalleo had rated a posting on a blog I came across but that was all I had to tell Rich & his Mum – there was apparently good seafood to be had about 30 minutes drive away where there was no menu, you get what you’re given so why don’t we head over and see what’s going on. What followed what beyond our expectations and imaginations.
We missed the ‘menu’ on the way in so when we sat down and were asked ‘antipasti?’ we shrugged and said yes. Then we were asked ‘crudo?’ and we shrugged and nodded again. And then I said I think we’re about to get raw fish. And did we ever.
Plate after plate after plate kept arriving and we now know we were having the Degustazione di Antipasti. There was tuna ‘salami’, raw langoustines and two different types of prawns. One plate had bright red heads and the flesh was sweet and these were my favourites. I wasn’t that keen on the langoustines to Richards delight.
There was smoked cod served with the local Ragusa cheese which was very similar to pecorino but salter. A huge plate of anchovies arrived and I had Richard’s share. We all marvelled at how simple everything was – a squeeze of lemon, a dousing with olive oil and a sprinkle of parsley and the that was it. I was reminded again that great produce doesn’t need messing around with.
The portions were generous and we were holding onto empty plates to wipe the last smidgen of oil off with semolina bread. We were heading to about 70% full at this point.
And then the cooked antipasti arrived. A platter of mussels, a calamari fish cake each, octopus, a plate of pan fried calamari and a plate of sprats lightly dusted with flour and panfried and served with vinegar soused onion. A plate of local tuna chargrilled to perfection was proudly sliced at the table.
And it’s at this point I have to tell you that we went back two days later and as well as the tuna above we were served the tuna below. At first glance I thought it was a little strange seeing pomegranate seeds amongst the chopped tuna. Oh my. How wrong I was. There were probably only 10 seeds in the bowl but when you bit into one with the tuna it was magic.
The staff were friendly and patient with us and the whole restaurant ran like clockwork. There are no surprises for the kitchen so it could be argued that it should run efficiently but by the same token we never felt rushed and plates would arrive one after another with good pauses between courses.
On both occasions we arrived early around 1pm and were the first ones there. An elderly/older gent walks around shaking hands with everyone in greeting – ourselves included and we surmised he must be the original owner although it seemed like his son was now running the show. The place was packed full of locals and it was obvious most were repeat customers.
Somewhere around the mussels we were asked if we wanted pasta and in our delirium and excitment we shrugged, nodded and left it at that. We knew we were going to get vongole as a pasta dish as we had seen a table nearby get it so that was no surprise – although the portion size was and I’m not sure how we finished it off.
Until the second plate of pasta arrived – crab and tomato.
We were all feeling like the proverbial beached whale – and still eating. We had no idea what the cost of the meal was going to be but whatever it was we were Ok with it. Richard was saying it the best restaurant EVER and declaring he wanted to come back every day. I did mention that I was the designated driver did I?……
By the time we were asked if we wanted Secondo we had our wits about us and said no. So dessert arrived.
Of course it did.
Yep really. And somehow that included a bottle of wine too.
Bless. Not really.
We thought we had gotten wise and decided to order the antipasti and secondo. And this was the Secondo platter for us to share. Again a ridiculously generous platter.
And somehow with 2 bottles of wine the meal came to 50Euros each – and there was no sign of a wine charge on the bill which we questioned and we were told it was all included.
In the wash up:
What’s good: If you like seafood – everything. Avoid like the plague if not cos there’s nothing else coming out of that kitchen. Take a walk around the marina after you have eaten and try to walk off your food. Make a reservations or you won’t get in.
What’s not so good: Can’t fault it at all.
No English menu and not necessary. Say yes to everything until you can eat no more.
Address: Piazza Cavour 12, 97019 Scoglitti, Sicily
Telephone: 0932 871688