Florence | New Florence Restaurant: Sesame Offe . . .
New Florence Restaurant: Sesame Offers Hip Dining (March 2008)
In a city where the Renaissance and steak reign supreme, a departure from the
established norm is daring and risky. But this is precisely what Osvaldo Mellini
has done – with resounding success – at his Sesame Fusion Restaurant
and Oyster Lounge in Florence, creating a space that enchants you the moment
you walk through the door. Sourcing all his furnishings from Morocco, the centerpiece
lamps cast bewitching shadows and patterns over the walls and ceiling which, with
the rustic, angular chairs and eclectic artifacts, conjure an atmosphere of elegance,
exotica and a touch of mystery.
The two-part menu is equally beguiling, with international offerings that include
traditional North African-Middle Eastern filo pastry with meat, apricot, prune
and almonds; the wonderfully-named Zaalook (zucchini, eggplant, and
tomato speziati); the signatory Filet de Veau (veal medallions with
lobster and truffle); and some mouth-watering tajine and cous cous dishes. For
palates seeking a more local flair, the Di Casa Nostra menu offers
creations such as black ravioli with ricciola, mussels and lime; osso bucco;
and the city’s signature repast, Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Naturally,
as the restaurant’s name suggests, there are also oysters, plus a range
of wicked and tantalizing desserts.
Regardless of your gastronomic preference, it’s all superb, with a freshness,
an attention to detail, and an artistic blend of tastes that complement the
striking décor, and leave you feeling sated and spoiled. It’s no
wonder that Florence’s young and trendy flock here, taking advantage of
the beckoning outdoor garden on sultry nights, and on party night (Wednesday)
when the lower level is cleared to allow freer movement to the backdrop of the
Osvaldo’s creation has the exotic charm and panache to be an asset to
any of the world’s leading cities – Florence is fortunate to be
its home. Go there – even if only for an aperitif or an after-dinner drink
– it’s like being transported to a different world for a night.
Normally, this kind of art and quality doesn’t come cheap, particularly
in a destination such as Florence, but at the Sesame Fusion Restaurant, for
a four-course meal for two with one of Tuscany’s delectable wines, you
can expect to spend a very reasonable 90 euros. – Duncan Campbell
Sesame Fusion Restaurant and Oyster Lounge
Via delle Conce, 20 Rosso
(39) 055 2001381
Opens everyday at 7 p.m.