Ramen a mano
In the heart of China Town in 2018 he opened Ramen a mano which had a huge success right away. At the helm is the Chinese entrepreneur Francesco Hu, an adviser to the Italian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Known as a very popular Chinese restaurant (especially by Chinese customers) characterized by a minimalist furniture designed by the architect Cozzi in natural (typical Lombard) oak. A choice, this, far from random since Mr. Hu said he wanted to pay homage to the city that welcomed him, Milan. As it is therefore easy to guess, at Ramen a mano there is a real partnership between Italy and China.
Ramen a mano is the first and only restaurant in Milan (and probably also in Italy) that recreates the original recipe of the Lanzhou Lamian, a type of soup with hand-pulled noodles from the city of Lanzhou (an ancient capital of Gansu), located at centre of China. It is an ancient recipe, so much so that some date back to almost 4000 years ago.
Here the lamians are made with organic flour "0" from the Girolomoni agricultural cooperative and the processing takes place in front of your eyes in the open kitchen (which also overlooks the street) through a complicated and spectacular technique of pulling the dough by hand. The noodles are precisely prepared by hand individually at the time of ordering, without the aid of machinery.
The menu is limited to a minimum: three types of broth and 14 different types of noodles to choose from, divided into rounds, noodles and specials. The difference lies in the thickness which is defined on the basis of the pulp draft. The thicker the noodles, the more it will keep the consistency in the hot broth. So unless you're a very quick noodle eater, it's better if you order a thicker.
The optional broths are exclusively those typical of Lanzhou. The most famous is the one based on beef broth cooked for four hours with nineteen different spices flavored with homemade spicy sauce, spring onion and coriander. Following there is the braised beef broth with spicy sauce, spring onion and coriander and, finally, the vegetable broth with homemade flavored sauce.
Sliced beef can be added to the broth and noodles base.
Then there are a series of small cold appetizers to accompany your steaming bowl, one better than the other: steamed lotus stuffed with sweet rice, brown sugar and osmanthus flakes, cashews with fried nori seaweed, cucumber salad knife beat with soy sauce and Zhenjiang vinegar (really recommended!), seaweed marinated with vinegar and sugar, seaweed salad and julienne carrots with Zhenjiang vinegar, white carrot marinated with vinegar salt and brown sugar, eggs from farm on the ground boiled with ShaoXing pearly green tea, star anise, cinnamon and citrus flakes and, finally, ossobuco of Beef (without bone) boiled in slices in the Lanzhou way.
A small off-menu menu features spiced pork ribs with laurel and Sichuan pepper, fried chicken wings with ancient recipe, lion heads (braised pork meatballs with a recipe dating back to the seventh century AD) and chicken in soy sauce with seared vinegar with sesame oil and spring onions.
I tried the first broth, the more traditional one along with a medium thickness noodle. The lamian is really fresh and with a compact and very pleasant texture. The broth surprised me, because I found it very sweet, perhaps a little too much, despite the presence of spicy oil. In addition, the slices of beef are tasty and fatty and go very well with the aromas of hot broth.
I also tasted the vegetable broth but honestly I preferred the first one.
The flavor of this meat broth reminded me of the Vietnamese Pho in many respects, probably due to the numerous spices and the presence of coriander. So, if you like soft and delicate flavors, with a sweet accent, this broth is right for you. For my taste, I found it a little too cloying.
Finally, the desserts are Italian, made by the pastry chef Nicolò Moschella from Cornaredo.
To all this is added a young, fast and kind staff, who will do everything to make you spend a pleasant evening (preferably with friends) and a truly ridiculous final price.