Sunday, November 1, 2009

Food for Thought in Castelvetrano

I enjoyed this perfectly grilled local (Selinunte-caught) marmara, for lunch, at renowned foodie hotspot Lu Disiu. Not the most obvious place to find, it's located down an alleyway by the side of supermarket Conad.

I'm not sure how easily I would have arrived, had it not been for the lovely Maria who guided me there, after I had asked for directions - therein lies the food for thought...

Initially she said, apologetically, that she couldn't direct me but after a few moments thought, she came chasing after me, corrected my pronunciation - of the dialect words - and insisted on taking me right there, all-the-while congratulating me on my Italian and explaining that I had not placed the emphasis correctly on the last syllable of disiu. (While watching a cultural programme on Italian TV, I learnt that there is a different dialect every 3kms in Sicily). It made me think of the profound difference when asking for directions in a busy UK city, (usually) all signs of charm and patience absent, thanks to the hectic intensity and (self)pre-occupied, stressed-out rush of modern life.

Back at the restaurant, I discovered the meaning of its title: desiderio in Italian, alluding to all that one could want/wish for. It's a charming place, loved by the well-to-do business-lunching locals (and made even more interesting for visitors, who can enhance the experience by observing their style and behaviour). Understated with a smart-hunting theme, vegetarians are still well-looked after. The smiling young waiter (whom I believe is the son of the owner-chef) was charming, patient and helpful. When it came to choosing a light main course, he brought out a stainless steel platter simply strewn with the super-fresh local catch of the day.

I ended my meal with a richly-gorgeous espresso, cheekily accompanied by a (generous) glass of Sicilian grappa (my excuse was the need to soothe my sore throat - it worked - and to indulge in another local taste). As I'd been watching the centissimi, thanks to the appalling almost-parity exchange rate, it was a happy surprise to discover that I'd been offered the grappa and caffe. The bill came to 22 euros for the antipasto starter, fish with tomato salad and pesto garnish, mineral water, caffe and grappa.
Lu Disiu, Via XXIV Maggio 14, 91022 Castelvetrano Tel. 0924 907321

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