Checchino dal 1887: aka fat and happy

Dear Tori,

I know you haven’t acted since university. However we’d like to offer you a lot of money to be in some soon-to-be named film. However, in order to capture the real essence of the character we need you to gain 10 kilos. Think Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones, but a little more. We need this to be done in the next six weeks. Please advise if you think this is possible.

Best regards

big producer person.

Let’s suppose that I got that email.

Self control is a strange thing.

If I had a good excuse to throw it to the wind, I think I know an easy way to meet that goal. Especially since I’ve eaten at Checchino dal 1887.

Checchino dal 1887 was the one place in the world Terry Durack chose to spend his 40th birthday lunch at.

For us it was a less auspicious occasion. It was a much needed respite from the summer sun and fanny packs at the Forum. A seven euro taxi trip from the Colosseum takes us to the Testaccio, a grittier district which doesn’t make it onto the fold out tourist map. It’s where the slaughterhouses used to be, but these days the calming sight of trees touching over the middle of the road are helping gentrification.

On a Tuesday lunch the cave like interior with terracotta tiles and wooden walls is cool- with a whiff of an elderly aunt’s dining room. It’s just us and small groups of business men with their shirtsleeves rolled up sitting at wooden tables with slightly wrinkled yellow roses.

What they, are we have come here for is the food. For us it’s a glass of dry spumante with a trio of bruschetta in colours of dried fields to start. There’s an artichoke paste, a nubbly puree of sweet green olives and another topped with wilted sheep cheese.

There’s a half bottle of local white and then a shared plate of buccatini with rendered pigs cheek and a white sauce made with more sheep milk cheese. It’s a dish that comes recommended to me by the lead singer of Pomomofo. it looks like a squiggle of cheesy noodles- but the noodles have a slight bit of fight left in them. The cheek is slivers of piggish goodness; sweet and salty. It plays do-see-do with the sheep cheese which is a white blanket cuddling the noodles. All over it’s creamy, but not too cloying. For a girl who grew up loving white noodles more than anything it’s poetry twirled around a fork.

It’s then time to play with what Checchino is known for. Soon we’re staring down a plate of bits and bobs, sautéed simply with salt and pepper. Liver, kidney, intestines, sweetbreads and testicles all make appearances on a plate that manages to look both surgical and agricultural at the same time. A side of limpid chichory is a good playmate for this pile of crispy pink bits. It’s not every lunchtime that you can say ‘darling, can you pass me the testicles?’

We then face down a generous hunk of ricotta and almond cake peppered with chocolate chips. It’s dense with cheese and nuts but the outside is crunchy. It’s rich but not too sweet. It sits like a brick.

So. You want to see the definition of fat and happy?

Book me a corner table every day for a lunch. Order me that bruschetta, rendered pigs head and sheeps milk cheese buccatini and straciatella ricotta cake every day for a month and I’ll show you.

Chechinno dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio, 30
00153 Rome, Italy
06 5746318

{ 1 Comment }
  1. I am considering a meal here in October, I take it you were very impressed? Would you recommend it over all the trattorias in central Rome, perhaps?

    Some of the places I considered before sort of deciding on Checchino were La Pigna, Da Gino, Armando al Pantheon, Matricianella, etc. Does Checchino top them, in your view?


Leave a comment


{ 1 Trackback }