A tale of two cities (restaurants)

Large droplets of rain are falling on my freshly blow-dried hair, the air is fresher than I’d like it to be and there are large, dark clouds promising worse weather ahead. Where am I off to? Valletta.

Why on earth would I be heading to Valletta? Well, because paying a visit to Patakka and L’Artiglio is worth it, even in a blizzard. And believe you me, that is not a claim I make lightly.

On Eagle Street, on the lower part of Old Bakery, just a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Valletta is where you’ll find Patakka.

We hurried inside, eager to find shelter but we got so much more than just that.

Brought to you by the same team behind L’Artiglio, Patakka is a slightly more elevated, elegant version of the L’Artiglio we all know and love. Located within the majestic boutique hotel Palais Le Brun, Patakka opened its doors just five months ago, though you’d never guess so.

We were greeted by camera shy head chef Andrew Grech and less camera shy general manager Sean Camenzuli, who were eager to show us their stunning creations, both in terms of food, as well as in terms of the restaurants’ décor.

After what can only be described as a sublime couple of dishes, featuring perfectly seasoned rock fish and a banana-based dessert that was to die for, we embarked on a short journey to L’Artiglio, to get inside the minds of head chef and general manager Janine Camilleri and front of house manager Stefano Borg Olivier.

Young, supremely passionate and with a keen eye for detail, we caught up with Janine as she expertly pan-seared rabbit liver and grilled some local asparagus.

As she described her methods and inspiration, I was secretly praying I’d be able to try everything her kitchen produced. Spoiler alert: my prayers were answered.

I digress. With a knack for experimentation, both Janine and Andrew share a passion for the somewhat unusual, both in terms of flavor combinations as well as textures. Eased by the fact that literally every person involved in the two restaurants have an extremely strong food (and not to mention: wine) culture, trying out new things is what they do best!

Despite being a trained accountant, Janine was inspired by her mother’s experimental cooking from a very young age. Vowing to always put love into her food, a notion Andrew shares too, Janine made it her mission to attract true and genuine food-lovers, primarily those with a taste for adventure.

Well… mission accomplished.

Though the two restaurants have a great deal in common, they also differ in a couple of ways too. A more rustic, raw version of Patakka, L’Artiglio tends to do less with the same ingredients, resulting in charming, always delicious, yet more understated dishes.

If you’re struggling to grasp the concept, just picture the two as siblings. Though raised by the same parents, with similar values and morals, sister 1 opts for jeans on a Friday night, whereas sister 2 would rather throw on a pair of A-line trousers.

In conclusion, if it’s fresh local produce you’re after, a cellar full-to-the-brim with top of the range premiums and magnums, a tremendous selection of whiskeys or dishes, which are not only cooked to perfection, but guaranteed to excite all five of your senses… you’ve come to the right place(s).

We hope you’re excited, ladies and gentlemen, the winter season is about to get a lot more interesting in our beautiful capital city.

Patakka  

2, Eagle Street,

Valletta

2226 0310

Find them on Facebook

 

L'Artiglio

64, Melita Street,

Valletta

2247 6601

Find them on Facebook

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