Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Duomo - Two Michelin Star Dining in Sicily

I have eaten in a couple of restaurants I would class as very high standard; Neven Maguire's MacNean Restaurant in Cavan stands out, as does the beautiful gourmet getaway, The Old Convent in Tipperary. L'Écrivain, with its one Michelin star in Dublin didn't fully wow me as I thought it would. So, I was certainly excited but also had some mixed feelings about what to expect in Duomo, a two Michelin star restaurant in the spectacular UNESCO baroque town of Ragusa Ibla in Sicily.

The entrance to the restaurant, very closely located behind the beautiful Duomo di San Giorgio church is muted and understated. The interior is composed of little sectioned rooms with large tables and chairs, giving a definite air of luxury, privacy and space for the diners.

Left - the church; Right - Duomo Restaurant

We chose the 'gourmet rapid lunch', which suited me down to the ground in that it is a chef's surprise menu. Being a food lover, something like this is one of the best kind of surprises. Another happy surprise, for us leisurely tourists, was that it wasn't one bit rapid. It is supposed to include three courses, when in fact, between the little welcome course, petits fours etc., I think I counted nine distinct courses! We could happily graze and take our time over the delicious food and fabulous wine.

There is a strong focus on seafood and the authentic food of Sicily. Every course was well presented, carefully cooked and well thought out by the chef, who made an appearance on two occasions to say hello to diners, which I thought was a nice touch. Highlights were the pork served along with pork heart. It almost looked and tasted like beef - it was an extraordinary dish. The pasta with sardines was also very tasty, the cannoli as dessert was scrumptious and the homemade breads, in their simplicity, were fantastic. 

A little visual selection of some of our dishes at Duomo...

The bread plate - the mini pizzas were divine

Seafood pasta

Pork and pork heart

A lovely, sweet surprise

Typical Sicilian cannoli
The service was very top notch. In a way, you could say a little stuffy, but that's Michelin star. Everything, within reason, is done for you - opening the door to the bathroom area, rearranging your serviette, refilling lovely San Pellegrino water whenever it runs any way low and just generally checking you are happy and enjoying yourself. I have to say, I appreciate this kind of spoiling every now and then, it has its time and place.

Our meal included three glasses of wine and we started with some delicious Sicilian fizz from the Palermo region. The knowledgeable sommelier explained that it was a Chardonnay grape variety. We then requested to move on to red and for our next two glasses we had the most delicious Nero d'Avola of our entire week on the island. It was a knockout with the food. Yum.

Duomo gets a thumbs up and for lunch priced at €60 per person (excl. tip) for this seriously high quality food including wine, plentiful bottled water and lots of extra courses, I believe it was very well worth it and a really special treat.

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