Giacomo Bulleri, known for his drastic effect on the culinary scene of Milan has created places that are beloved in equal measure by the haute Milanese and a well-heeled international set. Giacomo Bistrot, a glamorous restaurant for the evening, is just about the place that would make you fall in love with this city and the simple form of the Italian cuisine!
I recently found myself at the sensational space created by Studio Peregalli back in 2007 on a Friday night out just before the week of “Salone”. Still though, the place was packed and despite our prompt reservation the head waiter intended to seat us in the front. “No, no, no… we’ve got to get a table at the back, and we don’t mind waiting for it whilst sipping on our aperitivo.” we said. And along we did.
The wood-crafted and marble-topped bar at the front turned to be just as fun as our dinner, given the cool crowd next to us, the white-clothed waiter tending to classic cocktails (think Negroni) and the accompanying antipasti!
Giacomo Bulleri, once a child at the age of 11 forced to leave his rural Tuscan village of Collodi for a better future, has been well known for its series of establishments in Milan that include a restaurant, a café, a pasticceria and a bistrot. Now at the age of 92, Bulleri still remembers the images and aromas of his mother’s kitchen in rural Tuscany as he reports in one of his interviews. Cooking, he says, took time. And love.
The night was still young, despite the 2-3 cocktails we had endured, as the waiter politely came to escort us to our table. The long-standing wall-to-wall library of the back room is a joy to the eyes and makes you feel so welcome and cosy. Comfy chairs and bold ruby red aesthetics is just about Giacomo’s signature branding. We took a pause to take it all in and dived into the menu that was made a classic Italian way: antipasti, primi e secondi.
The antipasti were not that bad; a proper Parmigiana di melanzane, just to set the record straight on how a Parmesan-topped eggplant should taste like after sitting in the oven for some good time. A tasty starter of some cold cuts, finely sliced and served up nicely. And a fois gras dish that was, oh well, rather mediocre.
The pasta though was remarkable! The Papardelle al ragu with caramelized chestnuts was exquisite. The Paccheri cacio e Pepe were also quite good. But the apocalypse was in the simple things. An extra-ordinary Spaghetti al pomodoro e basilico: a golden texture (especially when sprinkled with some finely-grated Parmesan cheese), coupled with a sweet sensation from the small pomodorini tomatoes. Ugh – I wish I could go back.
P.S. And by the way, when you next visit make sure you go for the bistrot and not the restaurant. A lot of bystanders had opted for the latter and were queuing up on our exit.