Thursday was a day out for us. We hired a driver through the hotel and went to lunch. But this was not just any ordinary lunch. A friend (thank you Te Rina) recommended a restaurant called Relais Blu which is located just outside Termini at the tip of the Amalfi Peninsular. It has a clear view of Capri in one direction and across the Bay of Naples to Napoli and Vesuvius in the other.
It is a magical place.
The restaurant (which is in the Relais Blu hotel) boasts a Michelin star and was also the venue for one of the meals in the movie “The Trip to Italy” starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should.
We took this as an opportunity to go all in, selecting their 7 course dégustation menu with matching wines. It was a perfect way to spend 3 hours and to taste the best that the coast has to offer. We are in no way food bloggers but we attempted to document the meal for all to see – you may notice the occasional photo fail but that’s only because some courses were just too tempting.
We also had the restaurant to ourselves which made the whole thing surreal as the entire waiting staff fussed over – well, just us.
After lunch we went to Sorrento – just a few minutes drive down the road from Relais Blu – to do some shopping. We always shop best after 7 “glasses” of wine each.
For us Sorrento is special. We’ve been there in summer and winter. We’ve seen it grow and change as more and more people visit – the blessing and curse of tourism. Last year the town turned it’s main street – Via Corso – into a pedestrian zone which, contrasted with the smaller streets and alleyways either side has made a huge improvement to the town.
We spent two hours there visiting some favourite shops we know and some new ones we didn’t. When our driver collected us and was storing the shopping bags in the boot, he thanked us personally for our contribution to the local economy.
Who is this arriving at Relais Blu for lunch?
A seat with a spectacular view of Capri
Same view, different person
Jean waiting to be seated in the restaurant
Some bloke waiting to be seated in the restaurant
Pre-lunch drink – blue of course
Sea Bass two ways – carpaccio with tomato tartare and crusted with buffalo mozzarella foam
Flying Squid with black bread with orange and cheese
Whoops – looked so good, forgot to photograph it first
Fig Ravioli with courgette chips and cheese foam
Sea Bream with savoury and sweet vegetables
Lamb three ways – and we forgot to photograph it first.
Tiramisu with fennel ice cream
Delicious nibbley things with dessert
Limoncello to finish, of course
Dinner that night – a far more humble affair
The Relais Blu website is worth a visit. Having seen a little of the hotel we will definitely stay there for a couple of nights next visit.
We drove from the Amalfi Coast to Matera and back in a rental car. We picked the smallest and cheapest class of car Avis offered so it came as no surprise when we were presented with a bright red Fiat Panda at the rental car office in Sorrento.
The gentleman from Avis joked with us that it was a “red Ferrari” as he helped us shoe-horn our two large suitcases and various other bags into the car.
But our little Ferrari did us proud on the roads to and from Matera – far surpassing the Ford Focus we had earlier in the trip in Chianti – for both power and comfort. It was only when you saw other Panda’s on the road that you realised you were effectively driving an oversized roller skate.
The Fiat was full of useful and thoughtful features to make the trip easier. For example, it came with a holder for a phone on the dashboard which made it easy to follow the GPS directions to Matera and back to Sorrento.
Three days later we returned the car intact to Avis in Sorrento – to what must be the most attractive rental car depot in the world.
It is Thursday evening , 27 degrees, and I’m sitting on our front verandah enjoying the sunset and watching the locals passing our front gate on their way home. In the days since our arrival, we have spent time in the sun, in the pool, visited Sorrento for a morning and shopped in the village – both for the necessities and a few luxuries.
We had dinner with Carlo and the team at Eden Roc earlier in the week. Beautiful fish with patate and pomodoro preceded by a shrimp cocktail that tasted of the sea and complimented by a Falanghina which was older and more complex than the usual. Clearly we are not the only ones to be impressed with the food because they have achieved the status of No1 hotel restaurant in Positano on TripAdvisor. This is quite an achievement given the calibre of the competition. And I feel it’s all down to that magic mix of the food, the service and the superb location looking across the bay combining for a dinner experience that is unforgettable. Read the reviews yourself if you don’t believe me.
We kept our promise to eat at Bar Bruno again – on Wednesday night – and enjoyed the meal so much we have booked again for Friday night.
The family that run the alimentari in the village remembered us from past visits and asked about the dogs – no, they are not with us this time – 2 weeks is not a long enough visit. They also made our grocery shopping a delight rather than a chore – but more of that in a later post.
The boys who run the Galli bar which we walk past on the way to the village now greet us with a cheerful Ciao in the mornings and ice cold gelati for the walk back to the villa in the afternoons.
It feels like we are slipping back into village life.
Jean has just wandered down to the local alimentari for some provisions – primarily beer for me and something for us both for tea and she will no doubt return with some tale of the local happenings or of the trip there and back.
Tonight we decided to eat in, simply because we can. And because the thought of getting ready and heading out is to much of a chore. It’s great to be back and to have reached that point – la dolce fa niente. The sweet art of doing nothing.
Super yachts with with super villas in front
Heading into the village for a shop
Ceramics are big here – and Jean’s spotted something she likes
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