Andrea Berton is back, in person and hands-on this time, chef-patron of a brand new restaurant in Milan‘s glossy new Porta Nuovadistrict. Ristorante Berton opened last weekend as expectations soared. Inevitably, this being the amazing talent from Friuli (and a tasty morsel if ever there was one), disciple of the very founder of modern Italian cuisine Gualtiero Marchesi, and winner of 2 Michelin stars 2 years on the trot for Trussardi alla Scala. No less. Since leaving Trussardi last year, Berton‘s been gastro-touring, deciding what to do when he grows up, and investing/advising in a couple of pretty distinctive places, both in Milan, meanwhile: Pisacco restaurant and, right opposite, Dry Cocktails and Pizza. So, this new place. It’s light, roomy and low-key contemporary in elegant black/white/gold: subdued expensive. You can dine for €40 or at least three times that (excluding drinks), choose a tasting menu or à la carte, meat or fish (the site is a WIP but soon you’ll be able to view the menu), and be asssured of Italy’s finest fare, touched by genius and impeccably presented. More Michelin ambitions, surely.
It seats just 40, though I’m not sure whether that includes the table du chef Berton, in the kitchen. And here we come to the philosophy behind Berton Milano, or at least one aspect of it: an interaction between cooks and diners, an open kitchen not just visible but actually accessible to customers. The process of creation right under your nose: no filters, no glass. Berton has maybe 20 professionals dedicated to making it all run smoothly, including at least a couple of trusted aides from Trussardi days: sous chef Claudio Catino and Alberto Tasinato managing the front house. Berton chose to invest in Milan: he’d have been welcomed with open arms anywhere else in the world. And he’s gambling on one of its most prestigious new developments, Porta Nuova Varesine. Building in Porta Nuova began in 2009 with projects by the likes of Nicholas Grimshaw, Cesar Pelli and Stefano Boeri, and is miraculously nearing completion. The restaurant’s in one of the Diamantini structures designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, right next to their big Diamante… Too much information? Right, that’s another story.