A medium wind last night and as I drifted off to sleep it howled down the narrow alleys of Vittoriosa of which the village of Birgu is where we are based) creating an eerie backdrop to the night. The narrow alleys are beautifully lit at night and its surreal weaving your way home even without the wind effects. We missed the festival of lights (Birgufest)by a couple of days where the streets of Birgu are lit up with candlelight’s. The workmen were dismantling them as we arrived although remnants still line the streets.
I am trying to get a fix on Maltese food. The paucity of open restaurants, and, the fact that at 1900hrs we were so hungry, not having eaten all day aside from a snack at breakfast saw us fronting up to the doors of the D Scene , where we had dined on rabbit and swordfish the day before. The place was empty but the waiter said they were ready to go. I wanted the famous pork dish (either majjal il forno or bhal fil forno or )but it had been on special all day and was’off’. I secretly hoped that was off the menu not, lying on some disused and forgotten cupboard being infested with flies, awaiting tomorrows tourists. I had read some very mixed reviews about this place after the cat story and several mentioned dirty tables, plates, glasses, offensive smells from the kitchen, along with Basil Fawlty type service. We ordered a starter of gbejniet cheese from Gozo , which is a hard fetta like cheese impregnated with black peppers on a bed of rocket with bread sticks. Amazing and balanced lovely by the carafe of Maltese red wine. However, my main of Bragioli basically a large beef olive stuffed with chopped bacon, eggs, and cooked in a tomato, onion and red wine reduction was dry, tasteless and tough. Alison had Cerna (grouper) which was assured was a fillet but the waiter or cooks grasp of the word fillet was not a longitudinal cut , deboned , but a transverse slice complete with bones and skin. So, a mixed bag and we wont be going back there again.( i noted the stained tablecloth and the Basil Fawlty wait staff who had the same patter as the day before and I suspected he did not understand English) There are three other restaurants close by which ARE highly recommended and Mario has said the Italian restaurant by the marina is good. Frankly I am getting tired of pasta and tomato with everything and want something different.
I pleasant surprise. Caught the ferry over to Valetta (tourist hell, three huge cruise ships on, streets so packed I couldn’t even take a photo) and walked into cafe San Giovanni for a quick snack and an iced tea. Ordered a traditional Maltese ftira flat bread suffed with maltese sausage (zaizettt tal malti) and cheese . Stunning. Around the corner is the Prince of Wales Old Band Club which is described as one of Maltas good restaurants.. then follow that up with a mango gelato and an iced coffee with large dollops of iced cream. Starting to get the flavour this now.
This evening its on to a little family restaraunt called Tal Petut.