In Milan in recent years we have become accustomed to knowing and appreciating an incredible variety of Japanese, traditional and / or more contemporary dishes. However, the enormous gastronomic offer lacked a preparation (more than a real dish) that on Instagram is already an established reality: the onigirazu. And it is the small and delightful Matanē restaurant, located a few steps from Porta Garibaldi, that finally offers it for the first time!
Matanē is a young, fresh and totally Italian brand. The cook, Mattia, studied Japanese gastronomy in the Land of the Rising Sun, where he learned of the onigirazu and studied both its history and its preparation.
But what, then, is this sort of rice sandwich? The onigirazu is an evolution of the famous onigiri, the rice ball (more often in a triangular shape) that we all know by now thanks to anime and manga (I'll talk about it here). And it is precisely in this comic context that the onigirazu appears for the first time: the protagonist of the famous manga Cooking Papa (1990) prepares in a few minutes a bento containing a strange onigiri enclosed in nori seaweed and cut in half, just like a sandwich. The very name onigirazu refers precisely to the fact that you don't have to use your hands to prepare it, as happens instead in the modeling of the best known onigiri.
Onigirazu, as well as the onigiri, is thought from the beginning as a quick snack or a practical and nutritious lunch, so Matanē is the right place to have a quick meal or to take away.
The restaurant is very nice, well-kept and is managed by Stefani, very kind and attentive, she will make you enjoy this new and curious experience. There is a very practical and sheltered outdoor area where you can eat comfortably even if outside the weather conditions are not the best.
The menu offers a series of very interesting dishes that are perfect for the proposed formula. It starts with a series of "whims", small appetizers to share including chicken karaage, vegetable korokke or Osaka tamago.
The onigirazu (tataki, sake, chashu, teriyaki, tamagoyaki, ebi fry, tofu and tonkatsu) are large, tasty and hearty, obviously already split in half, so perfect to share so you can try more than one.
Then there are donburi, cold ramen (or hiyashi chuka, perfect for the summer) and salads for those who want to keep themselves even lighter. There is no shortage of desserts: Nikko cream and Okinaka Cheesecake.
If you are at the place for an aperitif or dinner I recommend a special house cocktail, a reinterpretation of the Moscow Mule in a very pleasant Asian key. Alternatively, you can choose from Japanese beers, wines, sake, or even fresh fruit extracts and mata-tea (fresh fruit extracts with tea), all homemade. For breakfast there are also maxi biscuits: dark chocolate and candied ginger, matcha and dark chocolate and sakura and milk chocolate.