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Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Nos Amours - Gorriti 4488, Palermo

After a several week long dining spree I am craving something simple, no overblown pretensions or superfluous flourishes. So it may seem odd that I opt for a French restaurant, but I have walked past A Nos Amours so many times, gazed longingly into the minimal rustic interior and wondered what it would be like to while away an evening in this corner-located restaurant. It’s not listed in any of the guide books but gets very positive ratings and write-ups on Guia Óleo (the Argentine Tripadvisor-style restaurant website) so we are here to investigate.

When we walk in we are all immediately content with the air and style of the place. It is  often hard to put your finger on what makes a place pleasing to be in, but A Nos Amours have managed it. Vast windows house the eight or so tables, chic music plays and a doorway allows a peek into the kitchen where the chef is visible, a vast mass of dreadlocks piled on top of his head turban style. A book has been casually placed on each table. We have a book about Jean Renoir, the French director, but being high-brow diners we are more interested in leafing through ‘Footballers Haircuts’, perched on the table behind us, a small photo book of the aforementioned haircuts, featuring mostly English players from the 80s.

A sizeable chalk board adorns the main wall scrawled with the ample and almost-illegible wine list. A second smaller chalk board is presented to us by a trendy lean wild-haired French man with the day’s menu. Three starters, four main courses. Take it or leave it. I am already in love with this place for not burdening me with copious choices. We skip starters and choose gnocchi and risotto, two of each, dishes I generally avoid in restaurants because I see them as easy to make at home, but I am erring towards vegetarianism tonight and the remaining two options are meat and fish.

The gnocchi is home-made, light and yielding a far cry from the standard heavy stodgy kind and is accompanied by a tomato sauce with courgette, mushrooms and carrots. The carrots are a little incongruous with the rest, but it tastes good nonetheless. Risotto is silken smooth with sautéed leeks, delicious unidentified herbs and a generous quantity of cream. “This is some serious gourmet shit” concludes Stefan (I did mention we are high-brow). And that it is. 

The wild-haired waiter takes away our empty plates and we consider dessert probabilities. Based on how delicious the mains were we are edging towards sharing at least one between the four of us. Expecting to see another, perhaps even smaller, chalk board materialise we continue sipping our Chardonnay, but we are barely acknowledged, the waiter a little too nonchalant. We begin to wonder disbelievingly whether there are in fact no desserts (we later see there are) and as the time edges towards midnight we conclude that we are tired and beyond dessert cravings. We do the international sign language gesture for la cuenta and make our exit once we have paid our dues.

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