Unable to get a table on the small terraces, we sat inside a large cellar where everything was white except the chairs which are purple plastic – Phillip Stark? There was just one other diner when we arrived, though a local family with a 3-year old daughter came to eat at about 9, and a larger party arrived shortly before we were due to leave.
The Francesca is rather a smart restaurant with rather smart waiters, proudly serving local products and traditional recipes. We had a local wine of 1986 which I thought a little tannic at first, but was pleasant with food.
R had mozzarella and tomato which was called Caprese Salad here. I had a starter of 2 local recipes. The little stuffed aubergine was delicious. R enjoyed the puree of fava beans more than I did. It was done up in ruccola (roquette).
Then R had beef fillet – several slices – beautifully pink & juicy – with a large bowl of home-made crisps – still warm – and excellent. I had a mixed grill of a sausage, 2 pieces of sweetbread and 3 lamb chops. All very tasty, but far too much to eat. The grilled veg I ordered with it were long thin strips of courgette and aubergine. They seemed to have been grilled without olive oil and were more like steamed – less enjoyable. Perhaps I should have dressed them with oil.
Although we were rather full by now, we couldn’t resist trying the home-made cassata. We thought this would be a vanilla ice cream with little pieces of orange & lemon peel, but it turned out to be a light sponge cake filled with a cream of that kind and smothered in uncooked, sweetened egg white. I would have preferred ice cream. With coffee and R’s beer, the bill came to 87 euros which I think was quite reasonable. It might have been a little cheaper had we ordered one full instead of 2 half bottles of the wine.
When R had paid, we were offered a digestif, which we declined. We went to bed feeling we had had a very pleasant evening.
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