The mantra of Kook can be summed up succinctly by the words they carved into a rough cement portion of the wall. Loosely translated, they mean: “Whoever doesn’t enjoy the meal is crazy, furious and devoid of common sense.” But there’s little chance of diners coming to Kook and not enjoying the fine Mediterranean, almost-tavern-style cuisine–especially the pizzas. But as accomplished as the food is, this is the kind of place where you’d come for a meal and stay for the ambience.
A bit out of Rome proper (a 40-minute drive from the centre), near the town of Olgiata, Kook’s certainly not a place you’d come to for a speedy meal in any case. Diners can take their pick of where to eat when they arrive; it’s a sprawling space with both an open-air terrace and a light-filled dining room, designed by NOSES Architects.
For all the industrial starkness of the interiors–the rough concrete, the white walls, the exposed piping–the space feels warm and welcoming. The furniture is a mismatch of styles and ages (from the spindly wooden dining chairs to the hunky great red leather sofas), with dangling chandeliers, a wall-mounted Bianchi bicycle, and a massive living olive tree encased in glass at the centre of it all. It’s a quirky, quasi-industrial space that flips the idea of a traditional Italian pizzeria on its head.