Filippo La Mantia, Milano eats Sicilian with colors and passion
A bit of Sicily in Milan. Filippo La Mantia’ s new space, located in piazza Risorgimento, it is not just a restaurant, but a concentrate of this Chef passions and a festival of good wine, superb food and music, all integrated by architect Piero Lissoni into an 1,800 square meter lounge. The restaurant, named after the Chef, operates from 7.30 am until 2 am. Divided in two floors, it is ideal for large business connections as well as smaller meetings, since everyone can fit to eat, drink, or even just surf the Web. The coffee shop on the ground floor, window facing the street in a typical Mediterranean street bar atmosphere, create lights all around with the use of white tiles and molten rock. Ideal careful evaluation of the mouth -watering homemade brioches and croissants is hence allowed and the extra indulging in the strong coffee helps in starting the day with the right foot.
Getting deeper into the space is encouraged by the winking night-club vibe of the cocktail bar area, where a number of -unusual- spices and herbs marriages dominates the palate. The lounge, with Richard Ginori chinaware and Virginia Casa ceramics, renders his tribute to Sicily -Caltagirone city, in particular- with the additional display of anthropomorphic vases created by Stefania Boemi. Mostly from well-known architect Piero Lissoni’s collections (mostly for Cassina, Living Divani e Porro), the furniture also includes the iconic “Cicognino” chairs by Franco Albini. Getting clues of this particular restaurant personality -a collectors motorcycle assembled by hand piece by piece and randomly exposed musical instruments helping us- the grand first impression strikes curiosity to further explore.
With its 70 seats , the actual restaurant area offers a chockful of traditional Sicilian specialties from Palermo’s area. Filippo La Mantia -who may take offense if someone defines him a Chef instead of Cook, as he loves to call himself in all modesty- describes his creations “in technicolor”, meaning in tone with the traditional Italian Southern cuisine: colorful and heavenly smelling, a touch of playful vibe vividly present. The menu casts outs: garlic, onions, shallots and leeks and yet it is absolutely Italian style. Filippo’ s pesto pasta sauce made with basil (of course), extra virgin olive oil, capers and oranges pulp is worth a mention (and a taste) as it also started a new trend. Surprisingly, the couscous is presented among the house specialties in the appetizers section of the menu. It is also rendered in a sweet version: a triumph of almonds, orange and almond paste embedded in honey, the right choice for clients with a sweet tooth.
More representative to the strictly Sicilian palates among us may be the notorious eggplant caponata, but the dessert selection is to die for even if he is not technically a pastry Chef. We discover why in Filippo’s own words: “ I was born in a family business that supplied confectionery shops and I’ve grown up surrounded by desserts. Your palate will confirm it in an instant, as the shows of colors and flavors hits it. And it will be love at first bite.