Centro a name and place to remember
A new beacon for quality gastronomy in Rome has opened on via Cavour 61, not far from the Termini train station and St. Mary Major cathedral. Centro is the brainchild of its four young partners - Manuel Hassan, Amos Halfon, Daniele Camerini and Giulio Glam – who are all lovers of fine food and good cooking and who benefit from the collaboration of Chef Arcangelo Dandini and his undisputed Roman character and elegance.
Their idea was to offer a genuine and refined cuisine, made with quality ingredients and impeccably prepared in the kitchen and professionally served at the table, in an area where the restaurants are for the most part geared for tourists. “We are extremely satisfied with how things have worked out, in particular with the contribution of Archangelo Dandini, who added to the project his great professionalism and passion as well as well-defined gastronomic identity and gourmet profile to the food,” Manuel Hassan said.
Centro has a retro atmosphere and décor with some original and modern details as well as recycled objects. It is open all day from 8am to midnight and while it has an international imprint, there is no lack of traditional Roman and Italian dishes. The menu is rich and varied and can meet the whims of any moment in the day, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, as well as happy hour aperitifs with classic and innovative drinks expertly prepared by bartender Roberta Martino with Diego Rampietti serving as consultant. The menus of the day is great and made using seasonal ingredients and all this is offered together with a list of over 100 domestic and imported wines as well as 60 types of distilled spirits from all over the world.
The excellent prime ingredients are worked with expertise and skill in the open kitchen by the young executive chef Biaggio Minafra, a Puglia native with a very respectful curriculum vitae, and his team. The style is both modern and delicate in which substance and innovation come together. Even younger is pastry chef Marco Nuzzo, who grew up working in his family’s restaurant in Lecce and then gained experience in important restaurants in Rome. His wonderful desserts have an unexpected balance and he reinterprets classic creations with great respect with the aim of “harmonizing French and Italian pastry making”. The products used to make the various dishes are displayed on shelves around the restaurant and can be purchased by those who have eaten and appreciated the food.
The inauguration took place in a friendly atmosphere with extreme attention paid to detail both in the kitchen and the dining room.
We were welcomed with cocktails perfectly prepared at the bar at the entrance. I personally liked the Coppa Cynar with the Italian artichoke bitter liqueur mixed with Cortese citron juice, lime and mint. At the same time, a host of cheerful young people offered us fried “cacio e ova” (cheese and egg) zucchini flowers and small pork and caramelized onion sandwiches from large platters circulating around the room.
For dinner Biagio offered dishes that were a cross between tradition and innovation that were prepared under Archangelo’s supervision. They began with a mash of tomato with Andria burrata cheese and cod carpaccio, then roasted octopus with a salad of spinach, raisins and pine nuts. The half Verrigni pacchero macharoni with cod, potato cream and confit tomatoes impressed with its wrapping flavors. For second course there was a very soft beef jowl on purée of potatoes and bean sprouts.
The right wines were paired with each dish, from the fresh Treviso DOC Domus Picta Extra Dry, to the Grillo and Viogner Tenute Tresa and the Morellino di Scansano Le Pupille.