If you’re hungry or thirsty, you’ll be pleased to know CERTO exists. It opened only months ago in the heart of Saint Boniface. The kind of place that exudes cosiness and good vibes. Take a seat at the bar or at one of the few tables and smell the parmesan, the homemade pesto, the authenticity of it all. Certo is the Italian love for food, family and shared moments. Come at all hours for a coffee, lunch, aperitivo or dinner.
Behind this project: the endearing Federico Mazzoni, whom you may remember from his days at Caffe al dente or La Gazzetta. It was high time the Roman opened his very own joint and so he did, together with his life partner Delphine Dupont -graphic designer and a proven lover of the true Italian cuisine.
Now the chef: Massimo, a hot-blooded Sicilian (excuse the pleonasm) stirring pans in a happily-chaotic open kitchen. He’ll serve you Italy on a plate. From the effortless bruschetta to a delicate swordfish carpaccio or the classic Roman ‘pasta cacio e pepe’ (pecorino cheese and black pepper). Tradition and creativity collide to make you lick your plate clean, “fare la scarpetta” -as the Italians would say, and mop up the sauce with a loaf of bread baked daily by Damien Bouchery. The kitchen is open all day long, so if you come while the chef is taking his pisolino (read nap) Federico will cook you up some pasta: aglio olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and hot Pepper), tomato and basil or his version of cacio e pepe.
Certo serves a huge array of wines too, mostly natural (with as few additives and as little manipulation as possible). The three main types -white, rosé and red, come in funny little fan-like menus and Federico will take great pleasure in giving you his advice.
For starters, I had a wonderful mozzarella di bufala, so creamy it tasted almost like burrata and a zesty and refined artichoke carpaccio. As main course, I chose the rigatoni alla amatriciana (guanciale, pecorino cheese and tomato) and I couldn’t resist trying the ‘cacio e pepe’, which was absolutely heavenly.
If like me, you have no room for dessert or if you fancy yourself a meal at the office or at home, everything (including the wine) can be ordered for takeaway.
Certo, rue Longue Vie 48, 1050 Ixelles. Open Tuesday to Friday from 11 am to 11 pm and for Brunch one Sunday in every month.