For the sixth consecutive year, Hotel Butterfly has opened its doors, returning to enliven the Roman summer until October 8th, creating a charming location on the edge of the dreamlike rising in the verdant spaces of Monte Mario and the Foro Italico.
Brand new to the sixth edition of Hotel Butterfly is the creation of an enchanting forest of the imaginary and surreal in the heart of Rome, Bosco Parallelo, as well as a new Japanese-Asian cuisine with Mediterranean suggestions curated by Koji Nakai and Roberto Salviati.
An Enchanting Space in Rome
Indeed, Rome’s summer evenings at the Butterfly feature not only avant-garde sounds, but also food that symbolizes the meeting of cultures, perched between the spicy flavors of the East and the excellent ingredients of the Mediterranean.
The journey through Japan and Southeast Asia is led by the skillful hands of Koji Nakai, a Japanese chef originally from Kobe and owner of the Nakai restaurant in Rome, along with Roberto Salviati, owner of Tanuki Izakaya, the first typical Japanese trattoria in Rome. Together the two have lent a new and highly refined gastronomic soul to this special space.
The area has been renovated, created and designed by designer Matteo Parenti under the supervision of owner-Giancarlo Battafarano with the aim of bestowing ever new sensations, just as if one were inside the set design of a film, which is reproduced in real time right before the eyes of the viewer.
Passing through the front door, guests find themselves in the Garden, decorated with peach blossoms and references to suggestions of the countries of the Rising Sun, whose design winks at the style of the early 1900s, with wrought-iron objects that evoke the dreamlike character of the venue.
Housing the bar-where the capital’s most innovative mixologists operate, creating a continuum between music and spirits-and the restaurant, the garden is the main meeting place. Both structures borrow the architecture of the early 20th-century modern movement, particularly the Northern European architecture of Walter Gropius, one of the founders of the Bauhaus art movement, that of Josef Hoffman, and the Czech-Cubist architecture of Josef Gočár, with exquisitely geometric and minimalist volumes.
Two wrought-iron staircases, passing through an eye-shaped portal, then lead to another room, a former nursery that was abandoned for years and recently reclaimed by Battafarano himself, hidden from view by tall green hedges. This is the Parallel Forest, a multiverse where time moves to the rhythm of the most sensory music and under the light of a more discreet moon. A fairy-tale place where one is projected into another dimension, almost futuristic, where plays of light and shadow, immersive sounds and mirrors create a space-time continuum.
Exhibitions, artistic and musical performances find their ideal space here, far from the city chaos, among lush palm trees and agave plants. The star of the Bosco’s mixology bar is agave itself with an exclusive selection of tequilas and mezcals with intense, peaty flavors from the Casamigos brand known for its hand-harvested quality agave grown in the clay soil of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.
Once again, enlivening the evenings of Hotel Butterfly with engaging and fascinating artistic performances is the Butterfly Company – a group of professional actors who bring to life whimsical characters, evoking fantastical dimensions and suggestions through atmospheric theater pieces, skillful gestures and evocative costumes. Also this year there is no shortage of space dedicated to art-house cinema with screenings of the greatest silent film classics each night.
The Delicious Bites at Hotel Butterfly
Music, cinema and theater, are the protagonists of Hotel Butterfly’s summer, together with a skillful mixology proposal and excellent cuisine, tinged, for this edition, with exotic and distant flavors, colors and scents.
A journey to the East, led by the skillful hands of Koji Nakai, a Japanese chef originally from Kobe and proprietor of the Nakai restaurant in Rome, curated the entire menu at Hotel Butterfly together with Roberto Salviati, owner of Tanuki Izakaya, the first typical Japanese trattoria in Rome. The dishes on offer have a strong Japanese and Asian feel but with an important Mediterranean influence that embraces not only the shores of Italy but also those of Greece and Turkey.
It starts with a selection of Gyoza (typical dumplings filled with shrimp, pork or vegetables) and Takoyaki, the famous octopus balls with katsuboshi. Space is also given to crudités such as carpaccio and tartare or Japanese Style Ceviche with amberjack, cherry tomatoes, avocado, wakame, yuzu and shiso. Then you cannot miss tempura such as Unagi Tempura of eel, or salads (with salmon or vegetarian).
Three cooked dishes are on the menu: Chicken Teriyaki, lacquered chicken skewers with teriyaki sauce, yogurt sauce, and cucumber; Spicy Salmon, grilled salmon with red curry sauce and coconut milk accompanied with black rice; and Black Cod Saikyo Style, miso-marinated Alaskan Black Cod with yuzu, sake, and mirin. Unmissable are also the Nigiri of tuna, salmon, shrimp, amberjack and scallop, and Hosomaki as well as Rolls (also veg).
Among these, the iconic Butterfly, a roll with tuna and avocado in an almond crust and topped with spicy tuna tartare, is a must. The dishes can be paired with glasses of wine or exclusive drinks, again made with the advice of Koji Nakai, inspired by the flavors of the Orient and made with the use of sake, yuzu and plum liqueur.
Desserts also have a strong exotic influence. On the menu, in fact, there is no shortage of Mochi, glutinous rice treats popular in Japan, available in four versions: chocolate, green tea, coconut and mango. Space is also given to Madeleine’s signature plate desserts, made by talented pastry chef Francesca Minnella, such as Tarte yuzu and coconut, Green Tea Delight, and Azuky in Love, a soft cake with azuki beans, raspberry gelee, and fresh raspberries.