Brunch in Rome is a curious thing. It occupies a vague position, hovering somewhere between the traditional, big Sunday lunch and the cram-a-bunch-of-different-salads-and-breadstuffs-onto-your-plate aperitivo tradition. What it has little in common with, however, is the French Toast and Eggs Benedict-fueled, Bloody Mary-lubed brunches of the US of A. I haven’t done much Italian brunching so far, having instead opted to fry eggs and slabs of pancetta at the apartment to approximate the flavors of home. But I broke with tradition this week and ventured to San Lorenzo to sample the flavors of Bocca di Dama – a cute bakery on Via dei Marsi that seems to take its interior design cues from New England.
Prior research indicated that we would be welcome to a heavily laden buffet table of “brunch” delicacies. And laden it was. Meatballs, potato salad, that awesome dish of really super long cooked brocoletti and cabbage whose name I can never remember, plates of focaccia bits, stuffed mini cornetti, a bean soup that I didn’t actually try but it looked and smelled good, a carciofi lasagna that really more reminded me of kugel, and a couple of torta rusticas for good measure. I admired the bounty, having anticipated the absence of such standard brunch items such as waffles, sausage, bacon, hash browns, cheesy grits, biscuits and gravy, and panca…WHOA??? IS THAT A TABLE OF PANCAKES?And, no, it couldn’t be…a bottle of maple syrup? From VERMONT? And honey butter?
Yes, folks, the rumors are true. Bocca di Dama serves pancakes, included with the 18 euro unlimited brunch buffet. In all honesty, they weren’t the best pancakes I’ve ever had, but they were a suitable vehicle for puddles of maple syrup and proved to be a pleasant reminder of American weekends. As with most Roman brunches, I can’t recommend it on the basis of what I think to be authentic brunch, but if you take the local view, and see brunch as a Sunday afternoon buffet meal, then by all means get yourself to Bocca di Dama. The food is fresh, the flavors are clean and good, and they make really adorable cupcakes that unfortunately I did not get a chance to sample.
What: Brunch, or Sunday afternoon buffet lunch
Where: Bocca di Dama – Via dei Marsi, 4
When: Every Sunday afternoon
How much: 18 euro for the unlimited buffet – coffee, water, and OJ included