As always, I bow before the Goddess of Serendipity.
Yesterday, as we drove along the beach, looking for a place to stop, Jody caught inspiration from the Goddess, and directed us to Il Sargahino for lunch. Warning: the pictures on their website do not do it justice!
We stumble up from the beach, sort of scraggly and not expecting much. The restaurant has a nice beach terrace, tables, pretty, soothing colors inside. Our first comment is that prices are a bit more expensive than over at Portonovo. We order and the surprises begin.
The waiter brings over two covered breadbaskets and unveils a basket of warm white rocks. Only each basket holds two small baked potatoes that are smooth and crusted white, just like the stones. We ask again, just to be sure we understood and that we are not cracking our teeth on rocks and facing the prospect of a beachside Italian dentist, “We bite this? Eat it?” The waiter smiles and assures us, we bite and a delicate but crisp shell gives way to a warm, soft potato that gets dipped into a creamy mustard mayonnaise. We’ve eaten them before we realize that we need to grab our cameras.
A bread tray arrives filled with various sizes, shapes and textures. I’m all atwitter…is that a word? What have we stumbled onto? Turns out that Il Saraghino belongs to the “Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe” group, a prestigious group of restaurants that are taking chances with food and having fun doing it. Take a look at their website, or at least at the banner at the top of the web page, looks like Barbie the Doll now gets to go to restaurants. That is one scary photo!
Back to lunch; the amuse amuses: a smiling face of marinated anchovy with perhaps a little fringe of purple yam, and eyes limpid with peperoncini oil.
The appetizers are a tuna and tuna roe tartare, and a little roasted fish salad layered on top of a creamy potato and leek mash. The plates are beautifully and whimsically arranged, the flavors meld and tease. Exactly what a ‘starter’ should do, tease the appetite to want more.
We’ve all ordered pastas: black sepia linguini with zucchini flowers, shrimp ravioli, tagliatelle in fish soup sauce with fave beans and oh woe is me, I’ve forgotten what Tom ordered. Every plate was delicious, with clean, distinct flavors.
We shared a dessert of strawberry coulis, strawberry cream and strawberry in some other manifestation. By this time, no one was waiting and everyone got a fingertip full of goodness. A most interesting side note was the candied pink peppercorns; they added a sweet floral accent with a little pepper heat. An inspired flavor combination!
While the food is innovative, it’s not crazy combinations, or looking to startle. This is beautifully created and executed food, with a sound footing in tradition but not afraid to fly.
I light yet another candle at the altar of Serendipity.
Via Litoranea, 209
Lungomare di Levante
60026 Marcelli di Numana (AN)
Tel: 071 7391596