Bye Bye Blues is a well-known restaurant in Palermo with a Michelin star. We didn’t go there but to their trattoria called “Officina del Gusto” (Taste Workshop). We didn’t go to the restaurant so it’s hard to compare, but the prices are lower and I expect the restaurant to be more formal than the trattoria.
Upon our arrival the waiter explained to us that a really nice ricciola had come in, a big fish a bit like tuna that had been caught that morning. We had never heard of this fish before, but we never turn down opportunities for very fresh fish or to try new things. So we ordered the 5-course degustation menu (40 euros) and requested to incorporate the ricciola into the menu.
We ordered a bottle of Grillo ” Kheire” from the producer Gorghi Tondi, a nice Sicilian white that reminded us a bit of Gruner Veltliner. As we are travelling we cannot buy wine from wineries, but we sure can try Sicilian wines at the restaurants. This wine is made in stainless steel in a very fruity style and has great balance.
As antipasto we get tartare of the ricciola, dressed with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice. The fish is indeed very fresh and has a nice pink color. The accompanying salad with tomatoes and croutons is served on a strip of mozzarella mousse, very nice. The salad pairs very well with the fish. 9/10
The first primo is rice with vegetables, creamy burrata cheese, and sea urchin. The dish is nice but for a very bitter note — the fava beans? The sea urchin pairs nicely with the burrata, the rice and the vegetables. 7/10
The second primo is spaghetti with squid ink and pea puree. The combination is nice, but there could have been a bit more of the pea puree. This is the first time that I remember having squid ink spaghetti that was actually tasty. The ink wasn’t (only) in the spaghetti, but also in the sauce. It had a fresher taste. 8/10
The ricciola returned in the secondo: the belly seared on the grill served with oven-roasted potatoes, fennel salad, and blood orange. The fish was cooked perfectly (still pink inside), very tender and juicy, and paired very well with the salad. 9/10
Another very enjoyable meal in Sicily. I’m rating 8.5/10 for the food. And we got to know a new fish. I wish I’d be able to procure fresh ricciola back home!