I had a delightful Sunday brunch this past weekend with my friend Carla and her OH. Carla is a lovely Canadian member of our expat community here in Rome, with a blog called Love & Luce, as well as her site for her reiki practice.
The reason I’ve been so prolific on my blog(s) lately, and able to actually do fantabulous things like Sunday brunch, is because my kids just recently went on vacation in Sardegna with their papà and nonna. I’ll be joining them tomorrow for a week. But before I go, I want to share this experience with you.
Ketumbar is in Testaccio, just across the street from the new market. I had vaguely heard about it in years past—many years past, in fact. I had a notion of it as a sushi bar or something. It’s not. (This is why I am not a food blogger.) In fact we talked to the owner and he said that the format of the place has changed and is trying to be more family-friendly now and cater to a different clientele.
Truth be told? The main reason I’m writing this is for the frazzled moms of little ones out there, like me. Did you hear me, frazzled mom of preschool-aged children? Listen to this, come close:
KETUMBAR HAS A CHILDREN’S PLAY ROOM WITH A BABYSITTER.
Which you see on the sign at the top of this post is referred to in Italy as “baby parking,” which frankly I find endlessly amusing. There are comfy couches, an IKEA crawl tube and car carpet, a bookshelf full of toys, and a wall covered with childrens’ drawings. The owner said that it was such a hit in the winter months that they’re going to expand the hours this coming year. In fact in August it wasn’t crowded at all, so take note all you moms without childcare when preschools are on vacation.
Now, I could just end the damn post right there, because up until now my only alternative in this genre has been McDonald’s.
But wait! There’s more!
The food is actually delightfully good, and the owner and staff pleasant, helpful, friendly, and passionate about what they do. This was my experience.
Ketumbar is also, like Flavio al Velavevodetto, built into the side of Monte Testaccio, also known as Monte dei Cocci, because it is made up of the ancient shards of the cracked pottery from an estimated 53 million amphorae which are the containers that were used in the ancient world to transport things like wine and olive oil. That being the case, the space where Ketumbar is housed has several plexiglass plates that show the mountain itself as the wall’s inner structure. In fact some of the best shots of those are actually in those kid’s room pics above.
The most amazing thing I discovered is that these provide natural air-conditioning to the restaurant. A server opened one to demonstrate this to us, as the plexiglass is more like a sliding glass door. In fact, the temperature is such that they are able to use the space in between the sliding door and the mountain of cocci itself as a wine storage area!
The buffet here is also a hit with me because, for the €15 price tag (beverages not included) you get unlimited trips. This shouldn’t be underestimated. I don’t know what it’s like now, but when I went to Il Margutta years ago, you were allowed only one trip, and that’s lame.
I enjoyed the variety of appetizers at the buffet. The brunch also includes a fresh pasta dish, a second course, as well as a variety of desserts. These all come out successively. Brunch starts at noon but seating is open so you don’t have to get there at any particular time.
Panzanella, a summer salad dish popular in Roman homes, made with stale bread soaked in tomatoes and their juice, with olive oil and basil
via Galvani 24 (take any bus that goes up via Marmorata, or go to Metro B Piramide and walk from there)
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