Brylla – the Italian word for tipsy (spelled brilla) – happens to also be a perky winebar in Rome which is full of brilliant ideas.
Located in north Rome, in the Trieste neighbourhood – not far from the S. Agnese Metro stop – Brylla has set out its stall to serve wines for every mood, accompanied by bar food which runs the gamut from informal nibbles to gourmet dishes.
The wine list says it all – divided into three sections, including scacciapensieri – carefree, easy drinking wines – comfort wines – from breakup to celebration tipples – and riflessivi – serious wines for important moments, the hard work has already been done for you.
We started with a refined, ‘metodo classico’ bubbly, which went perfectly with a tasty opening snack – anchovies and butter on fresh bread (€12). Pate and smoked salmon platters are also available for similar prices in the nibbles section of the menu.
This classic appetiser, with lightly salted butter, always hits the spot, and the sparkling wine cut cleanly through the oil of the anchovies. Perfection.
The next dish that caught my eye was this beautiful deep fried artichoke with a sliver of cooked, cured ham (€7). In-season artichokes have to be on your go-to list when visiting Rome – they are prepared in several ways and always provide a lovely savoury side, with smoky, softly bitter flavour.
I defy you to spend an afternoon or an evening in Brylla and not get up to wander round and peer at the wine-lined walls, and lovely wine guide books which inspire drinking even more.
As well as the main bar area, with its handsome wrap around counter for dining directly at the bar – my favourite place to be – there’s another dining room on a mezzanine level which inspires dining-for-two, or an easier, longer dinner.
The next wine I tried was this lovely, complex Nebbiolo from Piemonte. The Brylla bar-staff are equipped with Coravin wine bottle-sealing technology, allowing them to siphon off a glass of your choice without opening (and potentially ruining, via oxidation) the whole bottle. This means that the wine by the glass list is much more ample than your average wine bar, and the quality is always that of a freshly opened bottle. Very impressive.
I was still peckish and this baked-cheese semi-sweet crumble with pumpkin proved a glorious next choice. Oven-baked goodies like this place many of the Brylla specialities firmly in the comfort food class. Something I am more than happy to support.
I was enjoying the wine so much that I had to try it with something else – turns out Brylla’s cheese board selection is second to none. Served with tart and sweet chutneys and jellies, it makes for an extremely tasty end to a dinner, or a means to an end it itself (for an aperitivo, for example). Boards of cheese and cold cuts start at around €9.
The daily specials board has other great ideas, plus the reminder that if you want to bring your own bottle, you may. For a small charge, the restaurant will even extract a glass using the Coravin system, in case you don’t plan on finishing it. Also, desserts cost a respectable €6 and range from apple crumble to Bryllamisu, plus daily changing specials.
It’s another example of the great service at Brylla, although my tip would be to try the wines in house as the selection is phenomenal. Pull up a seat at the bar, and ask for suggestions from the brilliant and friendly bar staff. I can guarantee, you’ll be glad you came.
Brylla, Via Chiana 77, Rome Tel +39 06 8535 5669
Testaccina was a guest of Brylla