Balkan Notes On A Florentine Menu | Gurdulù
Although Gurdulù opened in 2015, I didn’t come across it until Florence Cocktail Week in April 2016, of which the adjoined cocktail bar, headed up by the talented Sabrina Galloni, were a part. At first glance it looked, save for a nod to a Parisian brasserie, with its elegant, brass and dark wood interior, like one of the typical, albeit new breed, of Florentine restaurants – a little like a boutique La Ménagère from across town. On closer inspection however, I found a pleasantly romantic restaurant, true to its Florentine roots, but glittering with outside influences from the Balkans and beyond.
The atmosphere is nice enough, though the open kitchen on one side of the restaurant enhances the anticipation of indulgence, while dampening the romance I spoke of earlier.
Though it’s always nice to watch a creation come to life.
We were served an amuse bouche that amounted to little more than a bland mousse, topped with a slice of radish and pieces of beef but thankfully that was one of the few lows of the evening. From the menu, we started with a plate of anchovy spaghetti, coated with garlic, and topped with dill, and a plate of “Ravioli H20” which was layered with shaved pecorino on top and filled with a softer pecorino inside, making for a genuinely delicious concoction of soft and mildly contrasting cheese layers.
For mains we took the thick and creamy risotto, flavoured with saffron and finished with courgette flowers in tempura – everything well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable. The courgette flowers, wrapped in a beautful air light batter that was lightly fried and fresh from the kitchen with the feintest hint of olive oil on the nose, made this the standout dish of the night – though the presentation wasn’t as well delivered as other dishes.
The steak tagliatelle, served with mash potatoes and asparagus, was soft and coated with a thick gravy made from the cooking juices of the beef. The was beef tender and rose pink in the middle and the flavours were exceptionally well balanced.
I wasn’t too taken by the dessert menu which felt uninspired especially when compared with the main menu, which though small covers a much greater breadth. We settled on a shared dessert of fruits and pastry which was edible, though a little bitter. We paired everything with a Jean Chauvenet Burgundy of 2012 vintage, which faired well against the competing flavours on offer.
As with every single restaurant in Florence, Gurdulù, gets plenty of contrasting opinion, and unfortunately, the hype as seen around the internet, doesn’t quite match the reality. As such, Tripadvior is full of negativity for the restaurant, mostly down to the hype and high expectations propped up by the reviews of (mostly foreign) locals who are eager to love every new venture in the city, as though it were their own.
Don’t misunderstand, this is a good restaurant with some delicious dishes and good ideas, but something doesn’t quite feel right yet.
Perhaps head to the bar for a cocktail (cocktails at Gurdulù are very good) to scope it out a little as we did, but remember, Gurdulù is one of many new kids on the Florentine block and as such, it’s trying a little harder, and stretching just a little bit beyond its reach.