In Milan I think I have tried everything: traditional restaurants, fusion brought to excess and mixes of all kinds and shapes. But something so bizarre I was really missing.
Located in the Lodi area, Spore is a restaurant that already has a whole program from its name. Surely many of you will be used to hearing about fermentations in the gastronomic field (thanks above all to Japanese and Korean cuisine), but almost certainly never about spores. "Alien" organisms, living elements that must be "cultivated" in curious incubation chambers carefully refrigerated, exactly those present in the basement of the restaurant. of wonders and tells of his long and enviable training, from the master in Food Innovation and Health to the internship at the Noma Fermentation Lab, up to Tokuyoshi here in Milan.
The numerous and intriguing natural wines are instead the prerogative of Giacomo Venturoli, room manager, who boasts important experiences in the kitchens of the Clove Club and Sketch in London but also the Beast in Copenhagen.
The restaurant perfectly reflects the order, cleanliness and essentiality of Asian and Scandinavian countries, although speaking of a "restaurant" in my opinion is really an understatement: more a laboratory, an experimental studio, another place bordering on science fiction.
At Spore you don't have dinner, but you have an experience.
There is no real menu, but a model that changes every week. The off-menus instead change every day and everything, absolutely everything, is chosen and cooked based on the sustainability and availability of the raw material, in addition to the natural evolution of the fermented products in the laboratory, where vinegars, kimchi, kombucha, shoyu and miso are made .
A tasting itinerary is therefore proposed (which includes water and cover charge) at a very honest price, to which other dishes can be added on request - personally I struggled to finish the dishes in the program because they were abundant, but if you are a foodie ordered at least one dish out of the menu because they are really special.
The dinner opened with sourdough bread, sour cream, fermented sesame.
The sour cream is the first shock of the evening: the taste is initially very acidic, alienating, but on the finish the taste suddenly changes and becomes a pleasant hint of goat's milk. Get ready because it is a preparation that will project you very far from your comfort zone.
The bread is fragrant, almost sweet, very good indeed.
Relish of vegetables, limes, herbs, fermented vegetables, peanuts.
A delicate course to finish by making the "scarpetta".
Coppa di testa with 5 spices, fermented daikon, chili oil, coriander.
I simply loved this course, I would have eaten at least two dishes. Definitely a different way to eat a salami that has almost disappeared and, seasoned in this way, is exquisitely enhanced.
Corn on the cob with yakitori, Controne bean miso, horseradish, shichimi togarashi.
The funniest course: corn on the cob is served on a spit and eaten with your hands. The condiments enhance the corn, making it particularly tasty.
Cold tagliolini, fermented tomato, marinated mussels, wild garlic.
When you say "it looks like a painting" ... this is the case. Already at the sight it is curious and intriguing, almost a seascape or who knows ... Good? Yup.
Mullet, tom kha sauce, water spinach, fermented potatoes, basil.
The most "normal" course (let me pass the term) enjoyed, and for this reason the one that perhaps struck me least, heavily inspired by Thai cuisine.
As an off-menu I tried both desserts proposed.
Steamed cake, brown butter, eggnog and fermented plums.
It is a very soft cake cooked in a bamboo basket, a more delicious version of the classic Chinese ma lai go.
Baked rice and coconut cream, fermented percoche and fried shallot.
The worthy conclusion of this gastronomic journey, a really pleasant dessert that cleans the mouth and lightens everything.
Spore's cuisine is without borders, with what follows. If you don't like daring combinations and you don't like alienating tastes, this is not the place for you. If, on the other hand, you are curious and are not afraid of anything, Spore is the most intriguing and complex restaurant you can try. I recommend it especially for a dinner with friends, to try everything the menu has to offer and be amazed.