Sorrento by Night

We had visited Sorrento briefly last year on our way to Capri, so knew there was a lift to carry us up to the top of the cliffs. Avoiding the siren calls of the various harbourside bars, we threaded our way through the bike park and along the bottom of the cliff face in the encroaching gloaming. As we passed the beach area an enterprising family were offsetting the smell of drains by smoking weed. The ift has only two stops, -1 and 0, with a couple of hundred feet of rock between them. At the top we set out following John’s phone to find a restaurant he had researched earlier, Lara having criticized our general lack of advance planning. Our route took is into unexplored territory in the old part of Sorrento, a warren of narrow streets busy with evening shoppers. Up a pedestrian alley we were so excited by the discovery of a large supermarket that we missed our restaurant and had to back track. John showed us a photo of the front on his phone so we could all look out for it. From the new direction it was easy, but the sign looked a bit tackier in real life and led us into a car park littered with stacked pallets and bins. Ahead was the entrance and we approached it with a degree of hesitation and entered a wonderland of lemon trees trained over metal arches strewn with fairy lights. Tables sat amongst the tropical planting and we threaded our way through a huge dining area, with some tables inside a vast glasshouse, with green waistcoated waiters buzzing around, some hefting table sized trays of food on a shoulder. The space was divided into groves by the planting and so the atmosphere was of being in a secluded garden, rather than a vast hangar. We were shown to a table for three and our waiter produced an extensive menu and smaller card of the chef’s recommendations for that day. The food was very reasonably priced. It was hard to choose. John and I settled on an antipasta of mixed vegetables before a meat based main, they were delicious, even the marrowfat peas had tasted special. Lara had a pasta and bean soup to die for, followed by a very meaty sausage in tomato sauce. All the accompanying vegetables were a triumph in their own right. Everything had that special taste of very good home cooking, yet they were operating on a massive scale. When I went to find the toilets I discovered an entirely empty tiered indoor part leading down to the main roads, with notice boards inviting people up to the garden. We would all have liked to have sampled desert, but had no room for even the fresh strawberries. Our waiter followed the espressos we ordered with complimentary glasses of limoncello. John felt he could happily eat from the menu again, I could happily have eaten exactly the same food again, and so we are probably going to come again tomorrow.

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