Here’s the new Exit: 100% pasta

Perdomo will open in Milan, in the autumn, his Pastificio Urbano where he will only serve pasta dishes: «I got the idea when I was still in Montevideo and everyone wanted fettuccine Alfredo»

24-07-2020

Take note for this autumn in Milan: Via Orti, on the corner with Via Curtatone, much closer to Viale Caldara than to Corso di Porta Romana. Where once was an old milk shop, all the windows are now closed by a sign depicting a brick wall and on top the following words: «Here something good is being born» and that something good will be the third restaurant, after Contraste and Exit, of Matias Perdomo and his business partners Simon Press and Thomas Piras.

An old photo of Matias Perdomo who first started as a cook in Uruguay, fourth from the left, in the second row

An old photo of Matias Perdomo who first started as a cook in Uruguay, fourth from the left, in the second row

After the summer, and before Christmas, this is where Exit pastificio urbano will open. But this will not be a pasta laboratory selling fresh pasta to take away, and perhaps some dishes to be enjoyed there and then. Perdomo, born in Uruguay in 1980, in Milan since 2000, had a splendid idea: a restaurant serving only pasta, all sorts of pasta. But not the usual soulless pasta, it would be unlike him, and unlike those who share his same horizons and intentions.

Baby chef Matias Perdomo with his hat in Montevideo

Baby chef Matias Perdomo with his hat in Montevideo

It’s a very noble project that starts from a simple thought as Matias himself said: «Where should you go, if you want some good spaghetti followed by some good filled pasta? Milan welcomes cuisines from all around the world, but there’s no establishment only focused on pasta. If you want fish you know where to reserve a table, and the same if you want meat. So Pastificio Urbano is here to create a galaxy of pasta». There’s already a good slogan: Secondi a nessuno [literally second to none, referring to the Italian sequence of first and second courses].

In what will soon be Exit Pastificio Urbano, the old sign from the milk shop between Via Orti and Via Curtanone is ready to be removed

In what will soon be Exit Pastificio Urbano, the old sign from the milk shop between Via Orti and Via Curtanone is ready to be removed

It all started before the quarantine and is restarting now: «I started from two thoughts. The first is general: everyone, around the world, knows Italian cuisine because it’s fun, colourful, tasty and never boring. The second brings me back to a famous thought of Alessandro Negrini at Identità Golose: if in a menu, these days, you have 18 big and small dishes and never spaghetti, it means you had 18 starters. You feel you’ve dined when you have carbohydrates. In South America is the opposite: you either had meat, or you skipped a meal».

It’s a cultural exchange and this is much easier for someone who comes from afar and doesn’t run the risk of being limited by our many traditions. Matias however knows Italy: «As a kid, they hired me in an Italian place in Montevideo called Paninis. They didn’t make panini, but it sounded good. I was 18 and that’s when I got the idea of opening a pasta place, seeing how much work we had and how people were never tired».

He worked his way up the ladder, with lots of patience and strong ambitions: «When I started, it was in a basement with just a stove. Pots always steaming, and sauces always ready. The menu included pasta alla Caruso, with pepper, chilli pepper, and fried courgettes. Who knows what Caruso would have said if he had that. Then fettuccine Alfredo, with butter and Parmigiano, Puttanesca with garlic, olives and capers. Everything, that is, and I wondered, how much do people eat? A lot because Paninis grew a lot. The owner opened two more restaurants, one behind Theatre Solis in Montevideo and another one in Punta del Este, seating 180 people, and always full of rich Argentinians».

Matias Perdomo sitting outside Exit  in Piazza Erculea in Milan

Matias Perdomo sitting outside Exit  in Piazza Erculea in Milan

During those two years, Perdomo learnt skills that would come useful later. And now it’s time, as he’s bringing back to life a restaurant that will have a double entrance and large spaces to enjoy the offer, curated by Claudio Rovari, current chef at Exit while Andrea Zoggia will look after the dining room and cellar. This offer will challenge the restaurant scene of Milan and of Italy in general, because until now we’ve always considered carbohydrates as something in between a starter and a main [in Italy]. Now pasta becomes the main.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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