One of the great things about being on honeymoon is that you can rationalise all kind of things you can’t afford. And so it was with Enoteca Pinchiorri.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is renowned as one of the most expensive 3* Michelin restaurants in the world, has the world’s first female 3* chef (Annie Féolde), and is the only restaurant to lose and regain its third Michelin star. And it is bloody expensive.
So far, so Michelin. So what about the food? Now here is the shameful thing… we can barely remember. Apparently not only does being on your honeymoon justify excessive expense but it also necessitates inappropriate drunkenness.
My memories of the meal are like a vague, in and out dream, ending abruptly three or four starters in. I can remember the wine list which which had the girth of a tree trunk; greedy discussions of the last good wines we would have in months (as Seoul has the worst wine selection of any major city in the world); a few of the starters which avoided any molecular tendencies and just did 3/4 flavours to perfection; and then a blurble of wine.
If you look at the picture above, it is the last one I took. It is me attempting to take a room summary picture so you can get an idea of the decor and ambience. I slightly remember being pleased with it at the time. Unfortunately, sober, it is out of focus – in every respect – and boring with the wrong colour balance as well as lacking any discernable point of focus.
So do I have any sensible comment on the restaurant? Well slightly. This cost 11 times basically ever other meal we had in Italy. Quite frankly you could probably add two weeks of meals together and this would have still been a clear leader. Was this one meal better than two weeks of fantastical eating and drinking in Tuscany and Puglia? Well… once. The dishes were so restrained but yet ambitious that I really respect them. The octopus on pea soup that is the header on this page was a flat out joy.
This is also not a restaurant resting on its laurels. The owner (Giorgio Pinchiorri) and chef (Annie Féolde) are there working hard. Cooking the food and supervising every table and personally greeting and guiding you. One can only imagine what the owner must of thought as he guided a drunk idiotic English man back to his table when I got lost and stumbled into the kitchen. But he did it with charm and grace.
Is it perfect? No. I can just about remember the desserts being underwhelming. The service needs to be more focused. We were served by at least 10 different people which is quite disconcerting. I hated the room which managed to avoid any of the beauty or history of Florence and make you feel like you were in a nice hotel, somewhere, anywhere.
So if you are intending to go you should probably read the reviews of some other foodies who didn’t disgrace themselves. You will note that many of them aren’t in rapture at this restaurant but I think that is partly because they expect more ‘flash’ for their 3*. For me, what was good about Enoteca Pinchiorri was the lack of complication in the cooking done resplendently. Still it is bread, water and kimchi for us in Seoul now.
- Price – EUR 1,000 and up for two people
- Address – Via Ghibellina 87 50122 Firenze (+39 055 242757)