Bergamo and province: Asian guide - where to eat
Bergamo is a very ancient and evocative Lombard capital: the Upper Town, which houses the fascinating Cathedral of the city and surrounded by Venetian walls, is a destination for tourists from all over the world.
But even a city so rich in history is opening up to Asian cuisine, with refined and decidedly interesting proposals.
Huge, elegant and scenic: Wen restaurant stands out in a very quiet area of Bergamo with its dark colours, refined and atmospheric interiors. A dedicated car park facilitates access, the staff is kind, young and informal, the setting is perfect for an important, romantic dinner or a high-level business lunch.
These are the first impressions you have once you cross the threshold: the luxurious rooms that intrigue with mirror effects and the lava gray tones of London, the lounge area where you can enjoy excellent cocktails made with Asian ingredients while waiting to take a seat at the own table, the well-stocked cellar that offers refined wines and champagne - ask for advice from the sommelier Sara.
But the real surprise (at least for me) is to find chef Masaki Okada in charge of the kitchen. His curriculum vitae is really important, in fact he has previously worked in the renowned restaurants Yoshinobu, Sol Levante, Tomoyoshi Endo, Iyo and Kanpai. A respectable career that led him to discover the cuisine of the Rising Sun in Bergamo, with a very personal touch.
The menu is very varied, it satisfies everyone. But I tried a tasting path.
To start the amuse bouche: mackerel nanbanzuke (Japanese sous) with tomato and sweet garlic sprout. A perfect tantalizing start accompanied by sparkling wine.
Red prawn tartare with yuzu ponzu gelée, daikon sprouts (which give a crunchy and fresh note that completes the taste), Chinese cabbage stalk, yuzu powder, stracciatella cheese and lime zest.
In my opinion, a correct alternative to the now stale red prawn tartare.
Tempura oyster with chestnut honey teriyaki sauce.
Nigiri selection: fresh steamed prawns (the sushi is served halved, as happens in many high-level omakasè in Japan), tuna belly with kizami wasabi, fringed squid, seared with bottarga.
Sea urchin with steamed rice. If you love the taste of the sea like me, this course is just for you.
Squid Game: uramaki dedicated to the Korean series, made inside with tempura squid, dried tomato, while seared squid with mentaiko and snow peas outside. Fresh and tasty, loved it.
Sautéed black rice with salmon, sea bass, prawns and vegetables with lobster bisque. Rarely have I tasted such a refined and well creamed black fish rice like this one.
Seared scallop, scallop chips and guacamole, taro cream, koji rice and soy sauce butter. A dish that winks at French cuisine while remaining extremely delicate.
Desserts are to be considered, in my opinion, dishes in their own right rather than a small whim at the end of a meal. They are extremely accurate, complex and refined, the work of Paolo Moschini, a great pastry consultant. I suggest you share them.
Pina colada: crunchy coconut wafers with white chocolate and coconut namelaka, fresh and semi-candied pineapple, cocoa grue, iced vanilla chantilly and lemon gel.
Aki: white chocolate hemisphere, chestnut cream, chocolate and rum bisque, vanilla chantilly, meringue with cocoa grue and pumpkin sauce.
Wen is the answer to the request for accessible luxury in terms of revisited Japanese cuisine a few kilometers from Milan. Surely the presence of an established Japanese chef will be able to give effectiveness to a constantly improving menu over time. Congratulations to Chris Wen and all of his staff!