Pop-up dining in Rome, as in many other capitals around the world, is now officially a thing. While the social dining movement started – like so many disruptive trends – with informal, unmanaged and unlicensed home restaurants, it has quickly evolved into a two-speed race featuring the amateurs and the professionals.
Not that amateur is all bad. We’ve had lots of fun in the past with BonAppetour social dining – literally, a dinner party hosted by Italian families, couples or singles with a talent for cooking, offering a chance to peek into their world. It can be cheap, too – from around €35 / €40 per head, including fairly free-flowing wine and sufficient quality to balance the eccentricities of home dining.
Pop-up dining in Rome: Talea Events
So why should you choose one of Talea Events’ #oursecrettable experiences when seeking pop-up dining in Rome? The price is higher, but the experience is in a different league. My invite to Talea Events’ debut Roman #mysecrettable dinner arrived – I kid you not – attached to a pomegranate, in the post. (I love pomegranates). A scrap of paper revealed the location and the start time for the dinner event. Nothing else was shared (although I was given the opportunity before to communicate allergies as well as vegetarian / vegan preferences).
I arrived at the designated location – an old pasta factory in San Lorenzo, which has evolved in recent times into an art gallery, creative space and all-round hipster dream – and followed the instructions to head to a goods lift at the end of the yard. This was a vertically opening goods lift, a remaining fragment of the pasta factory’s industrial past.
The building is a handsome jumble of black angles, iron and cement, and I took in every cool detail as I reached the gorgeous loft apartment, transported into a design world little-seen in Rome. A long table in front of a dance mirror, dressed with winter plants and flowers both along the wood and suspended in the air, set a seasonal theme. I was handed a glass of wine and started chatting to the other guests, a mix of cool creatives and curious diners.
Pop-up dining in Rome: The #oursecrettable team
Talea Events’ secret weapon is chef Veronica Paolillo, former owner of Monti’s cult Tricolore Panino Gourmet, who has been joined by Seattle-born chef Kaite Gallego at the stove. Together, they produce a menu which excells in simplicity and quality, with a particular nod to copious amounts of seasonal vegetables and hand-made breads.
We dined on homemade foccacia, orange and red onion salad, whole pumpkin soup served in a gourd, roast chicken with seasonal vegetables, plus marinated pears for dessert in solar lamp jars, like a magical globe full of fireflies.
In terms of the space for the debut dinner, In Black Kitchen Studio is a kind of speakasy of the dining world – a former industrial space fashioned into a private kitchen and dining area, with lots of cosy corners deserving entries in home and style magazines.
Pop-up dining in Rome: Next #oursecrettable event
The next #oursecrettable pop-up dining in Rome opportunity is on December 15th, and can currently be booked here at a discounted rate. Pay a €25 deposit today, and the rest at the meal (the total cost discounted cost is €70 per head, plus €20 for the selection of free-flowing, organic and local wine).
The experience is truly a unique one, pitched somewhere between a secret restaurant and a VIP gourmet experience, rather than having the adhoc vibe of a home dining occasion. I would highly recommend it to transform your trip to Rome into something really unique and off the beaten track.
Talea Events will be planning a full programme of dinners and even foodie retreats in Rome and beyond for 2018, so as ever, bookmark the blog – and I’ll see you there!
Testaccina was a guest of Talea Events at their debut #oursecrettable dinner in Rome
To book the next dinner or for further enquiries, click here.
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