Team lunch at Bistrò Nazionale
December often rimes with Christmas dinners at work, or in this case a team lunch at Bistrò Nazionale. Launched in September 2018 and located close to Flagey on n°2 rue Lannoy, this restaurant is the last born of the CŎCĪNA family and should offer a blend of Italian classics & bistronomie.
Last week, my team and I decided to have our very own Christmas lunch & Secret Santa (aside of the official company dinner) and picked Bistrò Nazionale to celebrate. Most of us had heard, and for some tried, the food from CŎCĪNA so we knew more or less what to expect > quality and authenticity but with a bistro twist this time. We decided to carpool because close to Flagey it can be tricky to find a parking spot and it was a good idea! We parked nearby and easily found Bistrò Nazionale, nested on the corner of Rue Lannoy.
We were among the first customers which allowed us to get a good look at the place and its sober decoration: black and white with a touch of petrol blue on the benches. It almost reminded me of some diners you see in series with black and white tiles on the floor, tufted velvet benches, etc. However the white walls and the big window give a lot of light to the place. All in all it looks quite nice and simple. Our table was close to the entrance but we had a small heater to keep us warm, it did a good job!
A pile of menus was already placed on our tables so we immediately dived into them in search of the perfect combination of food & drinks. The menu is seasonal and not extensive which in my mind is a sign of freshness and mastery but it's also great for people who can never decide on what to eat! The waiter came almost immediately to our table to let us know what wasn't available that day and to explain some items from the menu as well as suggestions.
We ordered a few soft drinks and a bottle of red wine first, before discussing who would eat what and for some, how we'd share dishes. I was among the ones who wanted to try everything and especially the pappardelle al tartufo e funghi but also the polpo... Good thing my neighbor took the polpo and felt like sharing a few bites :) We also received some Italian bread and olive oil and it was delicious...The taste of real olive oil changes everything and the bread was definitely something to remember, as simple as it may seem!
Food wise, I ended up ordering the pappardelle while my colleagues chose the polpo grigliato, the bucatini alla carbonara, a cesare salad as well as the strozzapreti ragu di manzo e vitello. The speed of the service was incredible, I have never been served this fast but it might be because our dishes were easy to prepare? Especially the carbonara and pappardelle?
The pastas were served in a copper pan while meat and seafoods were served on a nicely dressed plancha. The pan and plancha are an original touch and it changes from the usual service in a plate. Overall, the portions were rather small (compared to other restaurants) but for the bunch of small eaters that we are it was really fine. Plus, I find that quality matters a little more than the quantity, but that is my opinion. Additionally, my pappardelle looked and tasted homemade but I forgot to confirm this with the waiter...However when I checked online I read that pasta and raviolis are fresh.
Taste wise I was rather impressed! My pappardelle were covered in truffles and mushrooms so I could really taste each ingredient strongly. I could also see that the carbonara was a real one hence without cream! It was made of eggs, Parmesan and Guanciale, the only way it should be prepared to be called "carbonara". The polpo was also lovely and "complete" > from head to every tentacle, not diced like you usually see in restaurants. I think I can safely say that we all enjoyed our food a lot and were not disappointed with our choices.
Some of us even got dessert and went for the infamous tiramisu, which was really tasty and airy...Honestly it seemed like a well-mastered recipe! It disappeared quite fast so I didn't take pictures haha...
By the time we finished our lunch, we were stuffed and couldn't order anything more, not even coffee or an amaretto. Plus it was already time to go back to work so we proceeded to pay our bill. In total, we paid 157€ for a 7 people lunch with a bottle of wine:
The Pappardelle al tartufo e funghi > 21€ x2
The Bucatini alla carbonara > 14€ x2
The Strozzapreti > 14€
The Polpo grigliato > 18€
The Cesare Salad > 15€
The Red Wine > 18€
The Tiramisu > 12€ x 2
Soft drinks > 10€
So obviously the most expensive dishes were the pappardelle because truffle is expensive, no matter were you go. However a general comment about this lunch was that portions were smaller than in most restaurants but that the quality was very good. To summarize, we really enjoyed our food and this place is perfect if like us, you can never finish you plate...Or if you don't mind paying a bit more for some delicious Italian food!
I like the fact that the staff is fully Italian, from the cook to the waiter, but also that products are fresh and for a good part, coming from Italy. Recipes seem well mastered and the presentation is neat and original. Finally, the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed than at CŎCĪNA which is very much appreciated however it can be a noisy (the room is not that big).
Note: we missed the spicy oil but it's a minor detail.
I believe I would go back to try some more pasta and creations from the chef! I wouldn't be afraid to bring a few Italian friends along... I really advise to try the aperitvo and antipasta, the planchas looked insanely good!!
Have you tried Bistrò Nazionale? Did you like it? Drop me a comment below...