‘Tis the season of…the truffle; the white Alba truffle, to be precise, and to celebrate, Brunello restaurant at The Baglioni Hotel is offering a truffle tasting menu from now until November 30th to celebrate this most noble of tubers. Invited by the lovely PR company behind the hotel, I brought my friend and fellow gourmet, B, along to get stuck into to the trough, much like I fondly imagine truffle pigs (or dogs) do. Except in most elegant surroudings.

The Brunello restaurant is decorated like a jewellery box, all graceful, black Murano glass and pale gold silk and brocade. It’s the kind of place couples d’un certain age come, and also couples who are basically just young, handsome and rich. I loved it immediately. The effusive Italian staff are very welcoming (responding to my stuttering Italian with aplomb) and before we knew it we had two glasses of Prosecco in front of us, and a tempting amuse bouche in the form of a disc of foie gras on a bread crisp with a pear jam to devour.

I never choose to have foie gras, I only ever eat it when it’s part of a tasting menu, and that is mainly because I find it too rich and buttery. This, however, was more restrained, less fatty tasting, more like a chunky pate, and I slathered it all over the bread which had been dangerously left on my side of the table.

The first course, was, of course, a pasta course. Handmade tagliatelle with truffle shavings and a buttery truffle cream. It smelled intoxicating before I even got a forkful to my mouth, and tasted divine; not too rich, but flavoursome and intense. Our sommelier paired it with an absolutely delicious Tuffo Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont, a Morgassi Superiore. He described it as ‘citrussy’, but it was milder than that; almost creamy, peachy, and with no discernible acidity. It was incredibly smooth and I loved it, despite rarely drinking white wine.

After I’d practically licked the plate clean, we were offered a robust red to go with the main course, an Anna Maria Abbona Maioli, Dogliani DOCG. It was plummy, cherry-like, but not too dark. It had a light tone, which was easily manageable, and worked well with the very tender beef which made up the tagliata with a creamy truffle sauce. This was – there is no other word for it – divine. Melt in the mouth meat, smothered in a cheese-like sauce, with perfectly roasted potato slices. I polished mine off in a quite unseemly haste.

Dessert – two cannoli with chestnut cream and truffle vanilla sauce – was sweet but not cloying. Our Sicilian waiter recommended eating it with our fingers, as Sicilians do. We drank a fruity Sarocca Moscato d’Asti, which again, wasn’t too sweet (I can’t bear sickly desssert wines).

Despite the intensity of the truffle taste, neither of us felt stuffed, or bloated. Portion sizes were wisely judged; just big enough, without seeming stingy. Service was immaculate and friendly, and it made me want to return before the tasting menu stops. Without wine, it costs around £45; with champagne, it goes up to £119. But if you like tartufi bianchi, then this is the place to come and eat them, immediately. See you there.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarocco lightly sparkling Moscato – canoli with.chestnut cream and truffle cream – our Sicilian waiter recommends eating it with fingers.