Donna r is a creative, a lover of the challenges. He works at the foot of Europe's largest volcano, Etna. And as Etna is animated by a constant energy mixed with that sense of indeterminacy that all Sicilians, Perhaps because accustomed to the precariousness of life from an early age. Formed between Switzerland (Kulm hotel St. Moritz, Chalet d'Adrien), Sicily (San Domenico hotels, Principe Cerami of Taormina) and strong of an experience at the Court of Ezio Santin (Antica Osteria del Ponte), Today Raciti Zash restaurant guide in Riposto, in the province of Catania, within the namesake boutique hotel. One of the reasons why is back in his homeland is the desire to raise his son in his native Sicily.
In the small, well-equipped restaurant kitchen Zash, under the vaults of an old manor house, Raciti has won the title of emerging chefs under 30 for southern Italy in 2016. “My cuisine embodies an idea linked to the season at the time and respect for nature”, explains the chef in his own words in the beginning of the menu, that shows the composition of kitchen staff, composed by Bruno Agatino, Rosita Cavallaro and Marco Sciacca. R has now found an original expression, a philosophy that emphasizes the harmonizations of flavour to bakes, a maturity and an awareness of haute cuisine. All characteristics that might take it to be a future Michelin Sicily.
We returned from Zash restaurant in Riposto in August 2019, in the bottom of the article, find new photos and updating of review. In November 2019 the chef Giuseppe Raciti has also obtained, as we had guessed three years ago, the star MIchelin.
Zash, Boutique hotel
Surrounded by an extensive and ubertoso Orange Grove, Zash country boutique hotel is a microcosm consisting of just 10 rooms: three are located inside the cellar next to the old Winery, perfectly preserved; four other bedrooms are on the first floor of the Manor House; the other three are the so-called green rooms: transparent cubes dipped in Orange Grove, for a secluded and original experience. The offer is completed with a small spa and a nice pool, the night comes alive with gleams with a fire that burns in the Center in the middle of the water. Zash attracts a predominantly foreign tourism and, Thanks to the contribution of R, is emerging as one of the most interesting Sicilian gourmet gourmet.
In addition to the a la carte menu, Zash restaurant in Riposto proposes four tasting menu, understood as thematic historical restaurant dishes. The first (Neither fish nor fowl) is a four-course vegetarian menu and costs 55 euros. The second menu (Universe, World, Earth) is the meat menu, the cost of 60 euros per person. For fish lovers there is the menu “Trinacria… sapori di mare”, It costs 70 euro per person. Finally, the “Trip to the sweet tooth” that, at a cost of 90 euros, seven-course crosses the historic memory of the restaurant and its dishes, from 2014 to 2017. I chose the fourth menu. To the paper, the restaurant Zash offers five starters (between 14 and 26 euros), five starters (between 16 and 24 euro) five main courses (between 20 and 24 euro).
The chef's welcome
It begins with the welcome of the chef Raciti: a well-executed arancino with squid ink, with the classic combination of Catania with fresh ricotta cheese (in this case the cattle farm Casalgismondo di Acireale, Catania) and pea sprouts. And a crisp tempura prawn. On the table get bread, served on a wooden board: potato Focaccia, tomato Focaccia, seven grain bread, spelt bread, some great breadsticks with wild fennel.
All this combined with an oil organic extra virgin olive oil Line Zammara, produced by Russian oil mill in Belpasso. The amouse bouche is the reworking of a dish of gastronomy Carpenter: the crispella with anchovies, or a pancake bread that chef Raciti served with stracciatella di bufala and tomato soup. Crunchy crispella, fresh tomatoes as well as tasty the stracciatella.
Choreographed the first Starter, served on a mirror and called “like a painting by Pollock, tribute to Massimo Maan”, Hotel Principe Cerami restaurant chef history of Taormina with which the chef Raciti worked. Mazara del Vallo red prawn Carpaccio, candied lemon Verdello, almond emulsion and sea urchins. A dish without cooking, but played on combinations and balance between sweet and savory, acid and bitter.
Aesthetically impeccable, like a flower garden, the prawn seared (perfect cooking) served with mayonnaise vanilla, peaches with orange blossom honey and wild rocket. A dish altogether enjoyable and well made combination for Norway lobster with fruit sweetened with honey. The classic combination of seafood and mayonnaise. In the pot I would rather find a mild citrusy acidity and pur.
The first courses
Before Zash restaurant in Riposto, Donna r worked in areas and restaurants where the rice dishes are serious. And he has been seen in perfect execution of carnaroli risotto “The herons”, with lemon, Capers, Rosemary and tuna salagionato. A tantalizing combination, intense flavor, balanced in perfumes, a risotto cooked in an exemplary way and with the right creaminess. Perhaps the most delicious dish of the evening.
After the risotto, space to Earth ingredients and tastes distinctively Sicilian Etna, already by autumn: ravioli with ham Packs, with truffle of Palazzolo Acreide, vastedda del Belice cheese, mushrooms of Etna and Bronte pistachio cream. A remarkable burst of taste, perfect for a dinner by the fireplace and it deserves a milder impiattamento, to enhance the shapes and textures of this dish.
The main courses
Finally, La pluma Iberian suckling pig, 24 hours at 64 degrees vacuum Pan, and then sautted meats in pan to get a crispy crust and served with simple turnip beating fried with garlic, Olio e peperoncino. A dish served purposely so minimal to enhance the quality of the raw material used: a tasty meat, soft, just the right amount of fat.
Last but not least,: an elegant and aesthetically amazing PEAR in red wine, filled with vanilla Bourbon, served on creamy 72% chocolate, crumble pistachio and raspberry coulis. A really sweet scenery, bright colours, both for the composition of impiattamento, with purple petals almost suspended on fruit. But also because it was served over a high dome in transparent.
Presenting jaw-dropping but leave the anxiety of being able to eat dessert without letting it fall from the dome. Perfect PEAR cooking, I would say “al dente”, with a pleasant aroma of mulled wine. The surprise comes when you cut the PEAR, Thanks to the contrast between hot and cold with vanilla ice cream. A nice crisp crumble and strawberry sour tasting. Just a little’ too much chocolate at the base, However necessary to underpin and hold the PEAR on the spot.
Chef R, at the end of the dinner, Creative Sicilian a dish that has created for autumnal menu restaurant enters Zash, the realization of which you can watch step by step in this VIDEO WITH CHEF GIUSEPPE RACITI you can find on my YouTube channel: a garden of fruits and vegetables on a amberjack, accompanied by a raspberry and Green Apple mayonnaise. A dish without cooking, based on the delicate balance of different ingredients between acidity and sweetness.
Dining room service treated so highly professional and kindness by Giuseppe Romeo and Daniel Felix. Rely on them for choosing a good wine to pair with dishes of R. Will choose the best from a well assorted wine list with the main Italian and foreign names, with some great bottle of vintage years sought for picky eaters.
(visited in August 2017 and August 2019)
UPDATE August 2019
At the end of August 2019 we returned from Zash restaurant in Riposto and we did still have time to try some dishes of the summer menu, seen that in September, with the changing of the season, They will also change the ingredients and the menu of the restaurant will become Zash autumn, since the early fresh mushrooms. All paper plates in 2019 are new menu, but the tasting menu contains some of the traditional dishes of Giuseppe Raciti. The tasting menu in 2019 were reorganized into three modules: Passion meat (4 courses at 80 €), uncooked (seafood menu with 4 courses at 85 €), Historians Zash (5 courses 100 €).
All include the chef's welcome menu, small oil tasting with homemade breads, pre dessert and pastry small final. Prices at the paper ranging from 20 to 36 euro for starters, from 20 to 28 euro for starters and from 24 to 30 euro for second courses. As early as two years ago, the paper is mainly made of fish dishes (although there are interesting dishes with meat) , Raciti where the chef is able to express themselves competently, originality and great balance.
The chef's welcome
After a bread pancake with caviar and candied lemon Calvisius, we tasted raw red shrimp with almond cream, candied tangerine and beet sprouts, a dish that plays sweet-salty-spicy sull'accostamento. Chef R, along with 4 other colleagues Sicilian, It has also recently opened a cooking school in Giarre, for amateurs and professionals, called Chef with Coppola.
The first courses
Excellent spaghetti with sea urchins, elegant in presentation, with a curly drawn on dish with squid ink, and balanced in taste: the extremely pasta al dente, a garlic and light oil, a sweet lobster bisque and the delicate sea urchin at a perfect temperature, so as not to lose any of its characteristics.
Very interesting carbonara squid: cuttlefish cooked at low temperature and cut into strips, as if they were noodles, season with an eggnog salty and crispy bacon.
The main courses
Finally, the pluma Iberian pig cooked at low temperature with ketchup raspberry, dried raspberries and grilled onion: a meat, the Iberian pen, which it is always present in the menu of the chef Giuseppe Raciti and, in this version 2019, we liked more than the 2017 version, also thanks to the combination with the acidity of the raspberry. In November 2019 Zash Riposto restaurant has a Michelin star. We expect it to be a couple of years, but better late than never.