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Visit at Piazza Duomo, Alba


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#1 Man

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 01:14 PM

During a four month stay in Turin, one of the most impressive experiences was our trip to Piazza Duomo. We had the 'traditional menu', which is Crippa's magical reinterpretation of some Piemonte classic flavours and preparations.

It's an experience I'd recommend to anybody who wants to understand modern Italian cuisine, and how the opposition between tradition and modernity can be simply stepped over.

This is the most beautiful dish we had, a reinterpretation of pannaccotta (the most beautiful though not the most successful! This version loses a crucial feature of traditional well-made pannacotta, i.e. its lovely wobbliness)

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On the other hand, these agnolotti not only had a modern elegance of presentation, they were also unbeaten by any other agnolotti we've had (and we've had many!)

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My advice is: go! On a Saturday lunch you won't have much difficulty booking: only one other table was occupied beside ours, with one person. Three front of house people for three customers!

Edited by Man, 19 June 2011 - 01:15 PM.


#2 hathor

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:54 AM

Pretty colors on the panna cotta. But I'm curious about your statement, "how the opposition between tradition and modernity can be simply stepped over". To what effect? What has been achieved?
Maybe it's because of the disclaimer about the panna cotta loosing it's essential wobble.
Or the sparse agnolotti on the plate, which unless you ate very rapidly meant you were eating cold pasta.

I usually bristle a little when someone says "Italian cuisine" because there is no homogenized Italian cuisine, it's regional cuisine. But.. when you insert 'modern' into the equation, maybe there is a place for the development of a culinary national identity.

#3 Man

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:12 AM

Pretty colors on the panna cotta. But I'm curious about your statement, "how the opposition between tradition and modernity can be simply stepped over". To what effect? What has been achieved?
Maybe it's because of the disclaimer about the panna cotta loosing it's essential wobble.
Or the sparse agnolotti on the plate, which unless you ate very rapidly meant you were eating cold pasta.

I usually bristle a little when someone says "Italian cuisine" because there is no homogenized Italian cuisine, it's regional cuisine. But.. when you insert 'modern' into the equation, maybe there is a place for the development of a culinary national identity.


Hi Hathor, I hesitate a little to go back to the vexed issue of tradition vs modern...

Personally, in Torino I felt very clearly the difference between 'unreconstructed' places and places that have embraced the modern world while still serving the classics. If I could just take you around and show you it would be so obvious. I am not only talking about high end places like Crippa's. If you have the chance, go to Consorzio (Via Monte di Pieta'), a fantastic value trattoria (tasting menu 30 euros) that does all the old Piemonte classics with modern lightness, eye for presentation and small extra original touches that show understanding of flavours (talking about pannacotta, theirs is the best, served in three small portions, each topped by a small amount of different sauces of different acidity - e.g. barolo chinato, orange..., a gem).

Back to high end, the Crippa Agnolotti had all you might want from traditional agnolotti, plus an elegant presentation and the elimination of any stodginess, an absolute precision of flavours and a number of small touches, such as the crumbly dimension, that for me make this a great dish to eat. As to your remark on temperature, no: the plate was very hot and the service was performed efficiently, which means that the pasta didn't get cold - it got colder in some traditional places were it was served in the napkin, as tradition wants it...

OF COURSE there is an Italian cuisine, it may be regional, but it is Italian. When I go around the numerous 'Italian' London restaurants I immediately classify them as true and fake Italian. It may be a factor difficult to express in words, but it is there. Crippa for example may be 'internationalised' but his menu could not be described as anything but Italian.

#4 hathor

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 02:10 AM

I'd love to have you take me around Torino! We finally got there last Oct for Salone del Gusto and never left the Conference area, which does include the Mothership Eataly.
We're anxious to go back and explore the city.

I still would have to argue there is no "Italian" cuisine per se. The regional divides run deep and strong.
A bruschetta in Toscana (bread topped with chopped tomatoes) is not a bruschetta in Umbria (bread rubbed with garlic and covered in olive oil). I know that's a simplistic example.

As you are leery of rehashing modernist v.traditional, I'm leery of the true v. fake debate.
Is it fake if they import ingredients? Or is it fake if they use local English ingredients? And believe me, I don't know the answer.

#5 bmdaniel

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 04:57 AM

We had a great meal here on our honeymoon in 09 - besides the food which was excellent, we were struck by how warm the service was; probably the most personal (in a good way) that we have had at a high-end fine dining restaurant (perhaps tied with Cracco on the same trip, so perhaps it is just an Italian thing).

#6 Man

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:32 AM

Fresh news: finally the third star has arrived. On the basis of my experience, fully deserved.

#7 IanT

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:20 AM

Very surprised on the basis of a meal there last summer, I thought it was overrated at 2*. At the time I said: "Not all that original (I had seen many of the ideas/techniques before), a few good courses but generally gimmicky, I disliked the room and service (sommelier apart) wasn't good (partly due to the awkward room)."

#8 FDE

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 04:20 PM

This thread deserves an update since Chef Enrico’s cuisine has evolved significantly over the last few years.  My recent visit there was much more enjoyable than my first visit six years ago; more sophisticated meal and significant improved service, very friendly with detailed explanations for each course.   Here are some highlights:

 

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Meringue coated with cocoa and parmesan. Puffy taco with avocado and sesame.

 

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A unique looking soup crisp dusted with seaweed powder underneath.

Very simple course, but I have never had such an intense bok choi flavour in my mouth before!

Slices of rapa salted in miso, then simply served with drops of olive oil and lemon juice. 

 

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Beautifully presented here was Chef Enrico's version of "Piedmonte omelette", a green sponge cake made of chard with tuna pâté on top.

 

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Another eye-pleasing course was his take on a typical Rome artichoke dish where he sous-vide the artichoke and deep fried the skin and the interesting component revealed itself after I destroyed the neatly stacked structure - bone marrow of rabbit!

 

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His signature course! A huge bouquet contained 41 vegetables, herbs, and flowers all from his garden, to be eaten with a pair of tweezers.  It took me a very long time to finish this course since I tried to taste each item one by one.

 

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On top of a colourful painting was a pair of raw scallops.  Contrary to what appeared a strong sauce, the cheese was very mild, balanced well with the fruitiness from the umeboshi and without overshadowing the freshness of the scallop!  The best part was the toasted sesame, dried seaweed, and a touch of wasabi hidden on the other side of the scallop. Clever!

Another signature dish of Chef Enrico serving in Venetian glassware that was made just for this course to resemble a potato.  Creamy potato velouté with egg crowded and topped by a very generous amount of white truffle!

 

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Roasted lamb with fennel, lamb jus, and a creamy lamb milk sauce at the bottom.

 

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Last course, a very innovative dessert using Fruits and Vegetables of the season!  Sounded weird to incorporate vegetables but it worked exceptionally well with a great mix of textures while offering a hint of freshness and chestnut sweetness.  This was a light but very satisfying dish to end a long meal.

 

I definitely will make another revisit next time when I am back in Alba.

 

Full meal HERE.

 


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