We may never know what drove Pasquale Laera, 31 year old chef starry, to leave the safety of its food at the restaurant La Rei of Boscareto Resort and Spa Serralunga d'Alba to meet in a new adventure, taking the risk of opening Borgo Sant'Anna, his first restaurant in Monforte d'Alba, in Piedmont. Perhaps the charm of the vineyards that slope along the Unesco heritage hills, perhaps the desire to make a more essential kitchen and more staff, or maybe you just need a change of scenery.
The restaurant Borgo Sant'Anna was born so, by the imagination and foresight to Pasquale and Fabio Mirici, former master sommelier del Rei The, who left the gastronomic Boscareto resort restaurant along with several members of the kitchen staff and waiters to give life to their vision Restaurants. ”
I wanted to do something more personal and in a smaller size. At Boscareto was executive chef of a beautiful reality, but very large, Here I want to give space to the country kitchen of Langhe. Living and cooking in the countryside changes your perspective", Pasquale explains Laera.
The restaurant Borgo Sant'Anna opened its doors a few days ago, but the structure is not only a restaurant for just 40 seats: the end of December will be ready the rooms and still working to complete four years of renovations. Behind Borgo Sant'Anna there are not only Laera and Mirici, operating partners, but also two entrepreneurs (an architect and a small publisher) who are members of principal and who started this adventure before buying vineyards in Monforte d'Alba and then to renovate the farmhouse.
Laera, Puglia Gioia del Colle, with his land and its origins inscribed in the heart despite 10 years of life in Langa and love because of his adopted land Piedmontese, It was formed thanks to Antonino Cannavacciuolo. When Cannavacciuolo was called to draw up the menu of the restaurant La Rei, Semeraro he became the executive chef. Today, Pasquale lives in Monforte d'Alba with his wife and daughter and works in a large kitchen designed by him, with large windows overlooking the Langhe.
In the kitchen, the staff is made up of six people (at 1 p.m. at la Rei restaurant at Boscareto resort) and it all revolves around a gastronomic proposal that Laera calls "country", essential and precise, The chef mixes North and South from appetizer to dessert. In paper, there are new dishes, far from the impression 'langarola’ but also historical dishes that belong to the memory and history of the chef.
The bread, breadsticks stretched to the Piedmontese and the inevitable Apulian focaccia with tomatoes, to-be-cooked in a wood oven under construction, They are prepared with flour mill Marine Cossano Belbo and flour from small local producers. The decor is simple, Wood, with a touch reminiscent of the atmosphere of North European bistro. White tablecloths and plates of handmade design and gives the chef from Terre Mamole. Undisputed star of the furniture is not the design but the views of the vineyards that can be enjoyed both from the terrace, both through the large windows.
The paper and the tasting menu
Two tasting menus, both with a value for money indisputable. The menu 'Tradissune', 4 courses at 45 € (calf tonne; macaron fret duck and cardamom; cheek braised with herbs, beet and potatoes to Barbera; peach and amaretto) . And the 'Path' menu, 5 courses € 55: marinated anchovies with green and black butter; eggplant parmesan; rigatone squid and escarole; kid, walnut Piedmont, olives and sour red cabbage; almonds, figs and cooked wine. Raw materials Piedmont but not only, saw the link with the South Italy.
The chef personally chooses the products. "I bought a Flower to fetch from the producers what I need in the morning, with which they have a chat and drink a glass of wine. A completely different rhythm of life". We started lunch with two chef's welcome, the omelette Piedmontese with field grasses, a soft salty pudding served in the shell egg, full flavor, Fat and delicate. And fake Langhe truffles, made with a chicken pate covered with mushroom powder and shaped by hand as if they were white truffles.
A la carte 6 appetizers between 15 and 23 €, including roast eel and peppers and raw shrimp, kiwi and cumin. Yet, 5/1 dishes between 24:13 EUR, including traditional plin to the three roasts, risotto snails, snails and black lemon and pasta with mussels. "A historical dish that they always ask me – explains Laera – impossible to remove it from the menu, there are people who come to eat only that". Then 2/2 fish (San Pietro crusted marc, sauce and side dish for 70 € for two people. Yet, catch of the day with red coast, grape juice and potatoes Penelope 20 €). Four meat dishes (15-23 euro), where stand the kid, Piedmontese honey, olives and sour red cabbage and grilled sweetbreads with sorrel and bitter chicory.
We chose one of the traditional dishes of Pasquale Laera, risky but balanced: raw meat, turnip greens, mayonnaise sea urchins and cheese Tuma On Fe. The note ferrous curly, in a nice pairing with cheese fondue Tuma, exalts the flesh, and then throughout dominates the bitterness (Maybe a little’ too bitter) of turnip greens.
The main course
The second dish won us: cheek braised with herbs, beet to Barbera d'Asti and Alta Langa potatoes. Cheek, rare as once and not at a low temperature, soft and juicy, with the perfectly dissolved collagen, served with its bottom frosted. The crispy beetroot and flavorful and the mashed baked potato grilled, dry and pasty, the hint smoked.
The desserts are made of paper 6 and do not exceed 10 €. In addition to those already present in the tasting menu is a tribute to Campania with baba, fruits and elder. For us, tartlets with dried fruit accompanied by an excellent ice cream and fragrant oregano. Shortbread Chocolate, a creamy dried fruit, sprinkle with praline, the scent of oregano and a note inside of raspberries that does not give the right acidity to sweetness. Although there was no dessert in an excess of sugar, The result was a bit’ sickly. Excellent however the cannoli, modeled in the form of cornucopia, stuffed with ricotta cheese flavored with lemon. Pleasant drop of Barolo Chinato and jelly inside the gianduiotto handmade with praline served as a small pastry final.
The restaurant staff Borgo Sant'Anna, led by Fabio Mirici, It is close-knit and provides a service in a very discreet room, on time, reliable and generous to the table information.
(visited in September 2019)