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We ventured into the restaurant for breakfast, all modern, floors shining like a hospital waiting room in Berlin, each table square without a cloth, one knife and fork outside a solitary napkin. Across to the right, carafes of different coloured juices with little advice as to their origin, ahead to the left a smattering of cut fruit and grapes.

Obviously we are late, condiments aplenty and a few rolls, but not a vast selection of interesting consumables for such a well-advertised quite new 4 star hotel on the rebuilt Savona pier. We took our selections of fruit, juice, green tea (after queuing patiently for hot water while others learned how to operate the café latte function) and a mini-croissant or two, captured a table and settled down for a quick nosh.

Outside to the right maybe 40 metres away stood another newish glass building about, the Savona standard, 6 levels high. My wife, looking at this unremarkable neat green glass building, exclaimed to attract my attention. I looked across and my gaze was drawn upwards. Above the building loomed a hulking yellow and black shape reminding me of a coloured Staypuft Marshmallow Man of Ghostbuster’s fame – surely it could not be dangerous.

Then concentrating on details I spied to the left, between this building and another, an even higher structure directly behind the building and realized that this was a Costa cruise ship lurking in the port to absorb thousands of last minute summer holiday seekers from around the world, many of whom must be our partners this morning at breakfast. Given the rate of food disposal observed at breakfast, the galley on board will have a challenging few days.

We had arrived in Savona after 10pm the previous evening on the ‘all stations’ Intercity from Rome, not one of Trenitalia’s more salubrious vessels, one where you stare at the tracks below when attending the toilet, and muse on the state of cleanliness of the tracks after a long weekend of festival revelling. Arriving at the hotel after 1030 pm we were in a rush to find a restaurant.

Yet a paradox of Savona waterside is that it has a plethora of virtually full cafes, discos and bars plus a few meat specialist eateries on the waterside. Maybe all the fish have flown to less noisy ports? Fortunately, in a side street we found a fish café whose chef was prepared to re-open the kitchen to serve us. We chose fried calamari and prawn appetizer, spada and bacala, plus a bottle of Soave and parted with less than €25.

Before sitting outside, the waitress informed us that she would not be serving us but would call us when the fish was ready as the café was only licensed for take away. Bemused, I borrowed her corkscrew and opened the wine, and Claudia, listened to the conversation with another recent guest, who was informed that the café would change to a meat bistro in October for 6 months and then revert to a fish café at Easter.

We shared the appetizer and varying quantities of Soave, that was excellent value, and we noticed that a large sign above the door tells us in blue on white that the café is named Sapore d’amare, Fish Grill. When our fish were ready, Claudia, in her normal investigative mode, sought explanations.

Apparently lovers of fish are summer souls, while meat eaters thrive in the wet months of winter, thereby allowing next season’s spade and perch to ’fatten up’ in the Med. But what about the sign and the name? It was then that the ‘penny dropped’ and Claudia realised that the name of the fish grill is Flavours of Love (amare) not Flavours of the Sea (mare).

So very soon, the oil in the kitchen will change, more vino rosso will be stocked and the nameplate will be replaced by a red one with the only word to change being to replace ‘Fish’ with ‘Meat’.

Very sustainable and economical!

(This article is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)

Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine