ALLA VIA DI MEZZO
We recently visited a new restaurant, Alla via di Mezzo, located in Torre del Colle, just outside of Bevagna. The town itself is one of those medieval gems. It was already dark by the time we arrived, but a visit during the day time is definitely on my agenda. The interior of the restaurant was as charming as the outside - stone walls, beamed ceilings, soft lighting to enhance the mood. Now if they would only get rid of those bunches of artificial flowers that were scattered around! Ugh!
As I understand it, the menu is a fixed price, and for this you get a visit to the wonderfully stocked and beautifully presented antipasti bar, served, appropriately enough, at the bar. Meat, chesses, grilled and pickled vegetables like artichoke, olives, capers and tomatoes are all tempting and delicious. With a slice of bread, this antipasto bar would be a very nice lunch or generous snack.
As we were eating our antipasti, soup was served. It was tepid, but worse yet, it was completely lacking in flavor. I wasn't sure if the broth was supposed to be chicken-based, vegetable-based, or just water. The general concensus at our table was a big thumbs down for the soup.
The service was prompt and efficient, and dirty dishes were whisked away with a minimun of fuss. Our second course, pasta, arrived after the table was cleared of the antipasti dishes: lasagna and fettuccini with some sort of white sauce. The lasagna, although tasty, was just a little dried out, perhaps from having been baked earlier in the day. The fettuccini was as bland as the soup. All I tasted was a bland bechamel sauce; a good dose of salt and pepper would have been a welcome addition, but none was on the table (standard for many Italian restaurants), and I didn't want to upset the apple cart with a request.
After the pasta two meat dishes were presented: roast goose and slices of roast pork. I was going to pass on the goose but the fragrance was so heavenly I took a small piece. Although others said theirs was fine, the piece I picked was rather dry - what a let down! The pork slices were tender and juicy, cooked perfectly! Oven roasted potatoes were served along with the meats, but they were soooo salty they were almost inedible! Several people must have seasoned these potatoes, thinking they hadn't been seasoned, because it's really difficult to add too much salt to potatoes!
A green salad was served with the meats, but I hesitate to call it a salad - there was NO dressing of any kind, not even a drop of oil - just lettuce! Again, a disappointment, and maybe just an oversight in the kitchen.
The dessert tray was beautifully presented, and everything looked just as good as it tasted. The flourless chocolate torte was rich and dense, the apple cake was moist and flavorful, the the last dish, maybe some sort of citrus flan, was light and refreshing. How odd to find such excellent desserts and disappointing pasta in an Italian restaurant!
We were a group of ten, and with wine and water our bill came to €31 per person. Oh, and since the owner's wife is an Antonelli, their wine is featured prominently, maybe exclusively.
Our friends, who'd eaten here before were as disappointed as we were, and said it was the first sub-par meal they'd had here. I'm not sure that I'd make the 45+ minute drive from our house to check it out again, but if you're in the area, it might be worth a try. It's not far from Bevagana, near Cantalupo, in a tiny little borgo called Terre del Colle. Alla mia di Mezzo is only open for dinner and is closed on Monday. You can call them at 074 236 2074.