Editor's note: in September 2014 Daniele Camera from Alloro took over as head chef at Zafferano.
This is the first meal I have eaten at Zafferano following the departure of its long-term head chef. Pea soup with bacon was enjoyable, though the flavour of the peas could have been deeper (15/20). Spring vegetable salad with bagna cauda was not as carefully presented as it used to be, and I preferred the dressing of previous versions of this dish, though the salad elements were certainly good (15/20). Spaghetti with pork cheek and pecorino was a hearty, simple dish that was very enjoyable, the pasta excellent, the sauce full of flavour (16/20). Tagliatelle with morels was less good; although the morels were fine and the texture of the pasta was excellent, the addition of an asparagus sauce just distracted from the dish and unbalanced the flavours slightly (15/20). Monkfish with walnut and caper sauce was nicely cooked, the seasoning on the bold side (15/20). Iberico pork chop had good flavour, though the mash and spinach with it was quite salty, even for me (15/20). Petit fours actually were better than I recall, with a new pastry chef making some lovely moist rum baba, and soft fruit jellies with plenty of flavour (16/20).
The loss of the Michelin star seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophesy. I did not see any deterioration in food prior to the loss of the star, but the demotion caused the head chef to leave. The management have responded by increasing the number of covers, packing tables in tighter and reducing seating times e.g. by removing the canapé stage of the meal. This additional pressure on the kitchen seems to have caused a slight slip in standards, though ingredients are of the same level. This is still very good food, and the service is as polished as ever, but the food is not quite as good as it once was.Book