Situated under Garbatella Bridge, this is one of the nicest restaurants I have been to in the Garbetella San Paolo area. Such was my dismay at the general choice in the area that I came to this restaurant with low expectations.
These were exceeded from the moment I walked down the stairs leading to the entrance. This secluded restaurant was really quite a surprise.
You can’t see it, but the table stand is in the shape of a bunch of wheat. That was the first thing I noticed. This restaurant is far enough away from the big tourist attractions and has a delightful decor for such a small place.
My friends Livia and Marco arrived for dinner. We were three spritzes in before the starter arrived. I realised patience would be a necessary virtue at La Maisonette.
I ordered the Aqua Cotta Toscana, which was divine but didn’t photograph well on account of it being brown mushroom soup. One must remember not to judge a book by its cover, especially in cooking. Though, arguably, restaurants have a greater responsibility to present food in an appealing way.
Pictured is Livia’s Tartare de boeuf with barbecue sauce, Ravigote sauce, and sweet paprika. I’m not usually a fan of tartare but this one was a delight.
After an extraordinarily long time, the mains arrived. Thankfully we had ordered a bottle of wine, the only punctual part of the evening, so the wait wasn’t empty. My Larded pork neck, cornmeal mush creme and chanterelle mushrooms was cooked to perfection and superbly flavoursome. I had just eaten at Maccheroni for lunch so I wasn’t ready for mammoth portions. Thankfully these were, as Livia timelessly put it: “fashionably sized potions”.
Meanwhile, Marco ate the Mezze maniche Mancini with Mangalica cheek lard and Amatrice DOP pecorino. The look on his face told me he was thoroughly enjoying it.
The funny thing about La Maisonette is that the food tastes fantastic and is prepared carefully and lovingly, but I cannot comprehend why it takes so long to come to the table. There can’t be more than 50 seats in the whole place. We were one of three tables that evening. This is reminiscent of when I ate at the Naf Beach Hotel in Mtwara Tanzania: one hour to bring me a burger and some fries. I surmised that they then, as La Maisonette does now, went to find a cow to execute before preparing the burger. That’s the only logical deduction for how it takes so long to prepare a meal.
The final inconceivably long wait was somewhat justifiable. La Maisonette has run out of ingredients to make the lemon curd gateau you see before you. This was irritating but fully understandable, having taken one bite of it I knew instantly why it had been ordered by so many people.
Marco and I shared the ricotta and pear pie. Of all the dishes at La Maisonette, this one was the true capolavoro. I’m afraid it was eaten so voraciously that it did not survive for photos. You will have to wander the streets of Garbatella in bemused wonderment at the thought of what this pie could look like.
We ended the evening on a positive and optimally sweet note.
I recommend this restaurant to those living in the vicinity of Roma Tre University. If you’re tired of substandard nutrition at the campus “coffee” shop and its equally disappointing surrounding lunch places, go to La Maisonette.
Failing that, try Ilios; Pappafó or Le Storie.
You can also find La Maisonette Ristrot on The Fork and get 50% off in March!