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Great expectations, sadly let down


Sampaguita
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We haven’t been eating out a lot this year, Rina is just too good as a cook and has been wowing guests who stay for dinner. But as a combined birthday treat we decided to try a new restaurant that has been catching some great reviews locally, Prufumo di Vino in Treiso.

The owners of Profumo di Vino, Memmo, a Mexican from Baja Californian and Cameron, a Scot who grew up in Colorado both worked in Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso and left a year ago to open this restaurant and wine bar facing the main piazza opposite the Osterie Risorgimento,a local favourite.

After a wonderful wine tasting with one of Piedmont’s pioneer lady wine-makers, the fabulous Chiara Boschis of E.Pira in Barolo (pira-chiaraboschis) we wound our way around Alba up to Treiso on a truly gorgeous Piedmont day – we had a thunderstorm the night before and the day was fresh and sunny with reach out and grab me Alpine vistas).

Profumo di vino

The restaurant is quite modern in aspect, but open and friendly feeling. We sat on the outside terrace facing the piazza and the mountains and relaxed for a long slow lunch.

Treiso Piazza

The wine list was reasonably extensive as should befit a restaurant in the heart of the Barbaresco area, as it was such a warm day we decided on an excellent metodo classico (champagne style) sparkling Arneis from Giovanni Negri in Neive.

The bread was all home made and included some of the best grissini I have had in Piedmont.

Our first hint of disappointment came with the Amuse Bouche served on an aluminium ladle, stewed turkey and vegetables with too much vinegar, killing the aperitivo wine.

not Amused Bouche

Oh well, lets move on we thought, I ordered an antipasto of fried rice balls in squid ink with fried calamari heads in yellow pepper sauce; this was by far and away the best dish, the calamari was perfection and the sauce divine.

Squid rice balls and calamari

But Rina’s antipasto, apparently a signature dish, uova in pasta, which she ordered to see how they could handle a technical dish was disastrous – the egg yolk was almost raw, (we were actually confused how they achieved this), it needed lemon juice and parmigiano to balance it out.

Uova in pasta

Now we are getting worried and even more after the primi piattis: I took gnocchi with fresh tomato and mozzarella sauce , again to see how they could handle this dish which can be heavenly if prepared properly. Heaven was not on call that afternoon, I likened it to gummy-bear gnocchi, I couldn’t eat it. The sauce was OK, hard to go wrong with humble tomato sauce, mopped it up with the bread (at least that was good)

Gummy bear gnocchi

Rina ordered tomato pasta ravioli stuffed with seafood with and herb-flavoured oil. There was no explosion of flavour, the seafood didn’t taste fresh, rather fishy in fact and the pasta was dry.

Ravioli stuffed with seafood

Rina had decided to take a plunge and order roasted rabbit rolatini with sautéed pepper sauce, even though she loves rabbits as pets, but I don’t think she will order again. The rabbit was dry and tasteless, the peppers should have been peeled and the roast potatoes tasted oily.

Rolled Rabbit w sauteed pepper

My second was roasted quall with rosemary sweet onion relish and olives. It was OK, not over-cooked or dry and tough, but the olives on the side didn’t quite match.

Roaste quall

They served was an excellent and refreshing pineapple granite (sorbet) which helped suppress the queasy feeling in the stomach after the secondi piatti.

Pineapple granite

Still hungry we braved the dolce and they were excellent and did go a long way to salvaging what was becoming a disastrous outing. I had baked peach stuffed with biscuits and guanduaja chocolate.

Stuffed peaches

Rina had a nocciola (hazel nut) tasting plate with a beautiful light torte, a rich mousse and a light meringue and we washed it down with an excellent Moscato Passito.

Degustazione di nocciole

The bill was 140 euro which was in my opinion very dear for the quality and what we have paid at far superior restaurants in Piedmont. We didn’t ask to meet the chef as we felt it would have been too hard to be polite.

Overall we were disappointed to have chosen this restaurant when there are so many wonderful places yet to try in Piedmont, too bad we didn’t go to Ciau del Tornavento down the road or Duomo in Alba for our outside treat.

I am at loss to understand why it has been getting good reports, maybe the novelty of a Mexican-Scottish owned restaurant in Piedmont? Maybe we just hit a bad day for the chef, but sorry to say, we cannot add Prufumo di Vino to our list of restaurant recommendations.

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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  • 2 weeks later...

Normally I would not have bothered to write a negative review about a restaurant, but we felt so robbed by the place and 1 good antipasto and 2 OK dolce does not justify 140 euro! The food sat in our stomaches for hours and rubbery gnocchi means it was made the night before.

(BTW I am copywriting the term gummy-bear gnocchi!)

Yup, just too many other places in Piedmont to work through.

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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