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Osteria Francescana


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#1 FDE

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 02:53 PM

We were in Modena two months ago and had one of the most unforgettable meals. Here are some highlights:

A miniature Fish Market with fresh raw seafood on ice - oyster, prawn, lobster, and sea bream from Adriatic Sea with a flick of sea water emulsion. The surprising part was actually underneath the ice! We broke open the ice before eating and found ourselves surrounded by an intense charcoal smokiness from this "abstract grill"!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qESuJvDXsE

This is the only place you could have "grilled sashimi"!

Another superb course was Eel swimming up stream in the Po river:
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Using eel from the main river in northern Italy, this is Massimo's version of Japanese barbeque eel but using Saba sauce instead! Served with an acidity distilled green apple on the left and a polenta cream on the right.

The menu was well thought out that each course had its point! Here, Massimo reinvented a traditional Modena dish, Cotechino.

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Cotechino and Lentils in May

It was a menu full of outstanding courses, but the desserts took the spotlight! Before the meal, they did ask us how opened-minded we were with dessert.

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It was foie gras with 40-year old balsamic vinegar spilling out, coated with crushed hazelnut and almond! The richness of the creamy foie, the deep flavour from the aged balsamic, the crunchiness from the roasted nuts, and the delicate sweetness from the Moscato...

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Exceptional, truly exceptional! Chef Bottura really has guts to serve foie gras as a pre-dessert, but the manager said they usually serve it much earlier as it could be too shocking for many diners. Regardless when you have it, this is a spectacular snack anytime of the day!

Then, the most unforgettable dessert in my life! Not only was it impressive on the palate, but in my mind too. How could things that sounded so wrong for dessert be so right?!

The warm baked aroma coming out of this sweet potato was appealing, the seductive fragrance from the white truffle was arousing, and without a doubt, the crème anglaise did a brilliant job of marrying them together.

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They first scooped out the baked sweet potato and then made a soufflé out of it. Even with the crème anglaise, this airy soufflé wasn't overwhelming at all and it did a good job of satisfying our sweet cravings. It was indeed a damn good dessert!

This meal definitely justifies a special trip to Modena!

For album of full meal, see HERE.
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#2 fortedei

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 03:19 PM

And where were the white truffles from?

#3 IFS

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 12:47 AM

We are planing to go end of July - what menues do they serve there as there is no info on the website? I reckon there is a classic and more contemporary one? What about price and the wine menu?

Thanks a lot in advance!

#4 FDE

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 02:14 AM

Yes, they have a Classic and a Contemporary tasting menu. I am sure they can do you a "mixed" version if you want to try a bit from both. Or if you have a particular course that you want from the menu that I had, do mention it when you confirm the booking. But even browsing through the a-la-carte, there were quite a few courses that I want to try as well. I mean, one meal there isn't enough. I will be going back soon.

I think it was around 160euro per menu but might change in different seasons.
There isn't a fixed wine pairing but the sommelier will sure do a good job depending on your preference and consumption.

Must go, you will enjoy it!
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#5 kai-m

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 12:36 PM

Glad that you had a great meal, FDE! Some of those dishes look interesting indeed. Maybe I have to go back there - but I have to say that our first dinner at La Francescana in June 2009 was rather disappointing, all in all. The foie gras with 40-year old balsamic vinegar, coated with crushed hazelnut and almond was amazing - one of the best foie gras dishes I have ever had. The "5 different versions of parmeggiano reggiano" was very good as well.
But the rest of our 9 course meal was rather mediocre in hindsight - especially when compared to other top end avant garde restaurants, such as Amador in Langen/Germany or Alinea in Chicago. (I see you had the same pasta dish that we had - and I don't know how many other, more traditional restaurants you visited, but had way more interestng pasta dishes in some simple trattorias around Modena and Bolona.)
Service was extremely stiff, the manager being pretty arrogant (especially when talking about "all those stupid bloggers"...).
How long was your evening there? We were in and out in about 2 hours... it seemed like Mr. Bottura was not present that night and the staff wnated to get home early... (some diners arrived after us and even left before us). Not what you would expect in one of the worlds top 10 restaurants

Pictures (not very good at all) can be found here:
http://sternefresser...ndex.php?id=143

But maybe the only had a bad night and we need to go back there.

Greetings
kai

PS: regarding he different menus: we had the "classic's" menu. And it seems that the best dishes of that one (foie gras, parmegginao) are also part of the "Contemporary" menu.

Edited by kai-m, 07 August 2010 - 12:47 PM.


#6 marc at fraiche

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 05:07 PM

i have to say kai, i have recently eaten there too on the classics menu and yes the foie gras dish and the parmesan 5 textures are very good, but i did feel a little deflated with the other courses, the pasta and beans dish with the foie royale to me was quite strange and in reflection the meal on the previous evening outshone it on the whole at rigoletto,which had lovely front of house, great wine list there with great bread and the best pasta i have tasted upto now in any restaurant just superb, i would try francescana again but not in the near future, hoping to make my way over to combal zero :smile:

#7 kai-m

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 03:58 AM

Reassuring to hear that Iam not the only one who felt a bit disappointed by the Osteria.
But Iam not sure about Combal.zero either - from what I saw and read the cuisine there seems to rely very much on culinary jokes and silly gimmicks.

Having eaten at 3 of italys most renowned restaurants by now (and some regular 1*-places), all of them very different (La Pergola in Rome, Il Duomo in Sicily, La Francescana) and all of them kind of disappointing, Iam not sure anymore if italian high end cuisine is really worth the time/journey/money...

greetings
kai

Edited by kai-m, 08 August 2010 - 04:41 AM.


#8 FDE

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 05:03 AM

How long was your evening there? We were in and out in about 2 hours... it seemed like Mr. Bottura was not present that night and the staff wnated to get home early... (some diners arrived after us and even left before us). Not what you would expect in one of the worlds top 10 restaurants


We were there during lunch, the only table. Our meal was 3.5hrs, Chef Bottura and his wife Lara were there as well. They are very friendly!

Having eaten at 3 of italys most renowned restaurants by now (and some regular 1*-places), all of them very different (La Pergola in Rome, Il Duomo in Sicily, La Francescana) and all of them kind of disappointing, Iam not sure if italian high end cuisine is really worth the time/journey/money...


Hmmm... sorry to hear that you are a bit disappointed. I was at La Pergola 3yrs ago and felt it was just a very French influenced meal. But what about the 3* Dal Pescatore? I was there 3yrs ago as well and it is one of my favourite Italian restaurant. The 2* Vissani (north of Rome) is pretty good as well. We had a good seafood meal at the new 3* da Vittorio last month too. (HERE is all my Italian experience in case you are interested.)
But in Italy, I found great food everywhere... maybe that makes it less a gap (just food alone) between high-end restaurants and regular places compares to other cuisines around the world. I always visit Alba in November for the white truffle... all the restaurants I had so far were great (at least much better than London).

But Iam nut sure about Combal.zero either - from what I saw and read the cuisine there seems to rely very much on culinary jokes and silly gimmicks.


Combal.zero, it is one of my target for this year. Yes, I think it will be a bit gimmicky but I just hope it would be a fun experience with a few tasty courses. I will definitely go and check it out soon.
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#9 Man

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:04 PM

At last the third star has arrived.

#10 FDE

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 03:37 AM

Thanks for the great news!
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#11 Mjx

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:14 PM

Last Thursday my boyfriend and I made the trip from Florence to Modena, to lunch at Osteria Francescana. We went with the Traditional tasting menu, partly because nostalgia features large in any trip I make to Italy.
The Proust quotation referring to Madeleines appears at the top of the menu, and, although I felt like I should regard this as a bit contrived, the moment the amuse arrived, it kind of made sense (even if I still don't care for Proust).

Some pictures (sorry about the poor quality, but we essentially took them to reminisce over, and to be able to illustrate our enthusiastic descriptions to friends and family):

'Memory of a mortadella sandwich' amuse bouche; the mortadella is a mousse, and the pistachios and garlic appear separately at the right, ground and as a cream, respectively, so all the flavours stood out very cleanly and intensely
Memory Mortadella Sandwich 2012-04-05 at 19.54.25.png

Massimo Spigaroli Culatello (42 months), Modena Prosciutto (30 months) with a mostarda
Culatello:Prosciutto 2012-04-05 at 19.55.40.png

'Little finger' tortellini in capon broth
Tortellini Capon Broth 2012-04-05 at 19.56.58.png

Tagliatelle in ragù
Tagliatelle Ragù 2012-04-05 at 19.57.21.png

'Bollito misto non bollito' (a deconstructed bollito misto; clockwise from a bit past the 18.00 position are head [amazing gelatinous consistency, my favourite, I think], tongue, a bit I forget, trotter, tail, and cotechino; there was an incredibly evanescent parsley foam in the centre, and underneath it all was a reduction of red bell peppers)
Bollito Misto non Bollito 2012-04-05 at 19.58.21.png

Pre-desert consisting of a wafer sitting on a dab of yogurt, and topped by a disk of goat milk ice
Goat Milk Ice 2012-04-05 at 19.58.47.png

A deconstructed warm and chilled Zuppa Inglese
Warm:Cold Zuppa Inglese 2012-04-05 at 20.09.33.png

Array of small sweets, including a raspberry gel with rose crumbles (unless I'm very mistaken), some very glossy Madeleines (a nod to the Proust quotation?), and some tiny baba
Small Sweets 2012-04-05 at 20.56.08.png

Each course was accompanied by incredible bread, and we shared a bottle of 2009 La Stoppa Rosso, which we were too stuffed to finish.

We did manage to fit in coffee, then concluded that remaining seated would mean we'd lapse into a coma, so we paid up, then wandered about Modena until it was time to take the train back to Florence.

It's difficult to describe a largely visceral reaction that accurately evokes memories I'd believed were unduly rosy. I don't love dining experiences that verge on performance art, so I particularly appreciated the serene and evocative nature of this meal, but I do realize that for someone who did not got to school in Italy a few decades ago, the impact must be quite different. A moment that stands out clearly is when Mr. Bottura began discussing the amuse, as we began on it, and my spontaneously exclaiming 'Oh!', then briefly reminiscing with him about school merende, savouring a bit of a collective memory. It was remarkably personal.

I'd do this all again in a heartbeat.

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#12 weinoo

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:54 AM

While everything looks amazing, that culatello and prosciutto truly made my mouth water.
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#13 janeer

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:54 PM

While everything looks amazing, that culatello and prosciutto truly made my mouth water.

My thought exactly.

#14 Mjx

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:37 AM

One of the great things about prosciutto and culatello is that, knowing the names of the particular ones you've sampled, you can go out and get some to bring home with you!

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