Osteria Del Tempo Perso – Review (Guest Blog)

It’s fair to say that I get a LOT of lovely invitations to food & drink events – sadly living out of town now I find it hard to make many of them. This is a place I’ve wanted to try for a while (the name roughly translates as ‘lost time eatery’ so I sent one of my colleagues along to find out for me (and you). 

Here’s how they got on…. written by Graeme Tod.

Osteria del Tempo Perso - Edinburgh (1)

So, it is Friday night, the sun is out (though it is still pretty cold), work is done, we are out of the house and life feels pretty good. That doesn’t stop, in fact it gets a whole lot better, on entering ‘Osteria del Tempo Perso’. Despite winning prizes for least catchy, or pronouncable, restaurant name in Edinburgh, this place gives off a relaxed and welcoming, funky and fun Friday night vibe which sits perfectly with our mood. There is a buzz about the place from arrival and we are met with a swathe (I believe that is the collective term) of tall, handsome men to take our name, our coats and usher us to our table. We are seated in a slightly cosy corner table close to our neighbours but this gives us a nice view of the already busy and buzzing room at around 7pm. Though just across the road from Montpelliers, this has less of the ‘in-crowd’ feel and instead has a real mixed bag of Friday night revellers. My designer wife (she works as a designer, she is not an accessory, like a designer handbag) is already drooling over the decor and it can’t be denied that, when you look, everything from the rope covered pillars, cork lamp shades and multitude of clocks has been meticulously picked. But if you don’t look, and just soak it all in it feels like a very natural and comfortable setting to spend an evening.

Starter-1

 

Once seated, we are quickly presented with a complimentary, small and perfectly chilled glass of tinted prosecco which sets the tone for an evening of attentiveness, attention to detail, quality and a real focus on giving diners a good time.

Starter-2

The menu’s are presented on cool clipboards and they are extensive. There is a wide range of antipasti, sharing platters, breads and olives, soups and starters to begin with and pastas, risottos, meat and fish options for mains. Everything sounds delicious and on glancing around the other tables (as you do), looks so also. There is a quality wine list of italian wines with details of the regions from which they come and the food to which they could be paired. There is a simple specials board of a red and white wine, a soup, a meat course and a dessert. To cut through the practicalities, the starters are around £5-6, the sharing platters £8-9, the pastas and risottos a very reasonable £8-9 and the meat mains from £12-16. All very reasonable for the quality of food and size of portions, and the excellent service and sprightly atmosphere, and the variety in menu gives the option of this place for a quick mid-week pasta with a friend or a slap up Friday night treat night like we opted for.

Wine

And to the food, and wine, of which we opt for the red from the specials board, which is a delightful Montepulciano (£26). It comes in a bottle which looks like it has just been dusted off from their grandfathers wine cellar and our waiter compliments us on our choice being a perfect match for the food we have ordered. If only we could be intentionally that classy! To start my wife orders the Tomino Cheese and Prosciuto (£6.50) which is substantial, two slices of toasted bread with baked tomino cheese and parma ham, garnished with perfectly ripened tomatoes, rocket leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper. The cheese is melted to perfection that it oozes, but but doesn’t swim across the plate when cut. The rest of the ingredients just need to be neatly arranged to allow their quality to speak for themselves. As mentioned, the portions are generous which means a substantial amount of my wife’s dish comes my way, which is how I like it. My own starter is the Calamari (£6), which is often the case where it is on the menu, as it is a personal favourite, which means I have high standards for the dish. This does not disappoint. With squid the regular complaint is ‘rubbery’, and this avoids that trap with lovely soft squid and a light batter. The basil mayonnaise is faultless and the spritz of lemon makes it sing.

Lamb-main

Before we go into the mains, a quick word on the service. These guys (as we were only served by guys, I am sure there are girls around) are good. Really professional which you can tell from how relaxed they are and how relaxed they make you feel. They also clearly care, about the job they do, about ensuring you have a good time and about what this restaurant is trying to achieve through the quality of its produce and experience. They put you at ease but clearly know their stuff, and they, and the kitchen, get the pace just right, which is an overlooked and difficult skill to get right. Just enough time to look at the menu, pick a wine, order food, chat between courses, and just enough checking on how things are so you always feel like you are on their mind but never pestered, Bravo to them, they should offer a course in this!

For mains my wife orders the Parpadelle ai Funghi Porcini (£9.50). A long flat pasta similar to tagliatelli with a mushroom and garlic sauce. Simple Italian cooking done well. And enough food to feed a family of four!

Pasta-main

 

 

I return to the specials board for my main, though I could happily opt for any of the regular menu. This is rack of lamb (£16), simply cooked, though to perfection, and served with new potatoes, baby carrots and green beans. The rack contains three big and meaty chops which once cut is a vibrant pink throughout, though in no way under done to the point that it would put even the more squeamish off. The meat has a lovely almost livery flavour and the vegetables have appropriate crunch and crumble to work just right. As said, this is simply cooked with little hint of anything uniquely italian in the approach. The chef has clearly decided to let the quality of the meat speak for itself, and with this quality who can blame him, but I would not have complained of a drizzle of jus or gravy, even as optional to the side, to offer a compliment or contrast to the succulent chunk of meat.

Dessert

And again, a pleasant gap to digest is provided before a mention of sweet is suggested though far from necessary. We take a look, as you do, and though on another day I could easily have opted for the cheese platter or Tiramasu, we decide our capacity can only handle a shared ‘Crostata di Crema e Amaretto’ (£5.50) which is a beautifully presented custard and amaretto biscuit tart with ice cream and a scattering of raspberries. The cherry on top of what is not only a fantastic meal but a fantastic dining experience is the accompanying glass of dessert wine that comes with our shared tart. Having tried an ice wine for the first time a few years ago, I have had a real taste for it, and though rare, always keep an eye out for it on a menu. Though, I don’t think, this is an actual ice wine, it has a very similar texture, colour and flavour. Served very chilled, it has an almost syrupy consistency and a delightful honey-hinted flavour which puts a lid on a fine meal. As we enquire of it, a Chilean number called Nectaria (£4.50 a glass), our waiter almost reluctantly confesses it to be the only non-Italian wine on the menu. In fact it is the only non-italian aspect of our evening as the ‘Osteria del Tempo Perso’ serves up everything it’s homeland is famous and proud of. Quality food, cooked simply and to perfection and served with pride amidst a warm and embracing Italian atmosphere. We are already looking forward to a return trip and visiting their Glasgow restaurant, opening this week, the next time we go west. Bellissimo!

Interior2

It sounds like they had a great time, and I’ll definitely be trying to get there myself when I get the chance!

Huge Thanks to Graeme and Catriona for your excellent research!

And, if you live in Glasgow, great news – they also opened a restaurant there just yesterday (Weds 22nd April)  – more info on their restaurants can be found here on their website

@Osteriatemperso 

 

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