Rating: 9 / 10
"Should I go to Tandem Ragu?" - I asked the waitress at Spazio Neo.
"Oh...... eating there is like getting a warm hug from your Grandmother"
Not entirely sure what to expect I badgered my friend into joining me on a rather brisk day in Naples. We headed for a coffee then walked round the corner crossing our fingers for a free table. Bingo! Seated, menu read, starters and mains ordered, we sat wondering what a culinary interpretation of a hug would taste like. We were about to find out.
As the starter arrived a couple entered with one toddler and another newborn in a pram. My heart sank. If there is one thing that murders the very fabric of my soul it is close proximity to a screaming infant. I actually began to plan moving outside even tho the temperature was frigid. I'd much rather turn into an ice lolly than be subjected to the yelpings of a strangers congress.
A deep scent drifted in from the kitchen whenever the swing door was opened. The type of smell that awakens expectations, sends minds spiralling and pre-emptively prepares your stomach.
Out came the plates, and we tucked in, and we spoke not, and time stood still, and the cries of the baby went unnoticed, and an ambulance flew past in the distance, and the pitter-patter of feet didn't distract us from the job at hand. We dove into those plates, forks at the ready for when the chewing had stopped, shovelling mouthful after mouthful of rich, unctuous, decadent, homey, comforting ragu wrapped around gnocchi and pasta and sprinkled with parmesan cheese and punctured with a fresh basil leaf. And the meal danced in dizzying spirals, and we ate more than we should, and the plates were stripped bare, and our stomachs groaned, and the bill came and we joyously paid and thanked the staff and rose to our feet and walked out into the comatose streets of someone who had just been hugged by their grandma and then seated at the dinner table and stuffed to within an inch of their lives.
Best Ragu ever. Period!
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"