We all take souvenirs back home with us to remember our travels. Most people would buy something small and display it on a shelf, something useful, or something edible to recreate that wonderful bite we discovered. I am the foodie stasher who would fill up my suitcase to the maximum weight to relive the moments of the delectable food that sealed my trip to excellence. To Michelle Sermoneta and Stefano Calò, taking home souvenirs from their frequent trips to Asia meant seeking to live through the distinctive Asian hospitality in their own turf. With this, Le Asiatique came to life and they created a magnificent six-room restaurant in the heart of Rome with the typical hospitality of Asia.
The 300 square meters that Le Asiatique occupies in an 18th-century Roman building is a labyrinth of beautiful rooms where Oriental and Roman characteristics intermingle and create one harmonious place.
It’s a place of elegance that ignites the warmth of the Asian hospitality that Michelle and Stefano had been enchanted with in the first place.
In the middle room with the shoji, a long table surrounded with couches gives the impression of a cozy reception where guests are welcome to relax and get to know Asia through the coffee table books.
As the unique setting sets the guests to the right mood, the best is yet to come. With the diversity of his past experiences internationally in Sketch in London, Avenue 31 in Monaco, and Restaurant La Laja in Tenerife, Chef Daniel Cavuoto creates a gastronomic approach to Asian culture with the ingredients of Mediterranean origin. It’s a bold step forward as breaking both culinary barriers and merging them together can be a trying task.
Le Asiatique has a strong line-up of entries in the menu from raw to cooked, sushi, sashimi, tartare, noodles, rice, main dishes of beef, duck, fish and dessert.
These can accompanied by the wide selection of drinks available in the bar. There are 60 labels of wines, mostly Italian and French, with particular focus on champagne. There is a list of sake, a big range of over 100 spirits including whiskey and sochu. There is also a tea selection to accompany the meals or for an afternoon break.
One of the focal points of Le Asiatique is the big welcoming bar at the entrance where the guests can try the cocktails created by their barlady. The protagonists are the innovative Asian-inspired cocktails created with liqueurs, spices and oriental ingredients. The bar’s specials are Oriental Bloody, The Black Pearl, Kill Bubble and Negroni Asiatique.
There is an extensive selection of sushi and sashimi and some crispy sushi rice, one of which is the crispy sushi rice with Wagyu beef, spicy mayonnaise, chives, Philadelphia, nori and sesame. With just a slight spiciness, the whole ensemble was delicious.
The ceviche di ricciola con uova di salmone, cipolla rossa e habanero (amberjack ceviche with salmon eggs, red onion and habanero) is just tangy enough without overpowering the other flavors that gives a delicate spicy bite. The carpaccio di salmone all’acqua d’Oriente (salmon carpaccio with water of the Orient) with hazelnuts, purèed mango, and guacamole where contrasting flavors were able to glide well with the palate.
Then there is the gyoza di anatra e foie gras con fonduta di parmigiano 36 mesi (duck and foie gras gyoza with fondue of 36-month old Parmigiano Reggiano) had an unexpected delicacy of flavors. It’s a must-try.
Petto d’anatra marinato in salsa Galbi e laccato al miele, con millefoglie di patate in alga nori e purea di rapa rossa (duck breast marinated in Galbi sauce and lacquered with honey, served with millefeuille with potato, nori and beetroot purèe) merges both culinary worlds together in one beautifully orchestrated dish.
The black cod “Le Asiatique” which is merluzzo nero marinato al miso sul crema di cavolfiore (black cod marinated in miso on cream of cauliflower) is another delectable dish (but they are all anyway) that has a decisive taste and very tender consistency. (bottom of picture)
-Translated to English (Stefano Calò)