Minimalista képzőművészet a tányéron – Ikoyi London

Egy találós kérdés. Mit látsz a fenti képen?

A muszlim vörös félhold jelképét?

Esetleg a Tate modern-ben kiállított festményről készült fényképet?

Vagy sült banánt Scotch Bonnet-val?

Jó, de mi az a Scotch Bonnet?

A világ gasztronómiájában egy folyamatos verseny zajlik a fine dining ételek megújításáért. Sok étterem azzal az ambiciózus céllal jön létre, hogy valami olyat alkosson, amit még soha senki. Mindent megtesznek azért, hogy az ételeket ne lehessen felismerni, amitől az az érzésünk keletkezhet, hogy a hal az nem hal, a hús az nem hús. A megújítás feladata a sok erőfeszítés ellenére nagyon ritkán sikerül. Hiába álcázzák az ételeket, hiába párosítják más ízekkel, rejtik hab alá, a hal, hal marad, a hús pedig hús. A legtöbb jó étterem végül is ugyanazt árulja, szebben tálalva és jobban megfőzve, máshogy kombinálva, mint az átlagosak. Ha az ember eleget jár fine dining éttermekbe nagy meglepetések nem érhetik, habár mindig találkozik nagyszerű ötletekkel és még többször remekül elkészített ételekkel. Mára már a molekuláris konyha is a közhely részévé vált. A hab olyan elcsépelt lett, hogy szinte kínos a tányéron látni.

Ilyen előzmények ellenére az Ikoyi nevű londoni étterem mégis képes volt meglepni és ebben a nagy gasztro versenyben valami nagyon érdekeset alkottak.

Heinz Beck a római három csillagos La Pergola séfje, ételeit neves festészeti alkotások ihlették. Megpróbált például a tányéron újra alkotni egy festményen látható tájat.

Az Ikoyi séfje maga a művész, minimalista képzőművészeti alkotásokat hoz létre az ételekből. Az étterem maga is minimalista, nagyon egyszerű a berendezés, a felszolgálás, a borlap. Láthatólag csak az ételekkel akarnak hatni a vendégre. És ez sikerül is. Ráadásul olyan alapanyagokat használnak, amit kevesen ismerünk fel, legtöbbször még kóstolás után sem. Újat és egyénit alkottak, ami önmagában érték. Részben a Nyugat-afrikai konyha ételeit főzik, de hangsúlyozottan nem tartják magukat afrikai étteremnek (Nem lennének nagyon hitelesek, mert a kabátokat elvevő srác kivételével egyetlen afrikait sem látni). Szinte minden ételük csípős és nem is csak egy kicsit, hanem meglehetősen. Ez merőben szokatlan egy európai Fine dining étteremtől. A csípős ételekkel csínján bánnak, mert ezzel csökkentik potenciális vendégeik számát. Még a Michelin által jegyzett indiai éttermek is jobbára kevéssé csípősen főznek. Itt azonban bátran használják a különböző paprikákat és nincs lehetőség mást választani, mert csak és kizárólag egy 7 fogásos menüt szolgálnak fel. Take it or leave it!

A menüben olyan érdekességek vannak, mint a nyitóképen látható étel, ami egy sült banán azzal a bizonyos Scotch Bonnet-val, ami egy Karibi piros paprika. De van yammal készült rák és néhány olyan étel, amihez hiába veszed elő a szótárat, még úgysem vagy egyszerű helyzetben, mint a Banga, vagy a Maafe. Gondom csak egyetlen könnyen felismerhető étellel, a marhahússal volt, ami nem sikerült valami jól. Egyszóval, minden izgalmas és különleges. A baj csak annyi … Hogy is fogalmazzam? – Hát, hogy jó-jó, de mégsem. Nem úgy állsz fel, hogy bárcsak otthon is el lehetne ezt készíteni, hogy jöjjünk el jövő héten is. Inkább úgy, mint egy jó kiállításról vagy koncertről, inkább kulturális, mint gasztroélménnyel. És végül is a kiállításokon az Ikoyi-val ellentétben egyáltalán nem szokás megenni a kiállítási tárgyakat, a zenészekről nem is beszélve. Szóval izgalmas az étel és mindenkinek ajánlható az étterem, sőt akár kötelezőnek is nevezném, de keveseknek lesz a törzshelye. Az biztos, hogy ha legközelebb Londonban járok és közben lecserélik a tárlatot újra elmegyek és megnézem az új kiállítást.

Well deserved fame – Fáma restaurant – Budapest

There is a relatively new restaurant in Budapest leaded by a chef Krisztián Huszár who  already showed his talent in the past. This is his first “real” restaurant of his own as far as we know and its a hit in every aspect. Hard to overestimate not only the quality of the dishes but his very individualistic but consistent style. If we say it is a fusion kitchen we misleading the readers. Fusion for most people meaning today someone is not creative enough so mixing Asian taste to European dishes. This is far far away from that. His dishes are not reminiscence of well known old ones. He just uses tastes and styles. Takes the raw material and recreates it in a more edible form without the boundaries of the past centuries but using the experience of the past centuries. You think we are bias or in a too poetic mood but actually we were really amazed. We visited three times so we are not writing based on first experience. We tried different kind of menus and it never let us down.
The design of the restaurant itself is very clean with lots of wood and simple colors which makes it warm and friendly but surely very elegant. The large portal windows compensate for not having a terrace. We have to say even though it is good to sit outside and surely it is good from business point of view this kind of kitchen does not need a terrace. Many of the worlds fines cuisines do not have terrace.
The best word to describe the food is ethereal. All the dishes have some kind of lightness not in the meaning of low calories but in an artistic way which is better described with the word ethereal. Even the raw beef or cheek of the pig seem to be light. Like this meat here.

It is meat not a cake

He is using mostly fish and vegetables but luckily you find good meat dishes too. The chef is not a conservative guy and a relentless creator. Maybe the word maniac could be used too. You will not find “classics”. He is changing all the time based on what raw material he gets and maybe mood too. After this you might find strange if we say it is not an overcomplicated kitchen. We would even use  the word simple. And this has nothing to do with how the food made or composed. It can be done on the most sophisticated ways and can include several tastes it still seems so simple.Not a lot of fuss just good food.
He servea you even so unorthodox food like carp which could not be imagined in Italian fine dining. And it works for most of the food lovers but not for everybody. For those who like to safe and comfortable at a dinner this kitchen might have too many surprises. You have to ready for adventure here. We really hope he can keep up with this speed of creativeness because it is not so easy. The place deserve a Michelin star and the most enjoyable fine dining in today’s Hungary.

Raw beef…

We have to say some words about wine too. They have a hand picked selection of good Hungarian and some international wines. The knowledge of the sommelier is impressive and the number of wines they sell by the glass is very good too.
Prices are reasonable you can get a 4 course menu for 13.000 Ft/43 Euro which is perfect for this quality. Wine selection is a bit weak in the lower price range. If they have to change something it to include some lower priced good quality wines. We could say it is not their fault. Unlike in Italy in Hungary the restaurant wine prices are generally too high and most of the time missing wines in the lower price range. This somehow should change in Hungary.

A real ethereal dish. Shrimp.

 

 

Perfect composition also for your eyes.

 

Can not be more simple. Just raw scallops.

 

He like strong tasted fish like Mackerel but again not overcomplicated..

 

Crazy side dishes

 

Crazy side dishes 2.

 

 

And the fine dining shock: Carp as you never seen before

 

Could be a symbol a simlicity created in a complicated way.

 

 

A real ethereal dessert. You hardly eat anything just enjoy the taste.

 

 

Stylish way to say goodbye

Fine food turns into fine art – Madonnina del Pescatore – Senigallia

 

 

Few of us go often to such a restaurant like Madonnina del Pescatore. And it is not only because of the cost. Mainly because there are not so many of this quality and most of the time you have to travel for it. This one worth a trip if you are on the Adriatic coast of Italy. We visited last year at a lucky off season time when it is not busy. The town Senigallia is not so well known among foreign tourist. It is elegant Italian seaside much different than Rimini which is just a stone trow away. It is shown by the fact that there are two restaurants with two Michelin star here. We choose this one to visit it seemed fitting more to our taste.

Colors and lighting creates warm atmosfere

It is very elegant in every aspect. Interior design, table-ware, furniture are all superb. Such as the food.

Looks like an abstract painting with this unusual green

The chef Moreno Cedroni had one star for ages and 2 Michelin star for more than 10 years. For two stars you do not just have to make good food you have to make a creative and unique one. In this case you can use the term artistic. You can feel that the chef considers himself more of an artist who makes edible art than someone who gives you food to eat. His dishes look like art pieces culinary joys enclosed inside. This functional art fulfills its duty when you eat them. Just look at the speciel abstract like usage of colors in his masterpieces. Like this one here with the unusual green. I am sorry for the photo quality but it gives you back something of it. That time he used different kind of mayonnaise which is quite rear in Italian kitchen.

Risiko one of their attraction. Tastes from around the world

There was another dish where fish was swimming in green sea. We ate the 8 course menu “Vicino alla tradizione” and of course the main focus is on fish but had a beef like dish which was fish too it was amazing.
One of their attraction comes at the end of the dinner. It is the Risiko which originally a strategy war game. They using its map to show different taste of the world as petit four. Very creative and tasty too.
Mr Cedroni leads not a simple kitchen. Which has a lot of risks. Complicated kitchens can be tiring but here they keep all your senses awake during the whole time. You can enjoy yourself.

Feels good to sit at a table like this

I have to mention the wines. In most of these fine dining places they selling way too expensive wines which makes the bill even heavier. In Marche this is different. Marche wines are very well priced and you can have high quality for reasonable price. Of course here they have wide range of carefully selected local wines for good price. All together what you get here for your money is really worth it. Many two starred restaurants are way too overpriced compared to this one. See it for yourself.

The perfect beef like tuna
Octopus with mayonnaise

 

Lasagna with frutti di mare – It is swimming in green sea
Tartufo nero
“Simply” a coffee

 

Olive oil mill in Umbria at the time of harvest – Baccio Noemio

Looks and taste delicious

Olive oil has got very popular in the last decades. We just discovered it makes better almost everything. Italy and olives belong together in our imagination. They grow olive there for 4000 years and have 350 different species so they learned how to do it. We always wanted to go to an olive harvest but the organised tours are extremely expensive. We got a price offer for around 1000 Euro. We almost gave it up but got lucky. We visited Pennacchi winery in Sagrantino area Umbria, Mr Pennacchi makes good wines and an easy going man which show on his winery. (https://www.montefalcowine.it/cantina-winery/cantina-domenico-pennacchi/) Anyway he gave us some simple food with the wine tasting. Toast with pancetta (bacon) and sage leaves or just with olive oil.

Even the color taste good

It was harvest time and he had his own fresh oil which you can find only at this time and only locally. The color is very different of your ideas of olive oil. Amazingly dark green. He told us that his friend has an oil mill near. Although it was 9 pm he took us there. The harvest was just going on. We had a chance to see the process taste and buy the oil just spilled out of the mill. The mill and the plantation is owned by Bacci Noemio and his family. We had a warm welcome and were showen around. They have 3 kind of olives Moraiolo (80%), Frantoio (10%), Leccino (10%). Moraiolo is the typical Tuscan and Umbria type. This is the desirable green freshly cut grass smell oil, with a spicy and slightly bitter ending. It was 10 pm but the harvest was going on because the olives have to be pressed as soon as possible after harvesting. They prepared toasts and we had a chance to taste the different oils. New and old ones. It was real spontaneous and lucky experience for us. Mr Pennacchi even provided some more wine. http://oliobaccinoemio.it/it/home/

Even nigh time the harvest goes on.

 

They put leaves in too which is separated by the machine.
Holding tanks
The machine pressing the olive with the seed.

 

Last drops spilling out.
This what left after pressing.
Mr Noemio filling up our bottles. See the color?

 

Ferry tale of two brothers and a golden fish (restaurant) – Gambero rosso – Marina Di Gioiosa Jonica – Calabria

Once upon a time there was a two Michelin start restaurant under the name of Gambero rosso in Tuscany by the sea. The scandalous chef Fulvio Pierangelini was so bored of his guest that stopped cooking. I had a chance to eat there and meet him. Besides the food it was not my experience of a lifetime. There is an other story more ferry tale like. There is an other Gambero Rosso in Italy far far away from the other a little bit further than the end of the world. The father and the mother founded the restaurant and when his two sons grew up they went to get to know the world to learn. After learning they came back and they started to run Gambero rosso. They might have met the golden fish one day because their dream came though. They made with passion and dedication a one Michelin star restaurant at the end of the world.
Not many foreigner go to the Calabrian part of the Ionian sea. It is the sea between the toe cap and heel of the Italian boot. Although is very nice and the Puglia part is busier this side you can call empty. Not many hotels mostly Italian tourist and they using apartments. The beach in most places are covered with stone not sand. Large calm empty waters with endless sea. Relaxing but some might call it boring.

This is the beach of Hotel Miramare

Marina Di Gioiosa Jonica is not a busy touristic center. You have only two hotels.The one which is near the center does not have the top floor finished. Prices low. 120 EURO in high season for four people for a suite. You wondering how a one Michelin star restaurant makes a living here? One which is open all year long. But they do. Due to local demand even winter time they have guests. Surely to start a business like this money is not a motivation. They need to have a lot of passion for quality and gastronomy to start such a place here. Two brothers make it with passion you can feel it if you go there. One of them is the chef and the other dealing with the guest. Just as it must be in Italian gastronomy fairy tales. Gambero rosso is obligatory if you are in Calabria. It is worth coming here from around Tropea and stay for the night. They specialized on fish and they buy the ingredients from local fisherman. Its not always the easiest but they manage. They have a huge and exiting wine cellar and collection. Have a look there it is under the restaurant. Visited twice one with children and I can tell you it was fun for them too. 

The bear is having fun too

Our daughter’s Teddy bear had to eat with us but the chair was too large for her so the waiter offered a big pillow to the bear. 
They make their own bottarga (salted cured fish roe) which they use often. If there are not many guest you can ask them for a tasting of it on its own. Their crudo (raw plate) is an attraction with scampi. 
The two brothers creating a kitchen far away from tourism from trendy places but their place itself make trends. If you around just go there and will not regret it. Even though the other Gambero rosso in Tuscany had 2 Michelin star we liked this kitchen more. 
http://www.gamberorosso.net/en/

Welcome bite
This is not fish wellcome bite
Crudo (raw) plate with scampi
And the pasta
And some more with bottarga on the top

 

And some more bottarga

 

More fish

 

Italian favorite deep fried plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

L’Approdo – Calabria – The treasure is inside

Even though the sea is warmer the beaches are not crowded and prices are lower Calabria is not such a hot destination like Tuscany. It is far away and much less to good restaurants to find. But there are some good ones which you have to visit if you go there. One of them is L’Approdo in Vibo Valentina Marina. The place is not an attractive one. There is not much reason to go there but the restaurant. The outlook not promising much but this place had a Michelin star for ages and there is a reason for it. (The interior design is very gorgeous but I do not have a picture. Find it here: http://www.lapprodo.com/) We visited twice with 12 years difference. At the first visit it was the only Michelin starred restaurant in Calabria. The quality have not changed or just got better. We even found the same waiter there. What is fantastic about Italy than even a small place like Vibo Valentina can have gourmet restaurant like this. Local demand for quality is the motivation behind these restaurant not tourism. This time we had lunch with kids and everybody was satisfied. I love that even simple children food is so good in these restaurants we are rushing for the leftovers.
This is for the children Gnocci gourmet style.
Best way to eat in this restaurant if you visit Pizzo in the afternoon and have lunch here before. Pizzo is a spectacular town claiming they invented Tartufo the special ball like multi layer ice cream. Worth a visit and a taste. (Strangely you can bargain in the ice cream shops.)
L’Approdo is a place to explore some good Calabrian wines. Their wine list is very long and their cellar is impressive. Ask for looking at it. Taste a local malvasia which is very different here than in the north and Magliocco which is an indigenous grape and makes unique wine.
Very light octopus salad
And squid salad

 

Ravioli for the adults

 

 

 

Strozzapreti with shrimp

 

An amazingly done breaded squid, nothing you think of under this name

 

Dessert

 

Petit fours

 

 

 

 

 

The best half board ever – Hotel Cernia – Elba

It may be the lack of large airport or the bitter memory of Napoleon but Elba is not that well known among travelers to Italy than other places like Liguria, Sardinia or Rimini. Actually it is good for those going there because they find better prices and less people. The Island is small. You can see it for yourself if you go up with the funny cable car called Cabinovia to the top of the island (1019m) from next to Marciana

This what you see if you go up with Cabinovia


If you want to explore the sea around the best way is it to rent a small boat. If the waves are ok you can easily go around during the day. No licence or anything else needed. Not even ID.
One of the best beach is Capo Saint’ Andrea on the north of the island. It is worth going there for a small hotel itself called Hotel Cernia. It is not located on the beach but only have to walk 2 minutes. It is special from several reasons. The mother in the founder family Maria Loria turned the place into a botanic garden with rear plants.

The garden. The house on the right belongs to the hotel.

The other that here you find probably the best half board you ever had. We rearly choose half board because of those disappointing bufe dinners. It is a different case. You eat gourmet food every evening. You can choose among 3 dishes of primi and main course. Believe me and it has nothing to do those half boards you got used to. The chef Giuseppe Brescia who is actually from Puglia prepares them with great care and variety. We stayed 9 days and did not have to eat anything twice. Every evening they have a salad bar with changing selection.

The wine list is good at least 120 labels and they give you good information on each wine. Cristiano, the son of Maria who is actually the manager is a trained sommelier. (Ask to see his wine cellar.)
Weekends they have musical programs. Prices are reasonable. If you are sportsmen they have even a tennis court.
http://www.hotelcernia.it/

 

The pool and the garden

The beach. Sorry for the glass blocking the view.
The chef (in the middle) and his team
Welcome bite before the dinner.
One more welcome bite.

 

A very interesting dish. Mozzarella deep fried in grissini.

 

 

Fish salad

 

Gnocchi

 

Tuna

 

The chef like to make souffle

 

A lovely soup
Some more pasta

 

 

Guido – Rimini – The best food on any Adriatic beach

Guido restaurant is somewhat a miracle. It is located in (Miramare di) Rimini which is one of the busiest mass tourism site of east Italy. Mostly fun for families with small children. The streets are full of plastic beach toy shops and child amusement arcades. The last thing you expect here is a top class gourmet restaurant. But actually you have one and a very special one. It is located in the sand of the beach and probably this is the best beach restaurant of the several thousand kilometer long Adriatic cost. What is more the food is dedicated to the taste of the Adriatic. You might think very brave to say “the best”. Of course there are some better restaurants in the towns of the Adriatic cost but they are not located on the beach in the sand. It is actually rear to find a restaurant like this.
What else could it be than an old family restaurant. It gets the name of the grandfather of the two grandson Gianpaolo and Gianluca running the place. One of them is the chef the other giving the service.
Very few gourmet restaurant gives you this kind of feeling of freedom especially if you’re sitting on the terrace. Your children still can play in the sand and you can enjoy perfect food. If you are in the area Guido worth going there for lunch even with kids. They are crazy about different oysters, clams, muscles. It is a must to taste the red risotto. In other parts of Italy they do not really make risotto with tomato. It is the specialty of the house and the area. The rise is cooked in the liquid coming from the tomato. Do not mix it with fregula sarda, which rice looking pasta originally from Sardinia.
You can order anything you will not regret is. They have a perfect wine list fitting the light fish based menu.
Enjoy and have fun. Book a table for tomorrow lunch.
Gianluca 
One of their well know welcome dish with dried fish and muscles

 

Small welcome fish bite

 

And the crudo (Raw plate) based on clams

 

 

Red risotto with fish on top
The jelly fish from outer space (do not eat it)

 

Artistic fritto misto (deep fried plate)

 

Tagliatelle of sepia. Pasta made out of squids.
Frightening looking fish.

 

That is what you see from the restaurant. The playground is 2 m away. 

Off the beaten pass – Hosteria Alicina – Porto Ercole Tuscan seaside

I have to admit we like to use Michelin guide for finding good places. But it has some risks. You would never enter in a restaurant like Hosteria Alicina if you follow the guides. Actually even if you judge by the outlook you might avoid this place. It is not more than a small glass cage. It does not look fancy at all but if you enter and taste the food  you change your mind surely. Porto Ercole is part of the Tuscan seaside. The very southern area near Grosetto. It is a island like peninsula with exceptional natural beauties. It this area you find very posh places like Il Pelicano with rooms over 500 Euro and dinner over 400. The “island”is good especially for boating around and snorkeling. Porto Ercole is an elegant port and even this restaurant does not look elegant it serves the highest expectation of good Mediterranean seafood It is a real good experience. The sun is shining through the glasshouse windows and you are sipping a Tuscan vermentino with your octopus salad. What else you need? Good company I guess. They do not have a website but have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Alicina-Hosteria-222248974633219/
As you can see from the decor they deal mostly with fish.
Octopus salad

Melanzane (eggplant) with cheese. The classic.

 

A beauty. Vegetable soup with fish.

 

Amazingly crispy.

 

That is what you call real fruity the mare.
And to finish with.