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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pranzo - Piazza Duomo 2012

It's been a whole week since we left Melbourne and to mark the occasion we'll be dining at the brilliant Piazza Duomo.

After our two visits last year, we've been silently counting down the days when we'd be able to sample more of Enrico Crippa's food.

The hardest part is deciding which degustation option to take - we've decided to repeat our first experience and order La Degustazione +

As soon as we've ordered it's time for the amuse to begin

Pasta with Aubergine Pearls

corn taco with herb creme, deep fried cheese ball, coco-mint meringue

chard creme

creme caramel topped with miso glaze

foie gras mousse with campari foam

"olives" - stuffed with carne cruda and langostines

chard sponge
First course:

Insalata 21, 31, 41, 51
At this time of year there's somewhere over 45 ingredients in this salad - and salad seems just an insignificant word to use. There's is so much going on, each bite brings different textures, different tastes. When you've finally reached the end of the bowl, there's a bonus. The dish has a perforated base and all the juices have collected into a dashi based broth.

Second Course:

Orata al lemone e Pepe Verde
A work of art on a plate. Beautiful slivers of raw sea base, divinely matched with small gobules of sweet and sour lemon - fine green pepper dust adding another layer of piquancy. You want to eat this dish slowly.

Third Course:

Melanzana alla Parmigana
A re-imagined eggplant parmigiana - three "gel" slices from top left going clockwise - mozzarella - tomato and eggplant, interspersed by eggplant puree and buratta mounds. They are topped with parmesan tuiles and an intensely pure pesto sits in the middle.

Fourth Course:

Merluzzo, Zucchine, Zafferano
Another beautiful to look at dish - a celebration of yellows and greens. Saffron is one of those ingredients that can easily overwhelm but it has been handled here perfectly. There are about 8 different types of zucchini on the plate and the Cod which has been salted in house and then rehydrated and poached in saffron.

Fifth Course:

Carbonara di Gamberi
The prawns used are the wonderfully sweet san remo prawns. Softened slices of celery thread their way through the rigatoni over which slivers of pancetta are lazily draped.

Sixth Course:

Crema di Patate Lapsang Souchong
So pretty it needs two pictures.

At the bottom is a slow cooked quail egg that has been steeped in lapsang souchong tea - across the top, a fine powder of lapsang souchong and in between the most amazingly smooth potato creme. It's an utter joy when you slice through the egg and it's gorgeous yolk oozes out.

Seventh Course:

Filetto alla Pizzaiola
It is exactly has described a fillet of beef in a pizzaiola sauce but it's the quality of the meat and the sauce which puts this on another level.

Eight Course:

Agnello e Camomilla
I've never seen a lamb rack this small, it was just a little larger than a hare rack! Alongside is the lamb fillet and chard.

Ninth Course:

Bonet di Zucca

To finish - the petit fours (or petit nines)

raspberry, pistachio, quinoa and chocolate wafer

assorted biscotti

pressed figs

chocolate coated hazelnuts tossed in cocoa

milk + grappa

So has the year long wait been worth it? Resoundingly YES! It's every bit as good and more than we recall. The best bit is that we'll soon be returning and I can't wait.

The details:

Piazza Duomo
Piazza Risorgimento 4
12051 Alba (CN)

39 0173 366167

Lunch - 1230 - 1400
Dinner - 1930 - 2200

Sunday Night and All-day Monday
Sunday and Monday (June-July-August)
Monday (October)

Holiday Closure:
Mid December to January
2 weeks in August


Always check the website for up to date opening hours.


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