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Fresh ingredients and interesting flavour combinations at La Superba

New restaurants are a dime a dozen at the moment with new places opening up all the time. This leaves diners spoilt for choice but a new problem that diners now face is choosing the right restaurant. Fresh ingredients are paramount and interesting flavour combinations come in at a close second. RACHEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR is happy that La Superba ticks both boxes

Valletta seems to be getting all the good stuff. From being a ghost town after office closing time, our capital has finally seen a little bit of life pumped into her old walls. Insofar as restaurants go, the best ones seem to be setting up shop in Valletta, and why wouldn’t you? With hundreds of people flocking in during the day lunchtime is always busy, and this new lease of life in the evening sees Valletta as a destination of choice, whether you’re up for a night at the theatre, a couple of drinks or a meal. 

La Superba opened its doors last December, and following a short closure, is back under new management with Adriano Cefai and Paola Fiorini at the helm. As soon as you cross the threshold of the restaurant, you know you’re in for a good meal. The ambiance is modern and cool with exposed light fittings and ropes on the ceiling, giving off the trendy industrial vibe with a more refined finish. Artworks and wine bottles adorn the walls and slim, smart customers, dressed in suits are already sipping on their first glass of wine. 

The menu is short – just the way it should be – as the one thing on which La Superba are unwavering is the freshness of ingredients. Carpaccios depend on what fish is fresh at the beginning of the day, so a white fish carpaccio may be sea bass one day or local lampuki (dolphin fish) the next. 

Three of us settled down at our table and began to leaf through the menu, while we sipped on our wine and helped ourselves to bread. When deciding whether a restaurant is excellent or simply does a good job, the devil is in the detail. It is easy to get a number of main dishes right but can you do everything else? If detail is what we’re looking for then La Superba has it – homemade breadsticks, good quality olive oil served with their bread. We love the little things. 

On to the most important part… the food. We ordered three different starters including a prawn bisque served with chunks of local prawns with just a hint of thyme and served with crusty Maltese toast. The second starter was a pasta dish, the impressive black ravioli – dyed with squid ink – dotted with the bright red of roasted cherry tomatoes were served in a lemon sauce with a slightly sweet notes. The third starter is La Superba’s most popular and recommended by the chef, a trio of raw fish with a Mediterranean and Asian mix including tuna in balsamic vinegar and soy, seabass with orange, pistachio and berries dusted on cocoa powder and a salmon tartare with peanut butter and fried ribbons of zucchini and carrots. This is not your average selection of crudi, but if you if you are looking for something a little bit different then these flavour combos are sure to hit your taste buds by surprise. 

The mains are a little more meaty! We settled for a dish of lamb cutlets wrapped in bacon served on a bed of polenta, fish skewers and an Italian version of fish and chips. How do you make fish and chips Italian you say? The chips are made from real potatoes, thinly sliced and quick-fried, more akin to homemade crisps than the chunky English version. The fish is Mediterranean – sea bass – made with a light Italian batter. 

The three of us were pretty full by the end of the meal so decided to skip the desserts but the menu promises more Italian delights. I feel like you should always leave a restaurant not having tried all the things you want to try. This way there is a very good excuse to return. And one thing’s for sure. We will return. 

 

La Superba

60, Melita Street,

Valletta

Tel: 21239843

Web: www.lasuperba.com.mt 

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