Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, created by Chef Carlo Cracco, is a collaborative venture bringing together interior design, art and food. Young chefs led by Chef Luca Pedata work in this beautifully converted sawmill to produce dishes that are much acclaimed. On a recent trip to Italy, I was fortunate enough to secure a last minute booking for dinner.
Walking into the restaurant is an experience in itself. A setting unlike any other – a converted sawmill with a long table in the centre, crystal chandeliers from the rooftop and industrial exposed walls. Simply put, it is a beautiful and well thought out space. The dining hall simply flows into the bar area and then into the outdoor courtyard. A stunning space indeed.
I was there fairly early and was shown to my place at the large table. Even though everyone is seated at the same table, a lot of thought has gone into the placements so there is still some privacy per se. The english menu was presented to me and it was very evident that the waitress struggled with english which is somewhat surprising in a fine dining venue in an international city. Nonetheless, I was just buzzing from the vibe of the place (and my gin and tonic).
For my first time in restaurants like this, I love selecting the tasting menus. I believe it allows the chef to express him/herself the best and present to me the story of the restaurant or cuisine. The tasting menu at Carlo e Camilla in Segheria is a six course menu and thus seemed like the best option for this night.
After the orders were taken, the waitress returned with a plate of beautiful looking amuse-bouches. However as soon as the plate was placed on the table, the waitress disappeared without offering any explanation as to what the artistic morsels were. It was a little frustrating as I like to know what it is that i am about to eat and then I can get a better idea of what the chef’s approach to the meal will be.
The first course was a slow cooked yolk, served with green gazpacho, broad beans, potato and mustard seeds. The dish was a visual feast – different colours and shapes all blended together perfectly. The same, however, could not be said about the taste – the dish was simply too bland. A bland yolk covering bland vegetables. A sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, perhaps, could have helped bridge the different flavour profiles but as it stood, a disappointing opening.
Next up was the Veal Carpaccio. Again, the presentation was absolutely stunning. Thin slices of veal wrapped into a delicate bird nest topped with anchovy mayonnaise, agretti and drizzled with a meat jus. The tender slices of veal melted on the tongue and the warm, beefy, meaty jus held the dish together perfectly. After the initial disappointment of the opening yolk, this dish went some way towards redemption – a perfect marriage of taste and texture.
After the excitement of the veal, I could hardly wait for the next course – one of my favourite foods – risotto. Risotto alla pizziaola is a playful simple dish combining simple flavours. Like all dishes so far, the presentation of this dish was impeccable. However, after one bite, it was evident that there was a problem – the rice was undercooked. A few more minutes cooking would have had this dish “al-dente” however, I simply had crunchy rice. Before I judged harshly, I took a bite of my dining companion’s dish and that was cooked perfectly. It was a great shame because the flavour was just fantastic.
Carlo e Camilla in Segheria had me on an emotional roller coaster with the inconsistency of the dishes being produced in the kitchen but, out of curiosity, I waited patiently, even hopeful, for their next offering – Morone with Saffron. A beautifully crusted piece of Morone fish, served on a bed of saffron sauce, with spinach and sweet pickled cucumber was brought and it looked amazing (again). The fish was perfectly done and seasoned, however, the saffron sauce lacked the distinctness of saffron and the sweet cucumber was simply a messy and confusing addition to the dish. This dish kept with the theme of most of the evening – looks great but tastes strange.
Dessert followed and I don’t usually eat dessert nor do I comment on them as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But I did try the “Margherita Pizza” dessert out of curiosity. A simple cookie crumble, topped with red berry sauce and cream and sprinkled with basil all made out to look like a pizza. This was actually quite pleasant being not too sweet and truthfully I quite enjoyed it – maybe it was because it was one of the few dishes that actually flowed together.
Carlo e Camilla in Segheria is an ‘Average’ restaurant. The glamorous, beautiful setting is offset by glaring inconsistencies from the kitchen. The service also suffers from inconsistencies with the staff either showing disinterest or not willing or able to speak basic english (a requirement for a restaurant of this calibre). It definitely is a place to be seen amongst the A-list Milanese, enjoying a quirky cocktail but not somewhere I can recommend for the dining experience.
‘Triple F’ Factor 0/1