Last month, I spent most of my mornings and evenings in what is possibly the most romantic restaurant in the world. A room solely lit by candles flickered while the strains of guitars and mandolins floated through the dining room. I am now convinced there is nothing like the sound of sweet tarantellas. La Sponda is the restaurant at Le Sirenuse, which we stayed at for most of our week in Amalfi Coast. This hotel, running under the Sersale family ownership since 1951, will take you back to halcyon days. It's bedroom and restaurant windows overlook the majolica-tiled dome of Santa Maria Assunta. In the distance, fishing boats embrace the rocky coastline.
Despite being a Michelin starred restaurant, the dress code was semi-formal. Summer dresses and linen trousers looked fine, flip flops definitely did not. Me being me, there were no holds barred. How many times do you get to have a candle-lit dinner while gazing at the stars, with the love of your life gazing at you? Of course I was going to wear a floor sweeping silk gown of grey and green like something straight out of Titanic. The staff at La Sponda treated me like the empress I felt. Despite it being a three course meal; being honeymoon guests of the hotel and having a birthday boy meant there were several tasters and desserts. Our reservation was at 9 p.m but we were still conversing with the waiters and sommelier until close to midnight.
It's a rare thing for an under 30 to be heading a Michelin-starred restaurant but Chef Gennaro Russo's light Mediterranean touch really impresses. There was meat on the menu, but needless to say, seafood is where La Sponda exceeds the mark.
My main course, described as a astice blu confit was a blue lobster salad- meat so soft and lightly flavoured it was almost melting in the mouth. My husband was a lot more adventurous. He asked the waiter: "What is something I can only eat at La Sponda?" The waiter's eyes lit up. He talked about a very old cod dish that has fallen out of popularity in the area as menus attract tourist tastebuds but still favoured by ancestral homes. Baccalà glassato was a salted and dried cod, stewed and partnered with vine baby tomatoes. When the dish arrived, both of us were very amused. "I know you said that this is something you can only have this dried and salted cod in Positano, but in Bangladesh, where our families are from, this is a household staple!" How uncanny it was to be miles away from home and still be brought back by familiar flavours.
The experience is one I will treasure as one of those picturesque moments where you think life couldn't get any better, and then someone puts another fragola dessert in front of you. We happily retreated to our hotel room with hearts and purses lighter. Who said romance was dead?