My neighborhood is changing. I am not saying anything new here, Monti sits in-between the Colosseum and the Forums of Trajan and Augustus so it is a place that has weathered the vagaries of time. Here in modern day Rome some of that change is not so great, like the shuttering of the only butcher shop and the sad market situation, but much of the change is welcome, like a fantastic take out pasta shop and an excellent place to meet for cocktails.
Madre is at the edge of the neighborhood in a space that used to be a Dominican convent and will be recognized by fans of the operatic film La Grande Bellezza. Now the once spartan space has been transformed into a lush colorful place that is perfect for early drinks, lunch and after diner drinks.
I have done all three.
When I was invited for lunch we sat on bright green banquets and sipped flutes of franciacorte while we studied the menu and met the chef. We decided it was much easier to just let him decide what to send out for the kitchen and we grazed on zingy ceviche, deep fried bead sticks that we dipped in amatriciana and cacio e pepe sauce, a pizza topped with straciatella (think burrata only creamier), salty anchovies and thin tart slices of lemon (this is now the only pizza I want to eat), we grilled red prawns on a hot plate of Himalayan salt and tried a tender sous vide veal that was finished on a tiny table top grill. For dessert there were deep fried sugar dusted churros with a rich chocolate sauce to dip and an inventive twist of tiramisu named terremisu that was served in a garden pot and a spoon shaped like a garden spade.
Early in the evening or late into the night, the cocktails here are great. I keep coming back to the original take on the negroni that swaps out gin for a smokey metzcal. I also love the Madre sour with a Kandinsky like drizzle of oregano and cilantro syrup on top that compliments the pisco and citrus.
Do you have guests coming to visit Rome? There is even a hotel attached. We got to peek into a few of the guest rooms after lunch the other day. They all have great views and rich jewel toned furnishings and my favorite thing, those dinner plate sized shower heads.
Roma Luxus Hotel
Largo Angelicum 1A