We tried Rustico in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, and had a true taste of authentic Italian
Stepping into Rustico in Bury St Edmunds you can’t help but feel fully transported away to Italy from the get-go.
Coming into the 18th century building in Risbygate Street, you could be mistaken into thinking that you were in rural Tuscany.
The naturally aged timbers in the walls and ceiling, the solid wooden tables and wine racks showcasing some of the country’s finest grape offerings, instantly gives off a welcoming and unfussed vibe – it could not be more Italian if it tried.
After sitting at one of the tables I was handed a menu, adorned with Italian staples – an assortment of pasta dishes lovingly made daily, wood-fired pizzas and lasagna – the choices made me wish the table as well as my stomach were double the size.
But picking tomato bruschetta, Ossobuco alla Milanese (slow cooked beef shin with saffron risotto) and Tiramisu, I sat back and watched the world go by the restaurant’s windows.
It was not long before I heard the ding of the kitchen bell and in an instant my bruschetta was put in front of me.
Now people may question my choice as being too simple a dish, but what it may lack for others in bells and whistles it more than made up for in flavour.
The garlic and herb oil showcased the perfectly ripe sweetness of the tomatoes like a dream.
I slowly began taking some of the towering tomatoes off it, like a tasty version of Jenga, but after the first couple I succumbed to fully picking it up.
The bread had taken on the flavours but was still crisp to the bite, this brought a smile to my face and a question in my mind - why have I not been here before now?
As the fully finished plate left, I was disappointed it was gone and could have quite easily sat on a veranda that afternoon tucking into more of those.
But next was a hearty dish ready to also fill my soul with joy – Ossobuco alla Milanese.
This cross cut of slow roasted meat rested on its vibrant yellow risotto and had already come away from the bone, which is always a good sign.
The fork tender meat combined with the flavoursome stock coated rice and the sprinkling of lemon zest lifting the whole thing was just pure bliss to experience.
At this point, I met chef Marian Grosoiu, who is also part owner of the restaurant.
Coming out to say hello, he explained that the two dishes I had eaten so far were the two he and his wife, fellow chef and owner Silene Ziglioli, made for their other business partner Michele Pagliuca at Christmas 2019, when the idea came about.
Placing my knife and fork on my now empty plate, I think if I had been at that table I might have emptied the bank too to be involved in beautiful food like this.
But the best was yet to come, a dish that completely took my breath away – tiramisu.
As my spoon pierced the soft creaminess of it, taking a piece and putting it into my mouth - I had a moment.
It took me right back to a flat in Verona, about 25 years ago, where my exchange student’s mum had been up early doors to lovingly prepare this dessert and gave me my first true taste of this incredible dish.
After coming back to the present, the rich indulgent coffee flavour, perfectly soaked sponge, the silky smoothness of the mascarpone was the closest thing I have had to that first taste more than two decades ago – just wow.
I have never been so disappointed to hit the bottom of a dish before and saying goodbye to the last spoonful was hard, but I had to tuck those memories of the food now and then away as the bowl left the table.
During our conversation earlier, Marian said: “We do this to make people happy, if they come here and enjoy the food and leave with a smile on their face, our job is done.”
As I walked back out into the street, not into Verona but Bury, Marian and Silene had given me a grin as wide as the Grand Canal – definitely jobs well done here chefs, definitely jobs well done here.