Michelin Trek from Milan












Looking up for a starred restaurant in Milan, I came across Giancarlo Morelli. His restaurants in Milan are visual treats for the eye, but a friend of mine, Chef Mauro told me of another of his restaurants, a few miles from Milan. With his sons working there with Morelli, I decided to go to Pomiroeu, in a town called Seregno. In a house, with lush gardens outside and nice wine cellar in the basement, Pomireu was closed for a special event and thankfully Giancarlo Morelli was gracious enough to accept me for the night thanks to Chef Mauro.

Being my first sit down Michelin dinner, I wanted to have the Chef's tasting course. I went with their best, a 5 course dinner. My previous Michelin dinners were in Hong Kong where the restaurants weren't built for stars but were given stars purely for their quality. So for all practical purposes, this was my first star dinner.

The visual treat of the first course, was a feast to the eyes, but I noticed that there was only one piece of cutlery on the table - a spoon. A soup with tripe, and a first course with Piadina stuffed with spinach and cheese and a Parmesan crisp with cheese and micro greens. This was my first taste of tripe and for someone who doesn't prefer offal, I wasn't sure how I (or my body) was going to react. Thankfully, it passed my system without much effort from me. The tripe was soft and didn't have any offensive flavour while the the soup was thick and warm. With a nice chunk of ricotta and a generous helping of spinach inside a home made Italian flatbread, the Piadina was excellent and the Parmesan crisp gave the first course a nice crunch.

As my plates were cleared away, I was left with no cutlery.

This was followed by a bread course that smelt so good right from the time it started arriving to the room. The waiter explained every bread on the table and I had a bite of each. The waiter arrived with a fork and a knife and was quickly followed by another with my next course, a cauliflower with semolina crisps and sauce. The two types of cauliflowers were intriguing. A usual white one and a rather unusual purple one with a white stalk. With very little done to the ingredients, the flavours of the cauliflower were the hero with buttery sauce adding some depth and the crisps, some crunch.

Then I got a spoon and a fork placed on my table. What could this course be? A beautiful looking dish arrived on the table. It looked like a glorified sunny side up, but had only the yolk from the egg. The rest was a buttery smooth potato mash, with leeks, chestnuts and pink pepper. A dish so good, I could do this for breakfast everyday.

With a spoon and a fork placed on table, came a brown tortellini with sweet notes. Made of chestnut flour and stuffed with pumpkins and chicken broth poured over it, there was flavours of citrus coming through, but I don't know if it came from the broth or the tortellini itself. A fabulous combination of flavours that felt meaty without any meat in it.

When a spoon was placed on my table, I expected a risotto and what came was the dish that won Italy's best Risotto award. This was a lesson in al dente for me. Having my first risotto in Italy, I realised that al dente is different in the rest of the world. Italy is a lot more, well, al dente. With bits of truffle and shrimp to simply enhance the rice, the rice was the hero here. And the creamy rice totally deserved to be.

The main course was two lamb cutlets, medium rare with greens. While the extra 'rawness' of the risotto was fabulous, I can't say the same of the lamb. Of course this is a very personal preference and may even be an acquired taste, but for this lamb biriyani eating Indian, a medium rare lamb wasn't finger licking good.

The Tiramisu for dessert. Whoa. A deconstructed version, with creamy mascarpone hiding the goodness of cocoa nibs beneath it with coffee soaked cake. Every bit a Tiramisu in flavour and nothing like a tiramisu to look at.

Yes, it was 5 courses, but in effect it was an eight course meal. Priced at 90 EUR, the bill will arrive only when you ask for it. I didn't know it and I was waiting for ever only to realise later that the bill in an Italian restaurant will arrive only when you ask for it.

Pomireu is in a small town called Seregno, about twenty minutes by train from Milan. Giancarlo Morelli is going after his third Michelin star at his Milan restaurant, MORELLI. The sheer size of that kitchen is mind boggling.