In the lively and multicultural area of Porta Venezia there is a place where a new way of eating in Milan has been developed. This is Bites which, with its sixteen seats (eight of which at the counter), offers a gastronomic experience that is difficult to interpret.
Everything revolves around the "bites", that are small dishes in which the technique is pushed to the maximum especially in the consistencies and the taste is hyper concentrated. A work I would say dedicated to trained palates.
The co-owners are Pietro Zamuner and Andrea Baita, at the counter you will find the very skilled Tommaso Trabucco, while the room is the territory of the smiling Lisa Piccolo who will not fail to give you valuable advice on how to combine the chosen dishes with natural wines or sake. A decidedly well-matched team (and with an important previous curriculum) that juggles before your eyes composing enchanting dishes.
In the kitchen, instead, slower preparations are made, such as grilled cooking and fermentations: in fact, there are countless oriental inspirations (especially Japanese) but also French, North-European and Italian. But I wouldn't use the term "fusion" to define this cuisine, as it goes far beyond standard categories or style exercises.
So here's how my dinner went.
Breton oyster, red pepper reduction, rehydrated hijiki seaweed, fresh ginger, parsley oil.
The whole is elegantly arranged on a pretty white box-shaped origami made just before my eyes.
Raw scallop seasoned with steamed mussel emulsion, chili oil and dried tomatoes, fried leek.
Amberjack sashimi, sorrel leaves, cucumber and avocado brunoise, poppy seeds, lemon oil and rice vinegar, all dressed with ponzu sauce based on sake, soy and mandarin extract.
In my opinion, that's the dish that most of all recalls China, delicate and fresh at the same time.
Raw squid tagliolini dressed with egg yolk emulsion and toasted sesame oil, smoked herring caviar, shiitake mushroom infusion.
With this dish we move permanently to Japan. The infusion poured from the cast iron teapot vaguely and pleasantly recalls dobin mushi for its roundness of flavor.
Milk cream base (like a salty pannacotta), tamarind and sesame cream, parsley and chives oil, trout eggs dressed with lime and lemon zest, verbena leaves.
A truly complex scope, I think the Japanese would be envious or in any case delighted.
French toast, my favorite dish: homemade brioche pan filled with seabed mullet fillets and prawns covered with a Bernese sauce with fresh spring onion and red pepper water.
It is quite sweet and downright irresistible! To be eaten strictly with your hands making "scarpetta".
Norwegian mackerel cooked on the grill with grated daikon at the base, sauce with fig leaf oil and tapioca.
Turbot cooked mugnaia style, rocket salad and grilled Roman lettuce, yuzukosho, siphoned cooking sauce.
The air in the cooking juices becomes like a very pleasant sweet cream of butter that reminds you of France, but in a new way.
Cherry ice cream glazed with spiced chocolate, Arabica coffee and hazelnuts.
A fresh and fun conclusion, which always maintains a high level of technical complexity.
It is possible to choose the bites you prefer directly from the menu, or let yourself be guided by the chefs in tasting itineraries that can include six, eight or all the bites - I ate eight plus the dessert and I must say that I was full and happy.
The place is essential like the cuisine, but warm and welcoming.
The final bill can become important, but justified by the raw material and the complex processing.
I recommend Bites for a couple dinner, a meal collected among close friends or why not, even alone (I went there alone): at the counter the conversation arises spontaneously.