Ravello is an enchanting little town perched high above the Amalfi Coast, and Belmond Hotel Caruso is one of the most historic hotels there, so what better place to experience a luxurious lunch! A former 11th century palace, it has far reaching views towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Recently voted one of the top 25 hotels in Europe in the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards, it’s been lovingly restored, retaining many original features. We had been invited to lunch in the Belvedere restaurant, and marvelled at the terraced gardens leading towards the infinity pool.
Built on the highest point above Ravello, it appears to float above the sea, and provides unparalleled views. Hotel guests can request an Evian vaporizer, fresh fruit appetizer or an iPod pre-loaded with their choice of music, what a brilliant idea! A well-known rockstar was relaxing by the pool when we visited.
The Belvedere Restaurant is renowned for its local Mediterranean dishes. Chef Mimmo di Raffaele has been inspired by traditional Italian specialities to create a contemporary menu. We chose to dine on the picturesque outdoor terrace, although you can also dine in the elegant indoor restaurant or the al fresco area near to the pool. Our friendly waiter brought us a wonderful complimentary appetizer of langoustine tail with truffle sauce and purple potato and olive emulsion.
Always a sucker for a theme, I had opted for the Neopolitan Tradition lemon menu. My starter was an aromatic dish of lemon leaves roasted with provola cheese and delicate thresher fish. They had even prepared a mini version for Mr Luxe to try.
My next course was lemon Scialatelli pasta with marinated prawns, seasoned with sfusato Amalfi lemon. These are very large lemons grown on the Amalfi Coast, with a point at the end, and bursting with flavour.
My main course was a very tasty fillet of seabream with lemon emulsion and potatoes of candied lemon. The presentation was very appealing and the skin was perfectly crispy.
We shared my final course, this beautiful platter of lemon wedge mellow with ice cream – they look rather like slices of egg don’t they?
Mr Luxe opted for the à la carte menu, starting with linguine pasta flavoured with a traditional colatura combination of salted anchovies and lemon from Amalfi. The pasta was perfectly al dente, cooked just enough to retain its springiness.
There’s even a little chapel decorated with 18th century frescoes.
The hotel boutique is a work of art in itself, with more frescoes on the walls and ceiling. There’s even a line of clothing that takes the fresco motif and reproduces it on silk. I couldn’t resist purchasing one of the beach cover ups designed for the Belmond Jimbaran Bali, whose beach club we had visited a week before.
If you get time, make sure to visit the church opposite the hotel, it’s been beautifully preserved.
The gardens of Ravello are also a must-see, whether the Byzantine arches of the Villa Rufolo below or the infinity terrace at the romantic Villa Cimbrone. Of course, there are many more unmissable places to visit on the Amalfi Coast, but the Belmond Hotel Caruso is definitely an excellent choice for a luxurious lunch or stay.
Belmond Hotel Caruso, Piazza San Giovanni del Toro 2, 84010 Ravello, Italy