Iconic Rome and Testaccio osteria Flavio al Velavevodetto has opened inside Eataly with a street food stand, serving hot and cold highlights of Roman cuisine in snack sized portions to take away.
Located at the entrance to Eataly, on the ground floor, the Flavio al Velavevodetto street food corner is instantly noticeable not least for the delicious smells and sights emerging from behind the counter.
Restaurateur Flavio di Maio explains that the collaboration with Eataly stems from the idea of combining typical Roman cuisine with take away options, to make the culinary specialities of the Eternal City even more accessible to the general public.
‘It’s actually not really a new practice,’ says Flavio. ‘In the past, housewives provided us with the ingredients to make the dishes they required, or came to the restaurant with an empty pot and asked us to fill it with tripe, meatballs, or whatever we were serving that day, to then consume the meal at home.’
Flavio al Velavevodetto at Eataly Ostiense: what’s on the menu?
The famous Testaccio osteria is serving a range of traditional Roman dishes at Eataly, including chicken, rabbit, lamb and beef, as well as plenty of more ‘difficult’ specialities including offal, which are truly emblematic of Testaccio’s culinary traditions.
The vegetables will vary seasonally and the menu will change every two weeks, making space for new, delicious and above all seasonal options. All year round, expect meatballs with tomato sauce, Roman-style tripe, artichokes and potatoes, Roman-style chicken, boiled veal steaks, oxtail, veal rolls covered in sauce and much more. Main courses cost from €7-€8, while vegetable portions, such as the Roman-style artichoke, cost €4.
At the moment, pasta won’t be on the menu, but Flavio points out that in Roman cuisine, second courses were always repurposed to make pasta dishes as well.
‘Oxtail sauce, for example, makes a delicious pasta dish combined with rigatoni; the same with involtini, that sauce is just trying out to be combined with pasta. That’s what Italian housewives have always done – they stewed meat for second courses and then used the sauce to dress pasta as well.’
Cacio e pepe is made from just three ingredients. Adding anything else is like putting curtains on the Colosseum.
Flavio al Velavevodetto at Eataly Ostiense: new dishes on the way?
While Flavio says he is open to developing new recipes and promotes the variety provided by seasonal changes, he is a staunch defender of Roman cuisine.
‘Cacio e pepe is made from just three ingredients. Adding anything else is like putting curtains on the Colosseum.’
He also underlines that he was extremely cautious about striking up the partnership with Eataly, as it was crucial to get this right.
‘It’s just a few minutes from Testaccio, which is important, because I want to keep a close eye on everything,’ he says.
‘We don’t have full kitchens at Eataly so we’re still preparing just about everything in the kitchens of Flavio al Velavevodetto at Monte di Cocci, before compiling it on site at Eataly.
It’s really important to me that the quality is consistent, even if the serving methods are different.’
Chatting to Flavio, you have a sense that this is not so much about diffusing the brand or making a fast buck, as about bringing real Roman cuisine into Eataly.
It helps that Oscar Farinetti’s empire has spent the last few years paying homage to Rome’s rioni or districts in general. That includes immediate neighbourhoods Garbatella and Testaccio, where it has many food partners, such as cult baker and confectioner Linari, which has been responsible for a number of Eataly’s celebratory cakes.
The result is one of inviting Rome’s real food heroes into Eataly, to really learn from these iconic producers.
Watch this space for more Eataly and Testaccio news!