I, unlike the waiters of this establishment, am speechless.. fortunatley I am not write-less and so the review may continue.
Cencio La Parolaccia: Rag the Swearword.
[I am little dumbfounded by this ‘cencio’ and have a feeling it may be dialect for censor but every dictionary translates it merely as ‘rag’, please shed light if you have the vocabulary torch.. all I know is that it was the nickname of the founder Vincenzo “Cencio” de Santis ]
Having been turned away from Da Augusto and Le Mani in Pasta due to a foolish lack of reservation, my perfect first evening with my surprise guests of mother and brother had started to take a turn for the worse. I was in the middle of requesting a little patience when rain started to fall and, as it would a plant, nurtured the red horns on my mother’s head to blossom and grow. I realized that my particularity for food was no longer appreciated, so we dashed into the nearest cover – Cencio La Parolaccia.
Those who have seen the Rocky Horror Show will understand me when I say that we felt like Brad and Janet. There was a light burning in the Trasteverian place, so we’d entered for shelter from the storm. We were shown hospitality, but that from an alien planet in the form of a musical that shocked but also amused us… fortunately whilst the experience was rocky, nothing to this name was created and we left in our original clothing rather than suspenders and a feather boa.
I do like getting carried away…
The first impressions of this establishment were nothing out of the ordinary, it has the feel of a simple family run joint with well-intentioned but boisterous waiters. We were squished onto a tiny table with a lovely German couple despite the many empty seats (though these filled up as the clock struck 21:00), this ultimately worked in our advantage as they because the windbreak to this ‘experience’. Having been seated, we were given our waterwine glass, though I guess it would have been frightfully gluttonous to have two beverages on the go at once. The meal arrived and we learnt that salt, pepper or even dressing for the salad were really a no-go. Having been denied his request our rebellious German friend had tried to sneak some from an empty table before receiving a slap on the wrist and having his condiments confiscated. As the venue started to fill the euro-cheese keyboard was switched on and my family members cringed as a rather tuneless rendition of ‘o sole mio’, and other such clichés, were loudly churned out by the winking crooner in the corner. Whilst they were wincing I, as the only Italian speaker, was sat in shock, suddenly all too aware of the ‘Paroloacchia’ in the title. The sweet sunny song was suddenly a string of poorly rhymed obscenities. When the music stopped the patrons became the victims and as the waiter announced on the microphone, oh so wittily, that our German friend was a real ‘Richard*’ we realized this might not be the place for us. I was stuck in the middle of the table translating these profanities when a group of 16 year old girls walked in, much to the 60 year old waiter’s pleasure, and he grinned as he announced that he was going to show these ‘Ladies of Negotiable Affections*’ to their table. Whilst I was tutt-ed in the background preparing a rant on feminism in my head, the young girls were giggling wholeheartedly and relishing on the attention and crude humor. CLP was founded in 1941 and has since become (in)famous, maybe it wasn’t the place for a family reunion, but I can imagine that with a group of inebriated (and Italian speaking) friends it could be a lot of fun. The food (5 novels later) was very traditional, delicious, and well-priced, there is not a great variety but all the typical dishes are served, including my beloved Bucatini which somehow was forgotten when Carbonara and Arabbiata were exported abroad.
So would I recommend this restaurant? Yes, on three conditions…
1) Do be unsuspecting
2) Wear your thicker skin
3) Don’t fill your only glass with water…