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La Terrazza dell'Eden
The terrace gourmet restaurant at Hotel Eden in Rome with chef Adriano Cavagnini
Article added on June 1, 2007
  
The terrace restaurant of the Hotel Eden, La Terrazza dell'Eden, is one of Rome's notable gourmet restaurants. The conclusion from our testing is simple: chef Adriano Cavagnini deserves a Michelin star.

The chef joined
Hotel Eden in July 2003 from the sister hotel Le Méridien Grosvenor House in London. At La Terrazza dell'Eden”, he offers innovative ideas based on traditional principles of the Mediterranean gastronomic art, especially the modern Italian cuisine. Adriano Cavagnini told me that he uses Italian ingredients and tries to keep it simple, including for instance grilled fish (grigliata di pesce) on the menu.

Influences from France and here and there even from Asia (e.g. ginger) can be felt, but they are not in the foreground. He offers no fusion or molecular cuisine. He highlights the regional Italian cuisine, especially from Rome-Lazio, the Lombardy and the Abruzzi mountain region. He offers pasta abruzzese as well as carciofi and fiori di zucca fritti o ripieni, both from Rome.

16 cooks cater to a maximum à la carte capacity of 60 guests. The menu changes four times a year according to the season. An additional tasting menu changes once every 1-2 months. Daily specials are offered too. There are always a few vegetarian courses on the menu. In order to have a wider choice, just let the chef know in advance.

According to Adriano Cavagnini, some 60% of the guests come from the outside, many of them are regulars, and 40% are hotel guests. For dinner time, reservations in advance are recommended at La Terrazza dell' Eden.

Review of a dinner at La Terrazza dell'Eden
Reviewed in 2007 by Louis Gerber and Mme Bolasco

The dinner started with a glass of Champagne Cristal Louis Roederer. As always, nine types of bred were served, including excellent ones with aubergines and tomatoes, one other type of bred being on the dry side.

The “normal” appetizer offered perfection: a tuna carpaccio with ginger was ideally combined with a pomegranate sauce. The vegetarian appetizer consisted of spaghettini with basil and tomato on a balsamico vinegar sauce. The result was a statement of mouth-watering excellence.

One starter was a goose foie-gras roulade with black truffle and roasted quail breast and lentils. The foie-gras was not oily, but light as a mousse, delicate and intense in taste. The combination of goose and quail was perfect, as was the starter as a whole. It was accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Vulcalia, which proofed to be an excellent choice to accompany the foie-gras.

The vegetarian starter consisted of zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and a light Lombardic Taleggio cheese, black olives and cherry tomatoes. The light and subtle dish was refined by an outstandingly aromatic basil leaf. The simpler the dish, the more important the ingredients. It was accompanied by a glass of the local Frascati Filonardi Villa Simone 2005, a wine grown in the area of the Roman castles (Castelli romani), which can be seen from La Terrazza dell'Eden.

The vegetarian main dish from the menu was a Treviso red chicory raviolo, stuffed with goat cheese, walnuts and thyme. The raviolo and goat cheese (Caprino del Veneto) were additionally lightly spiced with rosemary. As balanced as the pasta was, one would have wished just a larger quantity.

The other main dish was a fish. More precisely an oven baked filet of sea-bass, ideally prepared to the point, with watercress and potato crust, on a bed of tiny “Castelluccio” lentils and Jerusalem artichokes. A dish that left the taster speechless.

Of course, we had to try the quintessential Italian dessert, the Tiramisù. The chef's “revisited” version contained no alcohol and was not “running”, it could stand alone. The Tiramisù as well as the assorted mascarpone delights were refined and outstanding. They were served with a caramelized baby pear and marinated Chinese peppercorns, the only part of a dessert which could not fully satisfy us.

A chocolate flan with a runny basil chocolate, a crunchy biscuit and a cocoa and passion fruit sorbet seemed an unusual combination at first, but convinced us in the end.

Among the other desserts we tested was a composition with a strawberry soup with mini-Neapolitan babà and aged Modena balsamico sorbet. The vinegar sorbet was not a gimmick, something just meant to be special, it was an unsurpassable delight!

The prices at La Terrazza dell'Eden are high. They are justified, not just because of the spectacular view. Adriano Cavagnini and his team offer an outstanding gourmet cuisine. We were not the only ones to notice this. At this Monday evening, the restaurant was fully booked.



Biography of chef Adriano Cavagnini 

Adriano Cavagnini was born in 1970 in Brescia. He began cooking at the age of thirteen. He acquired the passion for cooking from his ancestors who, in 1885, had founded a restaurant on Lake Garda. His great-grandfather, his grandfather and his mother had all been chefs in their traditional local trattoria (1885-1996). Adriano Cavagnini used to live above their restaurant. He almost literally grew up in the kitchen.

He studied at the Caterina de Medici Institute at Lake Garda from 1984 until 1989 and specialized in lacustral cuisine. During three months a year, he was offered trainings in local restaurants where he became familiar with the regional cuisine.

In 1990, Adriano Cavagnini got a job at the Hyde Park Hotel in London, today's Mandarin Oriental - one of my favorite London hotels with an excellent fusion chef, a hotel in which I became familiar with
Jo Malone products. Back to our chef: at the Hyde Park Hotel, he worked under the French executive chef Jérôme Dutoit, who later worked for Harrods. From him, Adriano Cavagnini learned the basics of French cuisine. During this period, Marco Pierre White opened his first restaurant at the Hyde Park Hotel; Cavagnini however worked in another kitchen of the hotel.

Afterwards, the aspiring young cook went six months to Brazil, where he took part in a restaurant opening. It was not a gourmet cuisine, but what mattered for Adriano Cavagnini was the contact with a cuisine new to him.

In 1992, he went to Switzerland. In Vevey, he worked at La Terrasse, a small restaurant owned by Mr. Verasani, a cook from Bologna who offered on six tables traditional dishes from the Emiglia Romagna for up to only 20 guests.

In 1993, Adriano Cavagnini actively took part in the creation of the new avant-garde cuisine with the latest technology at Harrods in London, personally taking care of the dishes served to the owner family of Mohamed Al Fayed, who especially liked Thai and Italian food.

Adriano Cavagnini went on to work in London's elegant Knightsbridge area as sous-chef in the traditional restaurant Montpeliano, run by an Italian chef who also owned I Tre Re in the Piemonte region.

During the summer season, Adriano Cavagnini worked in Sardinia, not known enough, according to him because the Sardinians cannot sell their island, which is only busy two months a year. He was a sous-chef in the “Club Sardo” on the Costa Smeralda.

From 1996 to 2003, Adriano Cavagnini worked as sous-chef, from 1997 onwards as chef at
Le Méridien Grosvenor House in London, where he served many famous guests including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. At the beginning, he worked under Stefano Savio, who currently runs the “Quirinale”, according to Cavagnini the best Italian restaurant in London. As in Hotel Eden, Cavagnini offered modern cuisine from all Italian regions at the restaurant in the Grosvernor House, first known as “La Terrazza” and in 2001 renamed after him “Adriano”. At the Grosvenor House, he had two executive chefs working with him, first Michael Glynn, later Fabrizio Cadei, who currently is the chef at the hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan.

In July 2003, Adriano Cavagnini joined Hotel Eden. He was officially presented as the new chef in September 2003.


Chef Adriano Cavagnini. Photo © Hotel Eden, Rome.
 


The garden terrace. Photos © Hotel Eden, Rome.




The terrace at Hotel Eden.
Photos © Hotel Eden, Rome.


La Terrazza dell'Eden.
Photos © Hotel Eden, Rome.


La Terrazza Bar, where I enjoyed a tea by
Mariage Frères and a gateau San Giuseppe (Zeppole or Frittelle), similar to French beignets.. Photos © Hotel Eden, Rome.


The view from La Terrazza dell'Eden. In the 19th century, the terrace was originally used to hang out the Eden's linen sheets, towels and finely embroidered table cloths. P
hotos © Hotel Eden, Rome.


The chef at work - Adriano Cavagnini. Photos © Hotel Eden, Rome.
 

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