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Mona Farrugia reviews Luna di Sera - 2011

Mona Farrugia and The Writer plan their date night and some mind-blowing sex around the only real romantic restaurant in Malta.


 
Mona Farrugia reviews Luna di Sera - 2011
Mona Farrugia reviews Luna di Sera - 2011
Editor rating
 
5.0 User rating
 
5.0 (1)

I forced myself to watch Date Night. It is a film where two of my favourite actors – Steve Carrell and Tina Fey – get together to produce a very boring movie the topic of which most couples of some years’ standing will identify with: when you live, eat and sleep together do you actually need to have dates? Or can you plod on, in your boring and cuddly little lives, without them?


Far be it for me to dictate your lives as DJ Pierre and YeyYeyMireille are naively trying to do but hey I would seriously suggest that every now and again, you put on the glitz and go out, together, alone.


The process is as important as the food so Gourmet Worrier tweeted me in the morning ‘What are you wearing?’. ‘Something I can take off quickly’ I retorted. After all, date nights for Smug Marrieds are in fact, all about the post-prandial sex.


As it were I pulled on a Dita-esque Aquascutum and the 5-inch heeled back-breaking McQueens. The last time I wore this dress my publisher was asked, apparently more than once, if ‘she’s had her tits done…pah’ by some women. So I guessed that was a good thing and wore it. The heels slide out constantly so I have to take very small steps, like a 5 foot 9 tiny Chinese lady, which makes me walk demurely and very weirdly. In other words, I was not putting on clothes: I was doing myself over.


The Writer was in his Gucci finest looking as handsome as ever. I’m slightly biased of course but it is important for couples to be biased towards each other (rather than biased towards others). We met, having applied various perfumed unguents to our naked, sight unseen (get ready in different bathrooms to preserve the mystique) bodies, in the hall. ‘Nice’ I said, appraising him up and down. ‘Harrumph…’ he said doing the same. Then he waited a couple of seconds and came back with ‘that’s a compliment by the way’.


Romantic – which in Malta also sometimes translates as ‘fine dining’ – restaurants have a tall order to reach. They must not only deliver the ambience, the food, the stunning service but they must also present a platform for much, much post-prandial sex. Every single couple – from the first-few-daters to the seriously-togethers to the smug-marrieds by way of the god-I’m-spending-so-much-I-hope-she-lets-me-up-her-skirt-after-this – knows this. Romantic dining is so much more than just about the food.


In the case of Luna di Sera, the owners, management and staff stop at nothing to lay on a fabulous night out. They know their responsibility. They know they are not running a pizza place or a burger bar. They know that they play a huge part in couples’ romantic lives.


I’m a regular at Caffe Luna (basically The Gay Best Friend wants to go nowhere but) so I had a chance to test the new staff, including the new Italian Food and Beverage manager, in the afternoon. I made them make me a milkshake without milk. Not once did I get laughs or panic or anything negative. If they could do that (and they did) and provide blankets so that we could sit outside, they could do anything.


Luna di Sera is the romantic restaurant in Malta. The closest you can get to its level of refinement is De Mondion but if you do not get the view (at the latter) the dining room just does not compare. The reason Luna di Sera is so wonderful is that its owners – the Baroness called Muffy and her stunning daughter Justine – are so absolutely obsessed with detail that no male-run outfit could even start.


Take the small pieces of polished glass – transparent and mauve – scattered very strategically on the table. Take the two rose buds in differing shades of dark and light pink placed perfectly inside a tiny glass cup. Take the crockery, which is lush but not formulaic. Take the behavior of the staff. Take the very uniform of the girls who are decked out in black skater skirts but look stylish instead of tart-like. There is nothing that misses a mark in this place.


So you basically walk into a little nook (actually a beautiful and huge room with fresco-ed ceilings) where a band plays. It’s a duo – a guy on synths, another on guitar – and they are good. Not good in a The Wedding Singer kind of way, but really, utterly befitting of the place, contemporary without being over-the-top. They played music we actually enjoy, so much so that I clapped at the end like old people used to do at the Premiere back in the day. The Writer didn’t even want to leave. ‘Can they bring us the food here?’ he asked, probably missing the sofa at home.


The cocktails list is seriously impressive and puts to shame even that at most bars. Which means that you don’t even need to go to Luna di Sera for a posh night out: you can basically turn up for a drink and you’d still need to do the posh-wear thing. I had a perfect dirty martini which was beautifully aromatic. The Writer stuck to his negroni even though I exhorted him to have the Singapore Sling. Two teeny weeny thingies in breadcrumbs accompanied by sauce tartare turned up. I got into the general scheme of things and fed TW one of them.


We were going over the menu, which comes in a Ladies’ and Gents’ version, like a loo but without the ablutions. In other words, I had no idea what the prices were. I find that essential in these ludicrous days of feminist political correctness. TW later told me that starters are at around 17 and mains 40, which is basically the same as it has been for quite some time.


The guy opposite us was crunching crisps in an open mouth (his) as he tried to impress his date. No matter how brilliant a restaurant is nothing even comes close to human behavior, or a lack of eating manners in this case. If I were accompanying him, I’d probably have left. So he’s lucky I wasn’t.


Here is a list of never-ending food from the menu degustation (selling at 70 per person for a minimum of 2). We kicked off with a scallop, seared and served with its own roe in a light tempura over smoked parsnip. I loved how the smoke wafted up and hit the olfactory senses. A generous amouse bouche if there ever was one.


We moved on to the money bag packed with fish. I love this kind of drama, the waiters opening the crinkling plastic, the perfume of the Mediterranean reminding me of summer: the cipollazza with prawns, capers, tomato and a little potato ball reminded me of my dad’s lampuka with tomato sauce. It was fragrant and playful and fun, like a splash in the sea.


Then the risotto which I must say, has improved dramatically since I last had it here when it was a little chalky. It came with artichokes, pecorino and mint and was starchy, comforting and more like gnocchi in texture than risotto according to TW who was, by now, constantly checking the football results.


Moving on to a cleansing tangerine sorbet. How long it is since I have had a sorbet to cleanse the palate in a local restaurant, and how essential it is when you are eating non-stop as in a degustation situation. Palazzo Parisio were literally giving away citrus in the afternoon, all gathered from their seriously impressive gardens and chef managed to keep the beauty of the oils from the zest right in that sorbet. I also glimpsed a potted tree with the real Maltese blood orange growing out of it. Did you know that we have our own?


Onwards to a guinea fowl terrine-like flakes of meat and jelly, with a beautiful dressing and lamb’s lettuce, green and fresh and bitter. Then my favourite, a beautiful poulet de Bresse with raisin, red peppers and a rosemary jus. Nobody else in Malta, to my knowledge, stocks or cooks the wonderful French chicken so some time ago I actually snuck one in. It costs 40 euro a kilo so if you find it on a restaurant menu, order it.


The wine pairing, which we left up to them (good restaurants employ good and enthusiastic staff – far be it for me to try and invent my own pairings) was absolutely spot on, culminating in an outstanding Nero d’Avola which accompanied a wonderful veal guanciale (cheek) and a potato skin wrapped around its own puree. It was unctuous and heavy going and made me wonder why nobody else in Malta does a good guanciale.


There were three desserts, of course; how can a supper such as this culminate in just one? They were simple and lovely and did not vanish up their own backsides in chef’s ego: some white chocolate mousse, a cup of gianduia and a stunning soufflé which outdid itself in technical perfection and which came with a not-thin not-thick Grand Marnier sauce.


It was a faultless meal from start to finish, culminating in a bit of cigarette smoking and coffees and tisanes in the beautiful garden where we were wrapped in the Palazzo Parisio blankets and given hot water bottles to offset the night’s chill.


Oh god…wasn’t this supposed to end in mind-blowing sex? How on earth did we end up wrapped up like a couple of old people in somebody else’s garden? Smug Marrieds huh? You can’t beat it.

Additional Information

Location

Address 29 Victory Square Naxxar
Town Naxxar
Country Malta

Restaurant

Cuisine Haute Cuisine

Contact Details

Website http://www.palazzoparisio.com
Contact Number 00356 21412461 Ext 2

Map

 

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Rating:
 
5.0
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Mona Farrugia
March 07, 2011
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Rating:
 
5.0   (1)
 
 
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Mona Farrugia
March 07, 2011
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The whole plebs/boobs/boob job connection escapes me.

 
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Chris
March 07, 2011
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Yes :) He should be in a more informed position than us mere plebs.

 
Rating:
 
5.0
Mona Farrugia
March 07, 2011
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Heq Chris I had only wore it just the once. I figured if women hated it then hubby would love it (following your advice at the time).
What do you mean 'did TW think so too?'. As in did he think I had a boob job?

 
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Chris
March 07, 2011
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ah, The Return of The Dress, i see. Yep, got lots of questions about Mona's boob-makeover after your appearance in it. Did TW think so too? ;)

 
 
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