The day: 25th March 2008, Dinner.
The place: Piazza Assunta, 40 38015 Sorni – Lavis (Trento), tel: +390461870541
The venue: Trattoria “Vecchia Sorni”
Closest airports: Verona (British Airways), Brescia (Ryanair)
The food: Traditional regional cuisine with a modern take
The drinks: Good short list, strong on local offerings
As time goes by, we are discovering that there is more and more to unearth out and about Lavis. Driving out of Trento northbound, past the intersection for Giovo, off goes another intersection, winding up the hill to reach in a few minutes the miniscule town of Sorni. Park your car outside the hamlet, and in you walk to find very soon the Trattoria “Vecchia Sorni”. This is not one of your typical trattorie, though, which thankfully grace this beautiful region. This is another example of a handful of new establishments were youngish chefs hold their own in presenting traditional regional cuisine with a modern take, offering good quality at very accessible prices.
The restaurant consists of a very small but cosy room: we are told that in the summer tables spill over to the outside veranda with views on the Adige valley. But spring is not yet here, so we offer you an indoor view:
The menu is very short (often a good sign in low priced venues): three starters, three primi (all dishes in these categories go for €8 each), four mains (all sold at €13) and four desserts (€4.50 each). On top of that, each guest is charged €2 for “bread and cover”, in the old fashioned but persistent way.
Ok, a bit underwhelming, we have to admit. And somewhat in the same tone, here you have a present from the kitchen:
Deep fried cheese chunks. Woman is definitely not impressed, these immediately bring back long lost memories of pre-packed foods, we are sure it is not the case here, but the way it comes out is not very enticing. Man is just a little more forgiving. Mmh, let us hope we are not in for a debacle like Civezzano .
After the cheese, our primi arrive. We had settled for:
– Trout and prawn tortelloni;
– Polenta gnocchi with coarse ragout of suckling goat (capretto) and aromatic herbs
Ah, now we know: we are in for a little treat. The tortelloni are as fishy as you want them, light and flavoursome, generously stuffed. The dough is good and cooked well.
As for the gnocchi, their consistency is perfect, and the capretto ragout is very intense. Again, the name of the game is full flavour together with a light touch, delicacy with punch, well complemented by the herbs.
We are in the right mood for our secondi. Here they come:
– Rolled trout with prawns and sauted baby spinach;
– Rolled capretto with walnut filling
The trout roll was simply superb. Cooked perfectly, perhaps the prawn was not of the quality you would find in a posher establishment, but still of good flavour. They were sitting on a good potato mash, and surrounded by a very sweet sauce of what must have been carrots and tomatoes. The accompanying courgettes were also good. A dish well conceived and well executed.
The capretto (replacing the advertised rabbit, but we had been forewarned): well, we are running out of adjectives here, again intense and yet delicate, with a strong reduction, beautifully soaked up by the roasted potatoes. These were perhaps a bit too on the salty side for our taste, on the other hand this effect was contrasted effectively by the sweet carrots.
– Linzertorte with raspberry ice cream;
– Strawberries and pineapple cup with coconut foam and chilli aroma
The linzertorte is a classic buckwheat based cake, dense, moist and rich, so the tangy raspberry icecream was a nice complement, while the custard kept the comfort food feeling going. Very satisfying!
The fruit cup was light and refreshing, with what might have been a mixture of whipped cream and Italian meringue. At any rate, it was pleasant, too, although to be honest, the chilli aroma we could almost not detect, which is quite a feat of delicacy…
With a bottle of 0.75lt water at €2.20 (yes, £1.50) and one of 2005 Pinot Noir Manincor “Mason” at €26, the total bill came at €83.20, that is around £55 for the two of us.
Service is informal and polite. What struck us was the grace with which dishes were put together in the kitchen, where (with the only slip of the initial cheese slobs) chef Lorenzo Callegari eases the strong flavours of the traditional rustic and robust regional cuisine into light and yet succulent combinations. The value for money is impressive, though not as much as at our well known favourite in the category, Osteria Fior di Roccia. But if you are driving up from Trento towards Bolzano further north, do make sure you do not miss this upturn.