You have to ring the bell first. Spending those minutes in-between somewhat anxiously for someone to answer the door, you begin to wonder if this is a little Bolognese secret society you got yourself into. The door opens suddenly to a full and hearty house. We walk in sheepishly hoping we will be taken in without a reservation. But Pasquale Barile welcomes us with his warm and charming smile and finds us a spot in the back area where there's more space. Phew.
As we begin to expectantly scan the menu for vegetarian options, the couple seated at the table next to ours asks us if we’re here for the first time. The lady (or, our new friend) recommends we try the appetizer taster menu. Oh, and there’s also a main course taster menu AND a dessert taster menu.
K and I aren't too sure of such an elaborate ritual of appetizers, but we are ready. With Pasquale taking our order, the plates start to parade in, and then keep on coming... it is like the never-ending thali you are fed at your best friend's Indian wedding. I tell you, Italians and Indians, I can't put a finger on it, but our food-ward sentiments seem to be so similar.
Several plates later, not a sign of pasta- just outstanding slices, beds and bites of heaven that I’ve never ever ever known as Italian cuisine. An exquisite red pepper souffle, the freshest ricotta topped with a dash of sublime marmalade, a delicious salad, pumpkin souffle, parmiggiani and then some…
I'm going to be honest and say I can't seem to judge the service or the food exclusive of each other at Osteria Broccaindosso. But isn't the experience of eating out an amalgam of it all anyway? Osteria Brocassia has not one charming leading man, but two elderly men- and you could say it may have rubbed on the younger staff too. There is a certain old-fashioned hospitality and dedication that you simply cannot be blind to. And as they juggle roles in the busy hustle of the Osteria, the dedication to their craft is so apparent- it is food with a lot of heart and vice versa.
Did I mention, we went back the next evening too? The menu was too exciting and promising not to! When it was time for dessert, I realized my appetite wasn't as gargantuan as I'd imagined. So I asked Gianni for a small portion of his favourites. He came back and in Italian, told me of his chestnut souffle that I somehow understood and a lovely cake that I unfortunately didn't catch the name of. Unlike Pasquale, he hardly spoke English, but his shy smile when I reacted in delight, said it all! I think you know which of the two in the picture he is.
After such a banquet, we had to carry ourselves home- and I hope we get to do it again soon!