Bar Review: White Stone, Cagliari

White Stone – In The Holiday Spirit

White Stone Bar sat on the busy Piazza Yenna –  Cagliari Marina District’s focal point. It provided perfect people-watching potential, made all the more attractive by very reasonable prices. Be warned: everywhere in Cagliari, music is hideously inconsistent, fluctuating between naff and painful. Think MTV dance hits, intertwined with a Phil Collins medley nobody wanted. Fortunately, there was ample seating outside, mostly free of irritation.

Given White Stone Bars low cost relative to the UK, it would be unkind to be too critical. I visited three times in three days – they did something right. That said, there was plenty of room for improvement. ‘Bourbon Sour’ was made with Irish blended whisky. Everything arrived with a completely unnecessary cherry. The margaritas were undrinkable. They weren’t blends

‘Bourbon Sours’ were made with Irish blended whisky. Everything arrived with a completely unnecessary cherry. The margaritas were undrinkable. They weren’t blends of tequila, lime and triple sec – just tequila with lime wafted over the glass for ceremonial purposes. Crucially, White Stone Bar’s consistency of drinks between servers was laughable. Even the same drink, made by the same person, in the same evening, differed considerably.

However, the size of the pour was gigantic. The Weights & Measures Act of 1985 evidently hadn’t reach Cagliari. The Negroni was intimidating, taking me all afternoon to tackle. I appreciate Italian’s love bitter flavours, but I’d consumed 500ml of Campari after three cocktails. I like an occasional bitter drink, but not to be pummelled mercilessly by them. I hoped Stockholm Syndrome would kick in, so I could perversely come to welcome my aperitif abuse, but sadly it never did.

Thankfully, White Stone Bar wasn’t just quantity over quality. Despite its tacky name, the ‘Between The Sheets’ cocktail was an ironically classy drink. By some miracle, it dodged the ever zealous Campari, although couldn’t survive the obligatory cherry. The sophisticated combination of cognac, rum, triple sec and lemon juice was rather wonderful. An excellent Mojito benefited from mint and lime swollen by the sun’s loving rays. A pleasing frothy, beautifully balanced Pina Colada was perfect on a late summer afternoon. White Stone Bar’s free aperitivos were in plentiful supply, and their budget buffet offered vegetable lasagne and vibrant salads, that were embarrassingly delicious for their low cost.

White Stone Bar pertained to being a proper cocktail bar but lacked the attention to detail required to be one. However, White Stone Bar genuinely friendly staff shouldn’t be unacknowledged, who were happy to chat in broken English, despite my shameful inability to meet them halfway.

White Stone Bar Review Summary

Atmosphere 8  Cost 10  Quality 4  Service 9

White Stone Bar Cagliari Review
The Holiday Spirit

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Restaurant Review: Su Tzilleri e le Cantine, Cagliari

Su Tzilleri e le Cantine – Scary Sardinian Supper

Visit Su Tzilleri e le Cantine for unpretentious, informal Sardinian food, rich in both history and flavour. If you seek something else, Sardinia won’t be your island, let alone Su Tzilleri your trattoria.

Choosing the taster menu, I naively brought only one stomach. Don’t bother with lunch beforehand and only pencil in tomorrow’s breakfast. Never before had I been intimated by a pending main course. Su Tzilleri e le Cantinea didn’t sell meals but character building challenge. The realisation I’d eaten too much came as I struggled to breathe. Mercifully, my partner’s inhaler rescued me, despite not being asthmatic.

Now I see why Italians are so fusilli fussily protective of their pasta. The Culurgiones (Sardinian Ravioli) with goats cheese, tomatoes and mint were perfection. A minimalist celebration of summer on a plate. Seeing the tomatoes basking in the sun outside, was iconic as it was romantic. The antipasti produced cured wafer thin lamb so good it would be illegal in England. Ensuing Su Tzilleri e le Cantinea highlights included delicious rabbit, tasting like a gym-obsessed chicken pampered in luxurious oils, and a perfectly balanced, angelically light tiramisu. All washed down with local Cannonau and Barbera which was embarrassingly rambunctious for its frugal price point.

Dining wasn’t faultless; meatballs yearned for seasoning, rigatoni flirted with being raw, plates were cold, and the menu didn’t always match what arrived. However, all this can be forgiven when the same euros in Milan only get you some prosecco and a scowl.

Su Tzilleri e le Cantinea haphazard, customer is always wrong philosophy of Italian service wouldn’t survive in England. I didn’t suggest the dishes weren’t strictly as ordered, for fear of a skillet-wielding emotional chef. However, the food was so memorable I had no right to complain. Walking out into the warm, clear Sardinian night I was disorientated, shell-shocked but jubilant. Su Tzilleri e le Cantine served a truly memorable dinner and provided bagged-up bunny for brunch to boot.

Su Tzilleri e le Cantine
Review Summary

Atmosphere 9    Cost 9   Quality 9    Service 4

Su Tzilleri e le Cantine: Soaking Up The Sunshine
Su Tzilleri e le Cantine: Soaking Up The Sunshine
Restaurant Review Su Tzilleri e le Cantine
Exceptional quality antipasti
Restaurant Review Su Tzilleri e le Cantine
Leftover rabbit boxed up and reheated for brunch!

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Restaurant Review: Ristorante Luigi Pomata, Cagliari

Ristorante Luigi Pomata – Poor Attempt At Fine Dining

Foodies visiting Cagliari (or Sardinia) for the first time, will, as I, fall in love with the food. It is simple, fresh and delicious. It is food that has been sun-kissed, honest, and direct from the land and her people – precisely the kind of food lacking from British mid-week dinner tables. It speaks volumes of the Sardinian culture and should be celebrated; however, presentation is rarely considered, menus are incredibly insular in technique and ingredient, and restaurants rarely expect guests in anything smarter than T-shirts. Ristorante Luigi Pomata on paper provided a refreshing, modern alternative.

Unfortunately, Ristorante Luigi Pomata was the worst kind of restaurant: it thought it was sophisticated, but wasn’t. The only thing worse than a snob is an inept snob. I can only assume Luigi saw Michelin star restaurants on TV and tried to emulate them without leaving the house.

Luigi Pomata’s staff for all their running around and snooty faces were entirely unintuitive and inefficient – as though Italy’s declined industry was paralleled in the dining room. The atmosphere, unless eating shortly before sunrise, is non-existent. I find our continental cousins evening dining habits strangely sophisticated, so arrived when it was suitably dark outside. Still, it was quieter than lunch in Islamabad cafes during Ramadan. I’m English; admittedly, but wasn’t staggering in, chanting “Vindaloo, Vindaloo!” I had the decency to turn up before midnight, yet received less rapport than on my driving test.

In Italy, the idea of pushing the boundaries of flavour is daringly swapping oregano for rosemary on focaccia. At least Ristorante Luigi Pomata was serving unique dishes for a 100-mile radius. That said, never eating octopus and chickpeas together won’t keep me up at night. The food, although thoughtfully presented, was largely style over substance; however, the quality of ingredients was self-evident across all dishes.

Ristorante Luigi Pomata thought it should only sell food, not ambience. At least their extra dry Prosecco is as good as a champagne three times its price in England.

Ristorante Luigi Pomata Review Summary

Atmosphere 2    Cost 3    Quality 7    Service 2

Ristorante Luigi Pomata Restaurant Review
Swordfish & Mozzarella
Ristorante Luigi Pomata Cagliari Restaurant Review
Octopus & Chickpeas
Ristorante Luigi Pomata Cagliari Restaurant Review
Tuna & Vegetables

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