JULIET:'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Few men are capable of fluttering female hearts like Romeo. Too bad he was a Montague. And fictional. But luckily there are other passions to be enjoyed in life than an awkward lean over a vine-swept balcony. Passions like pasta. The twirl of delicate golden strands, glimmering in candelight, the dust of herbs and swirl of sauce ... nothing is more satisfying on a cold spring night.
La Rosa is a little Italian treasure hidden in a corner of the Strand Arcade, visible only by its flickering candles.
The pizza and pasta menu was nothing out of the ordinary (all the usuals were represented) however one item did catch my eye - Cavolfiore al Tartufo - pizza bianca with roasted cauliflower, buffalo mozzarella, truffled pecorino and béchamel. It sounded unusual and creative, but my stomach wasn't in the mood for experimentation that night.
Conchiglioni col Ripieno di Zucca - baked conchiglioni pasta filled with pumpkin and ricotta. This was absolutely amazing. Sweet earthy pumpkin and creamy gooey ricotta, all hidden under a crunchy pasta topping with caramelised peaks. Not good for your conscience, but your stomach will gurgle with happiness afterwards.
M ordered the Calabrese pizza - tomato, mozzarella, roasted capsicum and spicy cured Montenuovo salami. A great combination of flavours and generous portions but the crust was a little too thick for my liking. Puffsville.
La Rosa is the perfect date restaurant - dim lighting, good space between the tables for privacy, flickering candles and a general atmosphere of post-work unwinding. Noone's in a hurry, and neither are the waiters. They'll take time to go through the menu with you, recommend certain items and even crack a joke or two. Perfect for first-date jitters.
Finally, the reason for my post. Zeppola - traditional potato dough doughnut with vanilla bean gelato. This was every bit as heavenly as it looked. Chewy, fluffy dough, crystallised with cinnamon sugar, sitting on a sea of butterscotch, with a cloud of gelato overhead. The most perfect combination of hot and cold, smooth and chewy, sweet and sweeter.
Nutella calzone with pistachio gelato. It looked almost extra-terrestrial. And the size of it nearly blew us away. But we persevered and dug our forks in.
What we discovered was a river of molten Nutella in crispy calzone dough, cooled by nutty, melting gelato. It wasn't quite as mouthwatering as the cinnamon doughnut but in fairness, the bar had been set incredibly high. Upon leaving, we kicked ourselves for wasting stomach space on pasta instead of heading straight to the dessert menu. But now you, my friend, will know not to repeat our mistakes.
Until next time.