During our stay on the infamous Amalfi Coast we opted for a day trip to the island of Capri; a must for anyone visiting with a day up their sleeve! For us it was a welcome detour on the trip back from the nearby island of Ischia to Amalfi. We arrived at the main port and were whisked by private buggy up to what is undoubtedly one of the best hotels on the island, JK Place Capri. It was here that we decided to have lunch at their main restaurant 'JKitchen', on the terrace overlooking the port of Capri with Mt Vesuvius in full view on the horizon, nestled between our 'JK Bellini' aperitifs.
And so began another dining experience to remember! These aperitifs were a twist on the usual peach Bellini with prosecco which to be honest I usually don't really like, but these were made by blending prosecco with the pulp of yellow peaches soaked overnight in red wine; a modern take on an Italian tradition. This set the scene for our entire lunch, for this restaurant was officially the first of the many we had tried which actually enhanced the traditional recipes with modern flair and presentation without compromising flavour.
For entree we had Vitello Tonnato which consisted of beautifully presented, pink sous-vide veal shavings with a subtle but delicious tuna sauce finished with chunks of seared tuna and capers. The Italian version of 'reef and beef' some may say; it is a truly delicious classic that may sound a little unusual but believe me, the two pair very well.
Then we tried something a little different, a buffalo mozzarella ball crumbed and deep fried laying on a bed of eggplant purée dotted with sundried tomatoes. Similar to a caprese salad; in keeping with the green, white and red of Italy's flag this dish was elegant in its simplicity. Amazing produce with amazing results.
We struggled to decide on what to order for main; not that the menu is very large, but because everything sounded simplistically amazing. We decided to try three of their pasta's at the chefs suggestion, each of which were very simple classics and so I thought it would be hard to make them impressive but the challenge was accepted. The first was a 'rigatoni carbonara' with perfectly al dente, long, homemade pasta tubes covered in a rich egg yolk and Parmesan sauce. The second was a 'fettuccine cacio e pepe', again with perfectly cooked pasta and a silky sauce with delicate shrimp (prawns) so tender the waiter didn't have to tell me they were freshly caught locally in Capri.
The third of our pastas though was the true masterpiece of simplicity and perfection. It also helped me to understand the real reason why the people of Napoli are happy to live their day-to-day lives in the very clear and present danger at the foot of a volcano... Our 'spaghetti al pomodori vesuviani' was the most simple pasta dish you could imagine, with a plain red sauce; but this was hands down the best plain red sauce we have ever eaten thanks to the cherry tomatoes from Vesuvius which are known as being the best tomatoes in Italy (but I suppose the chef deserves some credit too!) Such simple classics but we were most certainly impressed.
Soaking up the sun from the terrace we managed to keep some room for dessert which proved to be a very good decision because the tiramisu was assembled fresh to order, with chocolate popping candy and modern touches but again no compromise on classic flavour. Gianni had the Torta Caprese (cake from Capri) which was a decadent combination of his sweet-tooth favourites; rich chocolate pudding with subtle cherry liqueur and juicy berries. Some of the freshest and best ingredients we have sampled in Italy, in the hands of a clearly talented chef who knows the value of restraint. Serve it up on a peaceful terrace with breathtaking scenery and you have a recipe for success that made this dining experience a real stand out.