It has been said, Gentle Reader, that the history of Puglia is written in its rocks: its prehistoric archeological sites, shattered historical sites once settled by the conquering Greeks and Romans, towering Norman castles with remarkable Islamic influences, and the remarkable architectural legacy left by Frederick II and the Swabian Kings.
Yet it suffered immensely under its (later) Arragonese rulers and for many years its inhabitants survived by living off the land, kept from starvation by their flocks, weeds, grano arso, and wild herbs.
Your Humble Correspondent would fain describe fair Puglia as a regnum comedentis, a place where simplicity and freshness and flavor reign supreme, and where food is seen as extremely important indeed. And there is an extraordinary restaurant there, literally miles from anywhere in a small village called Montegrosso di Andria with the captivating name of Antichi Sapori. In English, "ancient flavors" ...
This restaurant is a sort of Avalon for food writers - see this beautifully written piece by Emiko Davies. As she says, "Food is taken seriously. When they say “antipasto” they actually mean twenty portions of the most exquisite, yet simple, fresh ingredients ...". Or as Tom Kingston of The Observer said, it offers "a mind-blowing feast".
The good news for you, Gentle Reader, is that you no longer need brave the narrow mountain roads of the highlands of Puglia to enjoy Antichi Sapori. In some sort of wonderful combination of Merlock and a Star Trek Holodeck a version has appeared in Hiroo - replacing the artless Cicada on Gaien-Nishi. The re-vamped interior (left) is a pure pleasure, and the staff work tirelessly to create that effortless Italian bonarietà that makes a meal a celebration.
Tempting as it is to waffle on endlessly about the cuisine and viticulture of Puglia, Your Humble Correspondent suggests your look here for a much more coherent and likely concise rendering.
My mission in these modest scribblings is to point rather than prod, to suggest rather than direct. That said Gentle Reader, this is a restaurant you should definitely spend time getting to know. There is ceremony and thousands of years of effort in each spoonful on offer here, and
My epicurean friend Dominic writes more, and better here. With photos [sigh] ...
Antichi Sapori: 5-2-40 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (t:03-6277-2073)
Rating: Food: 8/10; Puglia-rity: 8/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Price-Performance: 8/10. Total: 40/50 (4 Forks)