Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ciao Bella, Roppongi

Faced with the upcoming decampment from Roppongi, the denouement of my Roppongi lunching career if you will, I feel a burning need to get around to as many restaurants as I can manage. And if I have to spend a bit to do it, well, them's the breaks. We also need one more leisurely lunch at Cicada...

Ciao Bella is kinda tucked away behind Baggio and Piatto^2, on the east side of the Aoyama tunnel entrance. You wouldn't know it's back there; I saw it on the gurunabi map and then met the French place next to it when I went to have a look. Both of these places are in the high Y2K's (to coin a phrase) for lunch, so I wouldn't ordinarily do it. But again, as our happy and odd times here wind to a close... The French place looks a bit nicer (as French places do to me, when compared to Italian) but was Y200 more and also featured the special set menu of pig's trotter and tongue so:

Ciao Bella has a sort of industrial-Tuscan motif going on - yellow walls and tiled floor but exposed, black-painted workings overhead. And the chairs were really soft! We sank in. The open kitchen and bar take up the right side of the space in a pleasingly bustling way, and there are probably about 40 seats. Service was quiet and competent, as it should be for the 5% surcharge.

The food is described as 'cuisine nature', which may mean it's organic or something. For our Y2600 we got a starter, pasta, dessert and coffee, plus two thimble-sized hot breadrolls. Starters included my very nice squid stuffed with squid bits, pancetta and bread or else an oyster-and-autumn-vegetable frite. Pastas were both very fresh and obviously handmade - mine a short, springy one (like last week's picci, but short and thick) with ground pork and eggplant sauce; the eggplant was interesting, still a touch crunchy but not objectionable, it almost seemed to have been quickly deep-fried. The other pasta was linguini-ish, and a very thick one at that (on my Marcato, I bet it would be a 6 or maybe even 5) with very wild-tasting fresh mushroom sauce. Dessert was worth mentioning - a mille feuille of vanilla cream and pears poached in red wine. Coffee was worth forgetting, except for the strange finely-ground brown sugar it came with.

Well, another one off the list.

Service charge for lunch? Seriously?



  1. I like the dishes as they don't use any chemical seasoning.
    I took a cooking class here.
    It was good and the chef, Shimada-san is a nice person.

  2. Hey Jon, where are you decamping to?