You wouldn't think of Hamilton, Bermuda when thinking of old school Italian food but that's just what my Missus and I found on our recent romantic evening for two while taking a short vacation. The decor is reminiscent of many Italian restaurants in the USA with the Italian flag themed colors and the murals and photos of the "old country" on the walls. We were welcomed by a friendly older gentleman who sat us at the front window. This was a weekend night and it didn't appear too busy with just two other parties in our dining room.
I started with a Minestrone soup. I expected the usual garden vegetable and tomato stew but this turned out to be a winter version. No corn or green beans or peas but plenty of chunks of pumpkin, turnip (maybe, not sure, could have been a different type of squash I was unfamiliar with), potato and white beans. It was rich and comforting with a golden broth and a small hint of tomato. My wife chose a seasonal pumpkin soup that tasted like it had a chicken stock base. It came swirled with creme fraiche. She loved it.
We ordered a carafe of red wine that was advertised as Cabernet but reminded me of the home made "backyard" wines of my youth (although not Italian myself, I grew up in a predominately Italian neighborhood). The wine went perfectly with the decor and style of food. I wouldn't have been surprised if they served it in jelly jars. It's just the sort of comfortable vibe the place is aspiring to.
For our main courses, My wife had the "cowboy" steak, a trimmed rib-eye, with a side of spaghetti. It was advertised at 14 oz. but seemed much larger, taking up over half of her full sized plate. It was cooked to her liking, medium rare, and was of good quality and pretty reasonable for its size given the generally high food prices on the island.
I had a fantastic dish of four HUGE scallops wrapped in speck, a type of Italian smoked ham, and seared at each end with a brown sugar crust. These shellfish were the size of a baby's fist yet fork tender, delicately flavored, sweet, buttery and glistening and warm in the center. Perhaps the best scallops I've ever had. As if befitting their championship status, they stood high on a bed of creamy Parmesan risotto that had slabs of brie cheese melting on top. The rice was perfectly al dente. For color and vitamins, a deep green zucchini puree surrounded the risotto like a moat. A very memorable dish.
Service was a tad slow on occasion. It appeared the gentlemen waiters were in somewhat of a stand down mode having lots of casual conversations among themselves in Italian. We had three different waiters delivering food to our table that night and a request of one might not get passed on to the next. So we had to remind waiter number one that we had ordered garlic bread from waiter number two. The garlic bread came late into the entree. I would have comped it but, whatever. It was unremarkable. Sort of a store bought Italian sliced loaf brushed with garlic butter and parsley. The least impressive part of the meal.
Dessert, on the other hand, was a treat. A chocolate "bomb" dome filled with hard ice cream inside, a scoop of fabulous hazelnut gelato on the side and whipped cream with a cherry. We shared it while I also had a traditional espresso with a side of Sambuca and my wife had a Baileys and coffee. No, we weren't driving.
All in all, its a very comfortable, romantic place that reminded me of that scene in "Lady and the Tramp". I liked the staff and felt welcome and comfortable there. I really enjoyed the food and was doubly impressed that it remained so true to its roots given its island location. I would go back in a heartbeat.
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