Restaurant review

Mimesi — Restaurant review | Conde Nast Traveler

What were your first impressions when you arrived? Located in the old basement kitchens of the 19th-century palace that is now the Dimora Palanca Hotel (a huge stove under the original fireplace hood reminds us of where we are), Mimesi is quiet, cool elegance . Jazzy retro sounds set the mood with soft gray-green paint and subtle lighting while simple, heavy white linen tablecloths — emphasizing what’s on the plate — speak of serious upscale dining. There is also a lovely courtyard garden for summer dining.
How is the crowd? With only 20 covers, the vibe is very relaxed but quite hushed, so it’ll never be one of those places that can’t talk about noise. Other diners are likely hotel guests or serious foodies who come for a different dining experience. The conversational level is fairly low-key, punctuated by exclamations of “Oooh, that’s good” and “What is that?” and “Wow!”
What should we drink? You can start the evening with a cocktail at the upstairs bar or in the garden, weather permitting. Once seated in the restaurant, the wine list is presented in a huge leather-bound book; there are labels from all over Italy, France and beyond with a surprisingly fair (for this level of restaurant) selection of labels under €30. But if money is no object, you can have fun here. Food and wine pairings are offered for each formula (from €48); the wines chosen by the sommelier for the 5 course “Super Io” menu were interesting and unusual and perfect pairings.
Main event: food. Give us the details, especially what not to miss. The three tasting menus by young Roman chef Giovanni Cerroni (from €95) give pride of place to vegetables; fish and meat take second place, appearing almost as an afterthought. Ingredients are seasonal, organic and 90% local, and there is an overriding no-waste philosophy. From the exquisite, diminutive amuse-bouche to the finishing touch of dessert and petit fours, dinner is full of surprises – vibrant colors, amazing flavor combinations, technical magic – and deeply satisfying bites of food. On a recent visit, highlights included: a fried breaded quail egg on a layer of remoulade sauce; a Lilliputian croissant topped with horseradish cream and salmon roe; cauliflower roasted in a pool of almond milk and buttermilk foam; tiny cappelletti stuffed with Jerusalem artichokes in a sauce that smelled of lemon; an almost meaty cardoncelli mushroom with swirls of electric green lovage and parsley root oil and mushroom reduction; and a cored pear, stewed and served in its intense juice with tangy yoghurt and buttermilk ice cream.
And how did the people in the room treat you? A well-oiled operation (although things could have gone a little faster), the service is pleasant but smooth, professional and efficient.
What is the real-true why we come here? This is a place for special treatment; a birthday or anniversary perhaps, and for someone who enjoys unusual gourmet cuisine. But a table of four or six friends who really like their food would work well too.


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