La Montecchia can be an extraordinary experience, especially if you like your greens up close and personal. The restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal vegetables which may well be served raw with the aim of extracting the maximum flavour. The end result is memorable but some dishes may not appeal to everyone's palate, and I suspect even aficionados may only visit the restaurant from time to time for their fix of extreme greens. The dining room is spacious and inviting (with attractive features including the brick/stonework and wooden beams), the tables are ample and well spread out, and there is a small seating area by the fireplace. Service is surprisingly a little haphazard for a Michelin eatery (OK, I know the first star goes to the kitchen but even so...). Plates were cleared whilst people were still eating, water glasses were filled across diners, the wine waiter went missing in action at the end of the meal. The bread basket is stellar, as is the electronic wine list which is categorised by region, varietal, price and so on with good advice available from the sommelier (the Saten is an excellent Franciacorta if you like to start the meal with a glass of bubbly). And the food ? Well, some of the dishes were outstanding, including the risotto which had layers and layers of flavour. Others were a bit unbalanced and/or over sized. The dotto/cernia (grouper) is a case in point - an ample and well cooked piece of fish was accompanied by a huge portion of mashed potatoes and an equally large, somewhat bitter mound of greens. In between were plates that were interesting without quite making the heights - sliced raw white and green asparagus with scrambled egg and thin wafers of toast. (On balance, for taste if not for health I would still go for steamed asparagus with a decent mayonnaise.) By the by, the vegetable theme continues into the dessert course but we were full after three rounds so went straight for coffee. If you're looking for something different La Montecchia definitely fits the bill - it's a charming setting with an intriguing menu and a kitchen that can really cook, sometimes in a rather no holds barred manner as far as the veggies are concerned.
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