This week’s date night brought us to “Roma”. It wasn’t planned, but we were glad to have stumble upon this gem. With a “hangry” (when hunger makes you angry) partner and the inability to find our intended location, a chance visit turned into a delicious dinner.
However judging the restaurant by its plain exterior and limited menu I wasn’t expecting too much. Like the music, the vibe of the place was very mellow. Slow beats and a calm pace, with soft spoken staff to match. Though with their white cloth napkins and their heavy set cutlery it did give the restaurant an air of formality.
Originally a few of the staff were not too keen on us claiming a four top table for two right before their dinner rush. Though they soon relented when my partner mentioned wanting to be close to me, and we agreed to move so should the restaurant get busy, and the extra seating was needed. Though we eat quick and it never came to that. We sat with a view of the kitchen before us. Each time the oven door open so did my mouth. Pizza after pizza rounded with a thick bubbly crust. I was similarly impressed by the sight of the chefs picking basil leaves of stems. I knew what we would be getting.
We were seated just in time for the afternoon special. Any pizza and beer for $17, though it required us ordering it in the next two minutes. And given that we were in chartered waters, neither having had heard of the place prior to, we agreed to stick to the basics. Besides the deal was only best when choosing an more elaborate pizza. Like the priciest: the “diavola” with sausage, tomato, chili, green olives, oregano, and provolone. This would have given you the most bang for your buck. Whereas with what we wanted, ordering the basic pizza with a pint of beer separately would have cost us less than the combo special.
As I mentioned earlier, the regular menu was limited, however it was quite adventurous with its use of unsure ingredients. Octopus sausage, smoked salmon, mascarpone, and cured pork belly on pasta. And the option to add egg, peppadew peppers or anchovy on top of any pizza. There were also lots of vegetarian and gluten free options to accommodates those with dietary preferences and requirements. And if you come with a group of four or more there is a family style sharing menu available at $35 per person.
Once again, we went with the simplest options, classic Italian flavours prepared fresh and light. The “Spaghetti carbonara” had a rich sauce over its dense pasta. The sauce had a tinge of spice, that went well over the chewy noodle. The only thing missing was a side of garlic bread, something to sop up extra sauce and to break up the flavour now an again.
All pizzas are made from scratch. After you order, the dough is shaped and the pie is topped accordingly.bWe had the “Margherita pizza” made with fior di latte mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil. The crust had a nice crisp texture with a woodsy char. The cheese was stringy, lengths were pulled from slice to mouth. The sauce was a luscious tomato, more paste than sauce. It had a similar taste to the pasta, both must have used similar spices.
I was impressed by our intuitive server, she instinctively offered us a take out box and the dessert menu. Even though unannounced to her, we already had our heart set on the dessert special of the day. Though the coconut panna cotta and the dark chocolate brownie with cherries were tempting.
The dessert special of the day was a “cherry vanilla soft serve ice cream”. Its presentation was not the least bit expected, but it was one that I found novel. A very cozy look, reminiscent of childhood. Paper cups and wooden scoops. The taste of wood with my smooth ice cream was a fond childhood memory for me. I made for the perfect to go cup. The ice cream itself was made in house, and it tasted like a fresh batch. It was easy to scoop and even easier to go down. Like a subdued cherry cheese cake, not quite vanilla and not quite cherry.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Looking around and eavesdropping, this seemed like the neighbourhood’s favourite place to go. We over heard conversations and repeat customers raving over the food. A few many more came through the revolving doors for take out. The service was standard, the setting was comfortable, and the food good enough for a return trip. I wouldn’t mind having more of what we had today or something more adventurous. Don’t deny your cravings.