By nature are suspicious of the premises open to rain from top chefs, especially after they become public figures thanks to the presence on television: I always think that a chef should do their jobs in their local, focusing on his kitchen and tv, show cooking, advice and management of clubs up and down Italy talking alter personality, weakening the culinary offer. Then, you will understand very well that I was not optimistic about the Bistro opened in Novara from Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Patron 2 Michelin star of Villa Crespi in Orta San Giulio, in February 2017 will also open a new venue in Turin. The bistro, on three floors, is in the city centre, occupying the spaces located in a wing of the Teatro Coccia. On the top floor, a beautiful panoramic terrace overlooking the Piazza Martiri della Libertà. The formula is very long: the restaurant practically is always open, It starts from breakfast until after Theatre, going for lunch, both the fast formula (Bistro), both in the formula restaurant, appetizers and of course dinner. On the ground floor there is a large bar with a café and an open kitchen that prepares the dishes for the bistro. Quick meals, in Mediterranean style, large portions and well presented. To offer breakfast of croissants, brioche, but also international mold cakes, cookies and Neapolitan cakes (sfogliatelle, Cray-Fish, pastiera, Torta tenerina, Torta caprese, delizie al limone). The furnishings are contemporary, in the industrial style that for a while now’ time goes very fashionable, but with personal touches like coffee pots and aluminium utensils. The first floor is multifunctional: in week supports covered in the bistro, While in the end of the week the restaurant. Is’ always very busy so I recommend booking.
From the opening yesterday, in November 2015, the venue underwent a sharp turning radius in the Hall with the arrival of new Director, Piemonteis Ivan Famanni, maitre d ' and sommelier, with decades of experience in the restaurant world: the Arquade Villa del Quar restaurant Marquis Scala. Accuracy, punctuality and attentive service and not in a cast, attention to detail, they are one of the strengths of this place. The team, both room both in the kitchen, consists of very young, mostly from Villa Crespi, headquarters of Antonino Cannavacciuolo. A team that seemed very tight-knit and attentive to the needs of guests. In the pot you see right away that there is Cannavaccuiuolo at 100%, from all'impiattamento. Everything is consistent with the philosophy of a chef, Maybe in some respects better than others, has succeeded in combining the flavours of the North and those of the South in a balanced. In the kitchen, on the third floor (then separate from that of the bistro on the ground floor), chef Vincenzo Manicone, from Villa Crespi, along with eight other people, including a pastry chef.
Three proposals: a la carte menu, the tasting “Curtain” at 50 euros (5 servings) and the menu “With my eyes closed” chef's scribbles, with 7 brought to 70 euro. I chose the menu “Curtain”, with a natural wine tasting, chosen by the sommelier. On the table, the loaves are obviously home made with sourdough: double zero flour, rye flour, mixed seeds, tomato and Parmesan wafers, waffle with cuttlefish and onion. Welcome chef consists of almond Neapolitans taralli pepatissimi, hot scones and a crispy wafer of black rice with gorgonzola Dop mousse di Novara. Calderon, that is the Ambassador of the consortium of Gorgonzola Dop, loves adding value to local products is in the pot, both in the glass. And this I like.
The Starter immediately tells the life of Calderon, between North and South: Fried anchovies with burrata cream, parthenopean Escarole (brush up with pine nuts and raisins, Ode to Neapolitan) polenta and pods. A dish from simple tastes whose balance point in all the combinations, at the same time flirty and light.
Excellent “potato dumplings, White and sepia”: fluffy dumplings, topped with a red sauce of cuttlefish (slightly spicy), lying on a white cream of cuttlefish, with dried squid ink (with a note salina) and sepia tip. In practice, a variation on the theme style cuttlefish, both in textures, in both colors. A sophisticated dish in the idea and technique of preparation, that simple on the palate, direct and Mediterranean.
Then, the menu includes an amazing risotto (Carnaroli reserve, Bake 18 minutes) with saffron, few ossobuco and beef marrow and gremolata of lemon. Cook the perfect risotto, as well as mixing. A pleasure for the palate from the first bite to the last. Flawless presentation. Despite the dish had an obvious tendency to fatness, the feeling was that you wanted to order another portion.
We tried two seconds, one fish and one meat. Visually striking and complexity of flavour, the “veal cheek, Sweetbreads and peppers”: a tender veal cheek, cream of red bell peppers, with a variation of Sweetbreads: a simply breaded and fried, the other skipped and used as filling a very small green pepper. The colors, bright and clear, are definitely one of the trump cards of this dish, very balanced: delicate taste of Sweetbreads, the vegetal hints of peppers and the perfect amount of cheek, that gave the dish softness and fatness.
The second fish does not convinced me way down: “Croaker, Zucchini alla scapece shellfish ragout and sauce”. The dish was presented very elegantly, with contrasting colors and textures. Great cooking fish, with crispy skin and heart still rosy; saline and tasty seafood and shellfish sauce. The least convincing was the breakdown of zucchini in zucchini sauce a scapece, neutral too, with sweet and sour sauce, turned into a gel of vinegar, too much outweigh the flavors of the dish. For me, excess vinegar gel that has unbalanced the recipe and that, most likely, you could solve by reducing the amount.
Last but not least,, the two cakes. The first: a “Liquid cake” reinterpreting the traditional Neapolitan cake in taste, but with a breakdown of the various ingredients. The second: a mushroom in the undergrowth, that is a fun game on the theme of chocolate. The liquid cake consisted of a Bavarian with ricotta and a waffle with sugar and cinnamon. By way of comparison, try the traditional pasta that is served on the ground floor of the bistro: with my eyes closed, the flavor of the pasta is sharp, While at the sight of the plate is hard to imagine what it is actually. A masterly interpretation is faithful to the original.
Reserved for lovers of chocolate, Finally, the soft meringue and a fungus consisting of a fondant chocolate creams laid on a sponge with Pistachio. The dessert is served on a mould of bitter cocoa, decorated with berries and a particular, and really good, ice cream with mushrooms. NET flavor of Underwood, combined with the freshness of fruits; decided and enveloping the chocolate flavor. A sweet very attractive. Finally, as if they had enough sweets, at the end of the meal come two small Neapolitan babà and two excellent Cray-Fish (filled with chantilly cream) in size maybe too large to be serviced as petit fours.
With this menu, we drank: Franciacorta brut of Ca’ Zi (Chardonnay 100%); Riesling 2014, Domaine Albert Mann, Vin d'Alsace; Egesta 2015, a varietal purity steel shackle, unfiltered and long maceration, Aldo Viola (Sicily); The 2007 Balaise (a 100% Chardonnay) by Gilles Vergé et Cathrine; Guarini Syrah Aldo 2015 Viola, unfiltered red wine, aged in steel; Colli Piacentini Malvasia “The vineyard of Time” the company La Stoppa. Wine list with affordable prices, wide, revealing the clear predominance of sommelier for natural wines, organic and biodynamic. To report the presence of several local labels, well selected among the white types, Red and pink. Not always in restaurants novaresi happens this, both in the most famous, and recently opened. The novarese is a land of very interesting wines, It deserves to be appreciated, proposal and made known to the general public, especially from the world of entertainment, the task of educating consumers to good drinking.