Monday, 8 July 2013

La Birreria, Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral (Italy, Siena)

Piazza del Campo
La Birreria is a restaurant located at the edge of Palio di Siena in Piazza del Campo. There are many different restaurants along the entire circumference of Palio di Siena as is a tourist attraction. In the past,  it was the site of public events and races such as bullfights, jousting and boxing. This was also the place where the James Bond Quantum of Solace's horse scene was filmed (do you remember?). Today, this site is used for many different events throughout the year. The most notable event is the prestige horse race which is held twice a year on 2 July and 16 August. As we visited during December, the event that was held at the centre of Palio di Siena was a Christmas market (yet again)!

The restaurant was unique, it had a big sitting capacity (indoors and alfresco dining). Inside the restaurant, we were surprised that it part of it was in the basement. As you can see from the photo, the inner part of the restaurant like a basement dungeon! The picture shows the 2nd 'basement room'. Each 'basement room' was  a few steps 'deeper'. We sat at the third 'basement room'. How cool is that! There was no windows and it was just brick walls and arches; real solid bricks, not fake wall or wallpaper. Moreover, there were several TV screens showing the sports (soccer) channel. I am sure it gets crowded when there is a soccer match! 
Part of the wall was decorated with photos of the prestige horse race that the locals look forward to. The quiet and unique environment of the restaurant made me felt as if I had taken a time machine back to the  ancient days. Now where's my sword and amour? It felt good to be away from our fast paced life in Singapore.

The menu was impressive; it came with five languages! There was German, French, Spanish and English! As for the fifth language, I could not even understand some of the characters as they looked like alien language to me! Its a norm in Europe to have their menu in different languages.
Vegetable soup with bread 7.50 (S$11.75)
We ordered the "Ribollita alla sense" which in English was translated as "Vegetable Soup with Bread" on the the menu. It cost 7.50€ (S$11.75). Although the price was on the high end, we decided to order a bowl of soup to share to 'defrost' our cold bodies in the cold winter.

Imagine our shock when the Vegetable Soup with Bread (photo above) was served to us. We even told the waitress that we did not ordered this. She went back to the kitchen to check our order and insisted that this was what we ordered. Because of our language differences (she is fluent in Italian while us in English), we resorted to pointing to the menu to show what we ordered and she told us that Yes, this is the Vegetable Soup with Bread!

Well, we did not have any hot soup to go along with our meal. The Vegetable Soup with Bread was unique. It was moist and lots of 'mashed' bread was added to soak up all the soup. Chunks of carrots, onions, beans and potatoes were mixed among the bread. It was delish and rich in flavour.

When I came back home, I found out that Ribollita is a Tuscan soup made with boiled vegetable and bread (normally stale bread is used). Interesting! 
Pappardelle with Wild Boar 11 (S$17.23)
For mains, we ordered Pappardelle with Wild Boar which cost 11€ (S$17.23). Pappardelle are large and broad flat pasta noodles. It was hard to compared the wild boar to other meat (e.g. chicken, pork) as it was minced. It tasted like minced pork meat. The pasta with wild boar was delicious though I would have preferred a pasta that was not so wide.

I remember when I was a kid, I ate braised chinese style wild boar meat at a hawker centre. However, now its rare to be able to find such meat at hawker centres (if you know of any, please let me know). You can still get wild boar at western (Italian) restaurants in Singapore.

We also ordered a Prosciutto e Funghi (Pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, ham and mushrooms) which was priced at 8€ (S$12.54) . The Prosciutto e Funghi was freshly made upon order and took more than 20 minutes to prepare. It was fantastic; great Italian pizza! The freshness of the ingredient and execution was perfect! You can pop by into any Italian restaurant and be assured that the quality of their pizzas are top notch! It was a pity that we did not manage to take any photo of the pizza as we were in a rush.
Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena)
The Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) located at Piazza del Duomo was a 10 minutes walk from Piazza del Campo. 

La Birreria and Siena Cathedral (Italy, Siena)
Piazza Il Campo 58 
53100 Siena, Italy
Tel: +39 0577 284424

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  1. We went sightseeing to these places but can't remember the restaurant we had lunch. As said before, I stopped eating after the first few days. I was missing the chilies and thank god some Chinese food was thrown in between.

    1. Haha. yes, I do remember that you said that before. The few chinese meals I ate there were only so-so.

  2. whoa! love love LOVE the gothic architecture of the cathedral! too bad sg doesn't have churches like that...would have loved to have gotten married in one like that, so romantic and gorgeous!!!!!

    1. Well, you can fly over there and do that! =)


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