Pretty Piazza Alessandria behind Porta Pia, in central north Rome, has become something of a trendy dining district in recent times.
Here, post-industrial cool meets modern aesthetics, with plenty of bars and restaurants fashioned from the remains of the former Peroni Beer factory, which sprawled across this site at the turn of the last century.
Piazza Alessandria’s latest new entry is a bar, cafe, wine bar and bistrot called Kabb which makes the most of its vintage and period fittings to create a warm and welcoming space.
Open from early in the morning until late at night, the Kabb experience starts at breakfast with homemade plum cake and croissants, and finishes around midnight with dinner and wine or cocktails. (The wine list, presented on an electronic tablet, is impressively extensive).
The brain child of local entreprenuer Luigi Biasini, the name Kabb comes from the initials of Biasini’s sons and daughters-in-law, a cute tribute to the fact that this is very much a family-run business which takes pride in service and quality.
While I would be very tempted to return for breakfast, cocktails, or simply a glass of wine, I recently sat down for dinner at Kabb and had a very pleasant experience. The menu is distinguished by fresh, vegetarian-friendly dishes with a keen price point, a welcome change in this rather high-end neighbourhood.
The antipasti dishes in particular were impressive, priced at around €10 – great value for the quality. Above, this sensational roast octopus – seasoned with paprika – was served with freshly marinated vegetables. (€12)
My dining companion ordered this sensational dish of lightly breaded baccalà, served on a bed of puntarelle greens, with a puree of beetroot. Lovely fresh flavours for the reasonable price of €10.
I ordered these broccoli spring rolls, served with creamy burrata and sun-blush tomatoes. It was extremely well done – a great blend of flavours – for just €10.
The beauty of Kabb lies in its informality but the atmosphere also lends itself to a dinner with colleagues, a romantic tête-à-tête, as well as a party with friends.
The first course dishes range from €10 to €15 and include classics from Roman cuisine, often revisited with a twist. My dining companion ordered this incredible spaghetti alla vongole – spaghetti with clams – from the daily specials menu and I was green with envy!
This fresh pasta tonnarelli dish isn’t exactly what is seems – the pasta is combined with artichokes, Sardinian cheese and zingy Sezchuan pepper (€12) to create something modern and fresh.
I ordered this fillet of sea bass to follow, which was delicately poached to retain a beautiful texture. It was served on two fat chips and accompanied by seasonal artichokes (€18).
The dessert menu is worth your time – how about this gooey chocolate tart with vanilla sauce and pistachio ice-cream? (€8.00)
I was dying for something healthy and fresh, and this fruit plate – with vanilla ice-cream served in a hazelnut wafer – really hit the spot (€8).
Overall, the Kabb experience was a very positive one and I really enjoyed the ambience, service and was impressed by the keen price point. Definitely an easy option in the Porta Pia neighbourhood and worth a trip to north Rome.
KABB – Bistrot Enoteca Caffetteria Cocktail Bar | Via Mantova 9 | Rome, Italy | Tel 0039 0637896073
Testaccina was a guest of Kabb