Fancy lunches aren't a regular for me and B. Eating out is, but fancy food isn't. Something about overly attentive waiting staff, endless topping up of wine glasses, bread being placed on a plate rather than left in a basket, guilt for ordering tap water and not something more exiting, and food plated up like a piece of art makes me a little nervous and uncomfortable.
If we hadn't been in the midst of the most relaxing week in Puglia, we might have found this meal at Osteria già sotto l'arco more than a little stressful. But as it is, we soon got over the fact that we were the only people in a restaurant; that there were many, many staff waiting on our little table; that we didn't want 500 courses or a glass of Champagne on arrival. The saving grace was that I didn't have to worry about the other guests hating us because we had the best table, the 'million dollar' table for two, overlooking the beautiful Carovigno square.
And so lunch began not with Champagne but a glass of Fiano and lots of sparkling water. A selection of bread arrived and was balanced on a small plate in a tower, olive oil swirled in to a dipping bowl, all over a crisp, bright white tablecloth. A sip of wine, a deep breath, and we relaxed into this pampering. The oregano bread roll was enough to bring smiles to our faces and stop us fretting about not being suitable for this lunch.
After a 'Two courses, yes, why not?' conversation with the waiter, food started arriving.
A fresh anchovy niblet to start. That went pretty quickly. Yum.
Burrata with tomato sauce, Capocollo di Martina Franca and dried tomatoes. Super, super creamy, rich, exploding, wonderful burrata. Heaven. I need many, many superlatives to describe my love for burrata. B keeps saying I'm cheating on ricotta with burrata. Sorry ricotta.
Orrechiette with lamb for B. I was allowed a mouthful but that was my ration. It was rather wonderful and neither of us were willing to give away more than a forkful from our large plates.
Aubergine and ricotta potato-based ravioli for me. A gnocchi texture put in the best form of pasta, with a delicate little filling and a hint of tomato.
Rabbit for B. Beautifully stuffed and presented, and with just the right amount of gamey-ness.
I would say we were too full for pudding, but we did want coffee, and coffee was offered in pudding form. Coffee granita, almond ice cream and candied nuts with zabaione. I don't think I need to say anything about this.
A couple of glasses of wine, lots of sunshine and platefuls of Puglia at its finest later, we headed home. Not much moving from under the sunshine happened that afternoon.
Osteria già sotto l'arco, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 7, Carovigno.