The good Sardinia at Cucina.eat

In Cagliari a multifunctional space (wine bar, shop, bookshop...) offers excellent bistronomy by Ladu-Vitale

22-08-2017

Francesco Vitale, Mauro Ladu, Alessandra Meddi: the trio at  Cucina.eat in Cagliari

One always wishes to write about the evolution of Sardinia’s cuisine. It’s one of the few areas in Italy that hasn’t yet been valorised to the extent it well deserves. Indeed it is divided between few very high standard places (though some are strongly connected with seasonal tourism), and many “seaside” restaurants with no particular quality, a strong tradition that finds it hard to renew itself and a few new ideas with contemporary formats. Cucina.eat in Cagliari, a modern, multifunctional space, certainly belongs to the latter category: it’s a wine bar where you can taste accurately selected specialties («We chose each single bottle following this philosophy. There’s no winery on our shelves that we haven’t visited, nor wine we haven’t tasted, drank and learnt to love», explains owner Alessandra Meddi, from Rome, in love with the island), a small shop selling cooking utensils, a bookshop with fundamental books and not-to-be-missed gems, a place for meetings and courses, a shop selling delicacies…

Cream of potatoes, roasted mutton sausage, pioppini mushrooms, powdered onion

Cream of potatoes, roasted mutton sausage, pioppini mushrooms, powdered onion

You can find these delicacies also at the restaurant, a sort of signature bistro that finely presents Sardinia with its aromas and scents thanks to talented Mauro Ladu, born in 1984 in Mamoiada, in Barbagia di Ollolai, in the province of Nuoro. He approaches tradition with respect, but without reverential awe, with a light, current and bistronomic style: «I believe cooking is now returning "su connottu" that is to say to its origins; indeed you should not forget tradition, but this must be enriched with innovation, technique and technology so as to give it a new appearance, that preserves its authenticity while showing more respect for contemporary taste», he said months ago to  La Nuova Sardegna, soon after he got at the helm of  Cucina.eat’s kitchen, in October of 2016. His curriculum includes local masters such as Antonio Erriu and Cristiano Andreini, with whom he shared an international experience in Moscow at 5 star luxury hotel National.

Culurgiones filled with aubergine cream, with scorpionfish sauce, tartar of sugarello, lime, mint and pepper

Culurgiones filled with aubergine cream, with scorpionfish sauce, tartar of sugarello, lime, mint and pepper

Apulian Francesco Vitale, born in 1991 in San Michele Salentino, recently joined him. He previously worked with Roberto Petza and before then at Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal, in Milan at Park Hyatt with Andrea Aprea and shortly with Andrea Berton, in the days of Trussardi, also in Milan. They are a perfect match: it’s as if Ladu, whose story is tightly intertwined with Sardinian products, caught in Vitale the input that in the latter derives from his extra-Sardinian illustrious experience: the result is remarkable.

We experienced this when tasting their simple dishes, but with an excellent balance, which can – most of all – honour the island’s products. The fact this is  Cucina.eat ‘s main characteristic can be noticed as soon as you sit, when they serve you the delicious carasau bread from Kentos, in Orroli: semolina and Senatore Cappelli durum wheat flour, water, natural mother yeast, salt. So good.

Vitale and Ladu at work

Vitale and Ladu at work

You can also tell in the dishes, which depend on what’s available from the very rich local market: Chickpea cream, salted codfish tempura, cardamom, pil pil sauce, sweet and sour onion and French beans, very elegant. Then there’s a bomb: Cream of potatoes, roasted mutton sausage, pioppini mushrooms, powdered onion, super delicious, the onion is lovely, aromatic, powerful. Culurgiones are classic Sardinian ravioli. In this case they are filled with a cream of aubergines, covered with scorpionfish sauce, and then tartare of sugarello, lime, mint and pepper: even too many ingredients, though the dish is nonetheless pleasant.

Sottofesa [thick flank] of scottona gallurese, fruit and vegetable salad, chives, fresh oregano and reduction of Carignano wine

Sottofesa [thick flank] of scottona gallurese, fruit and vegetable salad, chives, fresh oregano and reduction of Carignano wine

Cream of ricotta, crumble, chocolate and rhum cream, candied pompia, gel of lemon and pears

Cream of ricotta, crumble, chocolate and rhum cream, candied pompia, gel of lemon and pears

The Sottofesa di scottona gallurese [thick flank], fruit and vegetable salad (radishes, cucumbers, celeriac, peaches…), chives, fresh oregano and reduction of Carignano wine is convincing, followed by the excellent dessertCream of ricotta, crumble, chocolate and rhum cream, candied pompia, gel of lemon and pears  cooked in water, sugar, cinnamon and orange.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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