We spent a lovely morning walking the ramparts –
Then the “great scavenger hunt” – Part 1: Find the Car. Part 2: Find one of the gates out of the city – we’re not choosy. It turns out that the #1 restaurant is out in the countryside.
We’re early. The Italians eat late. An interesting note – both here and in France we’re obviously tourists. We consistently arrive early and we consistently get the best seat in the house. No tourist arrogance.
Antica Locando di Sesto is charming and our waiter is an English speaking Hobbit we want to take home with us.
We open with a lovely split of Chardonnay. Italy makes some spectacular reds but (cheap) whites are risky choices (we’re not Pinot drinkers). This Chardonnay is terrific.
Our waiter suggests the House antipasti sample, plus some additions. Crostinis and fried things, some charcuterie, a mystery custard and beans + tuna roe. We are now definitely getting a commercial fryer at home. Could ingest these little nuggets in handfuls. We are very happy.
Charcuterie in Italy is consistently good – this is exceptional. All this talk about the Mediterranean Diet – as fa as we can determine, the Mediterranean Diet is based on Pork Fat (not that' there’s anything wrong with that)
The mystery custard disappears – spread on excellent breads. And beans are boring – WRONG – the beans and tuna rose are better than meat
It is a wonderful opening gambit by the restaurant. We are having much fun, have consumed the Chardonnay split and not even looked at the rest of the menu. A bottle of red is required. Frodo the waiter suggest a house wine. It is their wine. It is 10E a bottle. A look around confirms it is what everyone is drinking (the restaurant is now packed). The wine is very good – life is very good
We split a pasta with truffles. Is it better than yesterday’s we debate? – whatever, it is very good.
For a main Liz has a stew of wild board with bitter olives and a side of deep fried Polenta. What’s to be said? Rich, original flavours; deep, many textured….food as music. Tones and harmonies. Liz, the polenta disdainer – is converted
Dickie has a haunch of suckling pig – pork at its absolute finest. Can’t conceive how it could be improved
We order two contornis – artichoke and rapini. The artichoke is very good but at last some relief from the onslaught of culinary superiority…in all arrogance we believe we make better rapini.
A wonderful meal, much assisted by our wonderful waiter. While our gastronic adventure was fun, the theatre playing out around us was better than a Broadway play. The restaurant specializes in Tuscan steak sold by the gram. We didn’t order it but the next table did. The waiter brought their side of beef out for approval. Fred Flintstone would approve
Dickie followed it into the kitchen to see it cooked on a wood fired grill. Note the racks of hardwood
The meat is sliced at the table and served functionally raw. Note this fractional part of a cow was for 2 men!
The other piece of theatre is that Liz is one of 3 females in the packed room. The rest of the diners look like a casting call for the Sopranos. We’re trying to figure out which one is the Don.
We take no obvious photos – hat to have a Consiglieri stomp on the camera. A quick shot of the guest at the next table exposed a bum crack only a plumber or a hit man would be proud of. And a glance into the parking lot reveals a sea of BMWs and Audis
As we’re leaving Liz wants to buy a bottle of the lovely olive oil they have on the table (from their orchards). They give us two for the price of one
It’s been a triumph on all dimensions – food, service, environment, and maybe our fantasy about the nature of the “businessmen” surrounding us is true – but most probably the guy at the next table really is a plumber…who else can afford a BMW?
Thanks Sheila and Bruno (our lovely landlords in Paris) for recommending this lovely restaurant
Antica Locanda di Sesto
Via Lodovica 1660
55029 Sesto di Moriano - Lucca - Italy
Tel. +39 0583.578181
Lunch for two as described above - 100E