I've blogged the Roman Empire before but it was so long ago that I don't feel like I'm repeating myself. Since I moved back to the East side, Kat and I are practically neighbors. We're constantly sussing out good local cafes, restaurants and bars to maintain our weekly gossip sessions.
We were cold and miserable last Saturday, thinking of somewhere to have dinner. Kat's car is playing up so I suggested stopping at the Metropol and deciding from there. We spotted Roman Empire and at first, she said she wasn't in the mood for pasta but then remembered they had a delicious gnocchi so we both agreed to go.
Because we hadn't made reservations, we were given the option of either sitting inside but having to leave before 7:30pm (in an hour and a half) or sitting outside for as long as we wanted. Yes, it was absolutely freezing but we were both agreed that you can't have a good meal or chat whilst rushed. We chose to brave the cold in favor of being able to yap the night way indefinitely.
Kat got straight to business and ordered a hot tea to dispel some of the cold.
We ordered pizza bread to start with. You can choose between a few different toppings and we went for a combination of garlic and herb. The pizza base was delicious - really soft, doughy and great. The topping was full-flavored. I have a problem with things tasting too garlicky though, but that might just be a me-thing. Next time, I'll go for plain herb or pesto.
Octopus Salad - baby octopus, grilled and marinated in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chili and basil served on a gourmet salad
I decided to be 'sort of healthy' and went for the octopus salad. It was a generous serving and there were plenty of baby octopuses but I just didn't dig it that much. The salad itself was fresh but unremarkable in flavor. The octopus tasted fishy... I think they needed more of a marinade. Or SOMETHING.
Three Cheese Gnocchi - gorgonzola , bocconcini, and parmesan cheese sautéed with garlic onion in a creamy sauce
Kat knew from the start that she'd be getting the three cheese gnocchi. It was something she ordered before and claimed it was as delicious as always. I tried a bit of the sauce and it had a wonderful depth of flavor. You can't really go wrong with three cheeses.
After our mains, I started to get this strong craving for sticky date pudding. With all thoughts of 'healthy' cast aside, we asked to see the dessert menu. They didn't have sticky date on the menu but I was satisfied with ordering the bread and butter pudding as a result. Kat and I looked at each other and both said "I'll get something if you want something". So... we both ended up getting dessert.
I LOVE bread and butter pudding but ironically, it's something that I'm almost always disappointed with. I find that restaurant offerings tend to be dry and bland, saved only by generous lashings of custard. This had a 'juicier' texture than most that I've had in the past. It still needed the ice-cream and cream to compliment though. I think bread and butter pudding is really something that needs sauce.
Kat ordered the tiramisu. Tiramisu comes in many forms and this was a mousse version. It also came with a blob of ice-cream and cream. I didn't try but she seemed to enjoy it.
We really liked eating at Roman Empire. It wasn't just about the food, the overall service was quite nice and the environment felt comfortable and 'local'. The bad thing about this place being established as our regular spot is that it's so popular, it's hard to pop in without a booking.