Bistrot 900 and the vital lymph of Abruzzo

Enzo Di Pasquale and his unique way of presenting his original, imitation-free cuisine in Giulianova

Veal liver, fermented portulaca, pink prawns and l

Veal liver, fermented portulaca, pink prawns and liquorice from Enzo di Pasquale at Bistrot 900 in Giulianova, Teramo

If the Marche and Abruzzo where the two arms of a gigantic scale in balance on the Adriatic coast, San Benedetto del Tronto would be the axle, the point of balance between the Marche, in the north, and Abruzzo, in the south. One bank of the river Tronto is in the Marche, the other in Abruzzo. This was also the border, after WWII and until 1992, for the Cassa Per il Mezzogiorno, and years and years earlier, it was the border between the Kingdom of Naples and the Papal State.

And when you live there, between Grottammare and San Benedetto, you can clearly perceive this feeling of being on this side of the Tronto. This also applies to those who live on the other bank, in the first villages by the sea: Martinsicuro, Alba Adriatica, Tortoreto, Giulianova. The landscape changes, with the hills and the beaches, and the cities along SS16, the Adriatic road. On the same road in Giulianova, one can find the most interesting restaurant between Senigallia (in the north) and Vasto (in the south), 260 km that is always a bit of a distance if you’re looking for a place for dinner.

All this to praise the restaurant scene of Abruzzo, which has always had plenty of great chefs and intense flavours but until a dozen years ago lacked in starred talents. All this while thinking of an extraordinary dinner on the 2nd of January at Enzo Di Pasquale’s Bistrot 900 (and of an equally good one in December at Davide Pezzuto’s D.one in Montepagano). Surprising and concrete, and most of all original with no desire to use pleasing tricks.

Di Pasquale, 33, belongs to that small group of professionals who always know how to interpret their surroundings but also how to ration their concepts and their offer while remaining faithful to their ideas. They never give in and never accept to make choices that will be simpler and easier to understand.

Bistrot 900 is an inn with under 20 rooms in a nice Art Deco villa on the Via Adriatica. The chef is from Giulianova, but he attended catering school in San Benedetto, followed by lots of experience in unexpected places. Not Romito, but Ezio Santin and Andrea Barbaglini, plus the greatest of the chefs from the Marche, Lucio Pompili. And here is the link with what we wrote in the beginning. These are the words of Enzo himself: «When early in the 2000s we guys from Abruzzo wanted to dine in a great restaurant, we were forced to go beyond Ancona, to PompiliCedroni and Uliassi. There were no masters in our region. Niko hadn’t blossomed yet. Now there’s a balance, and even the Marche have a third Michelin star with Uliassi. But perhaps there are more established young chefs in Abruzzo, than in the Marche».

Without lingering on comparisons, which is often a sterile exercise, Di Pasquale returned to Giulianova in May 2014 and convinced the owners of the inn to hand him the two restaurants, the more straightforward one, for the inn’s guests, or those who prefer what they know, and the experimental one. We chose the latter, or else, we could have stayed in San Benedetto.

Squilla mantis, tapioca and bergamot, by chef Enzo Di Pasquale

Squilla mantis, tapioca and bergamot, by chef Enzo Di Pasquale

The menu design is not very Italian. There’s no dividing between starters, first courses and main courses. There’s only savoury and sweet. In fact, there’s only savoury, with thirteen items in order of intensity. If later you’re looking for something sweet for your palate, ask for the dessert list, as it is not included in the various tasting menus. The menu, with or without paired wines, starts from a minimum of 4 courses.

We chose eight, plus the dessert: Squilla mantis, tapioca and bergamot; Green apple, Gregoriano cheese, honey, snails and gelato of carrot leaves; Passatelli with kombu seaweeds, turmeric and broth of crustaceans; Pulled beef and chickpea hummus; Roasted cauliflower, fermented, creamed and stewed, which was the only dish of which only the first two mouthfuls were excellent, and then it became too similar, and almost boring; Ash-baked potatoes, mussels, broth of Grana Padano and mint oil; Veal liver, fermented portulaca, pink prawns and liquorice; Spaghetti with beetroot, curry and coconut sauce.

The Sweet temptations also deserve sincere praise: Salad and loquat in the first case; Chicory and rocket, two bitter variables with zabaglione gelato in the second. And praise also goes to the sommelier, Mario Camponi.

Ash-baked potatoes, mussels, broth of Grana Padano and mint oil, a dish by Enzo Di Pasquale in Giulianova

Ash-baked potatoes, mussels, broth of Grana Padano and mint oil, a dish by Enzo Di Pasquale in Giulianova

Bistrot 900
via Galileo Galile,i 226
64021 Giulianova (Teramo)
Closed on Sunday 
Prices: four dishes 39 euros; five 47 and seven 65; wine pairing respectively 18, 25 and 30; dessert 7 euros

Cibi Divini

Restaurants from all the world told in Il Giornale by Paolo Marchi from February 1994 to the winter of 2011. And since the spring, for the readers identitagolose.it


Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.
blog www.paolomarchi.it
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