We admit it: we passed a lot of times but we never stopped. We are talking about the Risto Caffè Cavour on the homonymous street that from the central square of Ostuni leads to the Monument to the Fallen and to the town hall dedicated to Sandro Pertini, green lung of the town where once there was the “foggia”, an ancient natural depression where the water was conveyed.
In Ostuni in the cave
From the outside, in fact, you can not even imagine what lies behind the glass door of the Café and realize the magical atmosphere. Going down a few steps you are immersed in a scenario out of time, that of a hypogeum crusher dating back to the year 1100, in which every rock face is steeped in history and sweat of ancient people.
The origin of these mills – as explained by Fabrizio Nacci, chef and perfect landlord – is lost in the mists of time and is linked to the agricultural and economic practice of olive cultivation, which in these areas goes far beyond the modern age, sinking its roots in Roman times and even earlier Messapic. This crusher in particular was used to hide the oil and avoid in this way, which could be robbed by various predators that, over the years, have invaded the Città Bianca.
Intrigued, before sitting down, we walk around a little and notice that you can still see and distinguish the tanks of decanting the oil, you can admire the original “chianche” and even the manger where the mill and the tunnel where they were discharged the olives.
Surely a place of great atmosphere, one that often looks for a quality restaurant where, in addition to eating well, you want to spend a nice evening, maybe romantic, even if with a third hairy mess like us.
In fact, our Otto was welcomed by Fabrizio who then completely devoted himself to pampering our taste buds.
The main dishes are those that recall traditional cuisine, where the local extra-virgin olive oil is never lacking, but there are no refined touches that always include products that are preferably from Puglia and in season.
The cuisine ranges from land to sea, displaying the Ostuni territory and its olive groves, gardens, orchards and vineyards. In season, but not now that there is biological stop until July 1, do not miss the fragrant sea urchins from the nearby coast. We have not been able to resist a classic, orecchiette with turnip greens that are also enriched in tomato and bread crumbs.
Among the appetizers, do not miss the artichokes cooked at low temperature cut thin and served with strips of parmesan and truffle and the soufflé of chicory with cream of burratina, delights in which blend perfectly flavored ingredients with strong flavors.
The second one? Here we returned to the traditional with lamb shank with potatoes and carrots, but almost never misses the catch of the day enhanced by the mastery of the chef and his philosophy of minimal cooking to respect and emphasize the flavors.
About the wine we allowed ourselves to be advised by Fabrizio who, considering our gastronomic choices, made us drink the negramaro in purity produced by Paolo Leo with the captivating name of Negramante, with intense aromas and a tannic and pleasantly persistent taste.
At the end of the dinner, a homemade cake is essential. Attention is difficult to choose from those proposed: you would like to try them all! Before leaving the relaxed atmosphere of the room invites you to chat with Fabrizio and his wife who, discreet and kind, assists him in the room.
The proof that we were fine and we ate and drank better? At the Risto Caffè Cavour we have already returned to make an encore!
Risto Caffè Cavour
Corso Cavour 5, Ostuni (Brindisi)
Info: +39 0831 301709 – www.caffecavour.it