Marche's Circolino del Molo rewards adventurous foodies
Italian getaway restaurant offers local culinary treasures11 September, 18:26
Here, you find yourself near many of the busiest seaside locations in the eurozone's third-largest economy: Pesaro, Cattolica, Rimini and Milano Marittima. Yet one feels they could be on a deserted isle, far from civilization, savouring the unique seafood flavours and soaking in the rich colours and fragrances from the lush green hillsides, dramatic cliff faces and indigo blue sea. Currently accessible only by boat due to a landslide on the single windy road that leads to the singular bay, you are immediately welcomed coming in from sea by the unique architectural masterpiece that houses the restaurant on a port jutting out from stony beach.
The building, designed using traditional ship-building methods, uses traditional sea-born materials. Oxidised copper, treated fir and levitated cement can be seen everywhere. In addition, walls are adorned with stone elements sourced straight from the sea, following Mediterranean tradition.
The kitchen is open-style, permitting guests to admire the preparation of dishes, and internally the restaurant seats up to 40 people. Inside, the restaurant boasts sweeping panoramic windows framing the deep blue Adriatic spreading out to infinity. Another 40 can be seated on the outside terrace overlooking the quay where private boats can moor and guests are brought in by dingy from the closest accessible bay. Dining outside is a unique experience, comparable only to feasting aboard a ship. The Circolino del Molo restaurant is immersed in the natural park of San Bartolo in the region of Marche. Sweeping views of the natural beauty of the lush green hanging clifftops, miles of sea and deserted coastline, along with the finest recipes local produce and fishing can concoct, intoxicate the senses. Towering in the hills above at 200 meters above sea level is the renowned Casteldimezzo fortress where it is still possible to see the original boundary walls. Instead, looking out to sea the occasional sailboat can be seen flittering by along stunning horizon.
The chef's focus is that of stepping back in time when fare was simple and straightforward, avoiding the more elaborate and sophisticated concoctions of our time. A trip into the past, a light hand in preparation, and a careful revisiting of the traditional recipes of the area are recurring themes for the gastronomic masterpieces and their solid faithfulness to the authenticity of the local produce.
The perfectly prepared fried prawns accompanied with the cream of cannellini beans and fried artichoke are a must, as is the scampi tartar with its fragrant citrus and celery sauce. The much-requested coned and breaded sardines with their delicious fried capers and lemon sauce leave a sweet to the palate. The sautéed mussels and clams are another delicacy that must be tried.
A local favourite is the Mancini-sauce spaghetti with mussels au gratin and fragrant bread, with all the ocean's flavours bursting out as one takes the first bite. The home-made tortelli pasta stuffed with the catch of the day are served with a fragrant anchovy sauce, pine nuts and cream of eggplant and crispy asparagus, a dish carefully tailored to gastronomic perfection. The richly-flavored grilled salmon with thyme sauce and Dijon mustard also features high on the chef's requests list, as do the dense and nourishing tuna, scallops and shrimp skewers with freshly-picked mashed potatoes side dish. Finish the meal off with a dark chocolate delight served with steaming orange and cinnamon sauce.
After the dizzying flavours and delights, one can recoup from the experience by lounging on the exquisite deck in comfortable beige sun lounges with a sorbet in hand, sunglasses, and many a peaceful thought in mind as the gaze reaches out to the rebellious rocks spearheading their way out into the dramatic surf.
Detached from space and time, a meal or a day here leaves a feeling of peace and harmony that will fuel you through following days of Italian summer chaos. The simple concepts and lines along which both the architectural lines and gastronomic delights are carved spell out a unique authenticity and clarity.