Ormeggio at the Spit is the kind of restaurant that invites daydreaming.

Maybe it’s that view, evocative of long evenings spent on a Mediterranean shore, watching the sun glisten on the water as boats rock gently in the ebbing tides.

Perhaps it’s the cool, Scandi-esque fit-out, which eschews tablecloths for comfortable formality with sleek timber lines and dark, metallic fixtures.

Or it might be the unobtrusive yet familial service, which anticipates diners’ needs without ever interrupting.

But most likely to set minds to wandering is the food. Executive chef Alessandro Pavoni’s dexterously executed menu evolves with the seasons and is given a major overhaul every year. It’s a menu that recalls classic Italian dishes, but delivers them in a series of often unrecognisable contemporary reinterpretations.

The generous snacks that act as the curtain-raiser for the tasting menu, for example, have in the past included a play on the iconic vitello tonnato in the form of a small, crisp polenta taco. Or, depending on the season, you might find a Jerusalem artichoke puree served atop a distinctly un-Italian blini.

Italian traditions are combined and reinterpreted throughout the menu, creating an experience that’s original yet still triggers something deeply sentimental. Bottoni pasta filled with pureed eggplant parmigiana float on a pool of Parmigiano Reggiano consommé, bursting in the mouth and conjuring romantic thoughts of southern Italy.

It’s a balancing act that manages to avoid cliché, yet remains true to its source material.

The pilgrimage is aided by a comprehensive wine list, which sorts Italian drops not only by colour, but by region. Prefer your trebbianos Tuscan and your vermentinos Ligurian? You’re spoilt for choice.

While the foams, bubbles, quenelles and purees present throughout Ormeggio’s parade of plates might seem thousands of miles from Pavoni’s childhood home of Brescia, the classic flavour combinations mean the experience is still deeply transportive. This might not be Italian food as you know it, but it’s a journey well worth taking.

Updated: June 17th, 2020

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