An alternative meal based on eggs in the heart of Trastevere: unique presentation, raw quality materials and a dessert that’s worth the wait. But is it worth the pricey bill?
By Ilenia Reale / Matthew Staff|| Edited by Amber Alexander
I often find myself zoning out, thinking of hypothetical life-challenging situations. A recurring scenario I rack my brain on is: if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life what would it be? I am still debating on this one. Potatoes are usually my first answer, but I recently realized that eggs are incredibly versatile as well.
There are infinite ways to eat eggs. Raw, scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, sunny side up, over easy, poached, and, to my surprise, one can even bake them. That’s just by itself, but eggs are also at the core of recipes like fresh pasta or pancakes. I can barely crack an egg without making the shell explode all over the pan like an active mine, so I am very impressed when other people can turn such a simple ingredient into a tastebuds-awakening dish.
On the 16th of every month, my boyfriend Jacopo and I break our piggy banks to invest in something to do together to celebrate our monthiversary. Being proper Italians, we always end up eating out. For this special fourth month together, I thought we could try a new restaurant called Eggs.
Eggs was founded in 2017 and gradually broadened, gaining respect in Trastevere. It eventually moved to a bigger site on Via Natale del Grande 52, to allow more clients to taste their refined cousine. As you can guess from the name, Eggs is renowned for basing their recipes off all sorts of eggs cooked and presented in original ways.
I was immediately left in awe looking at the restaurant’s website. An art gallery curated by competent chefs displaying a colorful palette of dishes, ranging from starters to desserts. The menu is varied without becoming overwhelming, even offering alternative options for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also unexpected; not the typical Italian restaurant without a doubt. Do not expect to already know what to get, like a cheese platter or a smoking plate of pasta alla gricia, unless it has eggs in it.
I love to scroll down a menu and be surprised based on two factors. First, I am a foodie, so I appreciate it when a restaurant proposes unprecedented combinations. It makes me feel like the rat Remi in my favorite Disney movie Ratatouille, when he pairs a piece of cheese and a grape creating a mix deserving to be savored with great satisfaction. I also attribute many points to a thought-out presentation of food. I can’t help but wiggle when a waiter brings me a plate so beautiful it shouldn’t be eaten, even though I always end up eating it anyway.
In fact, I was at once drawn to a dish on the website called Il Gioco delle Ova, or the eggs’ game. The dish is supposed to be a starter served in an egg carton with six eggs in it. However, they are not simple eggs, but rather empty eggshells filled with the weirdest ingredients. For example, there is one with crodino jelly (an Italian bitter frizzy drink), orange gel and nuts and another one with salty eggnog and black truffle. It seems impossible to guess what’s in every eggshell and that makes approaching this unusual dish even more thrilling.
I was very excited to try the eggs’ game, but it is far too expensive (22 euros), just like the other fanciful dishes that were whispering my name. I had to repeat in my head “you are broke” at least 20 times before finally giving up on the idea of getting the 49 euros tasting menu. Good thing Jacopo always brings me back to planet earth when it comes to spending money.
Eventually, we decided to give their specialty, carbonara, a try. There’s a whole page on the menu reserved for the sacred Roman recipe. Someone very traditional might have been offended, but I truly appreciated the chance to try alternative carbonara. There is one with truffle, one with zucchini flowers and even one with caramelized onion. In the end, I decided to order carbonara with egg, provolone cheese and roasted duck, while Jacopo went for the classic egg, pecorino cheese and bacon.
We waited over half an hour for our pasta, but it was worth it. Our carbonaras came in glass jars used to preserve the heat and avoid the egg getting cooked. In fact, the texture was on point, not too slimy and not too dense, just perfect to go with the rigatoni al dente. The duck was a very pleasing surprise. I don’t know how, but it works wonders as a more flavorful substitute for bacon. I had to constantly remind myself to chew more slowly because I was choking on the big bites, but I couldn’t find the strength to limit my pleasure. After devouring the pasta, a lot of delicious sauce was left at the bottom of the jar. I really wanted to do scarpetta, pick it up with some bread, but I didn’t want to pay 4 euros for some bland bread.
I don’t see the point of going to a restaurant without getting dessert and I certainly couldn’t miss out on the ones offered by Eggs. Tiramisù was the obvious choice, but I wanted to try something different. So, Jacopo ordered eggnog with biscuits, while I asked for their Ovo Sodo, which literally means boiled egg, but has nothing to do with one if not its appearance. In fact, the dessert consists of an egg with a white chocolate shell that, once cut in half, shows off the egg white made of yogurt mousse and the yolk made of mango sauce. The flavors melt in the mouth like soft snow and the whole isn’t sickly sweet because the egg is laid on a salty chocolate crumble that balances everything out.
We weren’t too happy about the bill: over 30 euros each. Even though the quality of the raw material is certainly admirable, and the dishes are unique, I doubt they are worth this much. The carbonara was delicious, but nothing out of this world; one could find a traditional carbonara at a much lower price. However, the dessert I tried is truly remarkable. I would give up on nine coffees to eat Ovo Sodo again at Eggs.