Cracco, a preview in the Galleria

Together with the chef, we visited the building site of the new restaurant: «Alex Bartoli is my first investment, with him, I’ll change the dining room»

26-09-2017

Carlo Cracco, in a picture by Brambilla - Serrani, peeks from the entrance of his new restaurant on the Ottagono of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The restaurant, a building site when we at Identità Golose had a very first preview, is expected to open in mid December

Two-hundred seventy metres or a three minutes’ walk, you decide. It’s the same. In Milan, this is the distance and time that separate Via Victor Hugo from Ottagono in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the current location of Ristorante Cracco from the new one. The first service in the restaurant then owned by the Stoppani family was on January 8th 2001. Carlo Cracco hopes his first service in this Milanese sitting room will happen between Sant’Ambrogio and Christmas, so in December. Three months of works and, therefore, of wait.

It’s been 12 and a half years since this picture by Alessandro Castiglioni and none of them had a beard then. It happened later. It was the winter of 2005, the year of the first edition of Identità Golose in Milan. Carlo Cracco had Matteo Baronetto beside him, to his left in the photo. They both hold a plate full of Spaghetti with marinated egg yolk, one of their signature dishes. Behind them, on the left, four collaborators of what was then Cracco-Peck, and right, Fabio Pisani with the black apron as well as Andrea Berton

It’s been 12 and a half years since this picture by Alessandro Castiglioni and none of them had a beard then. It happened later. It was the winter of 2005, the year of the first edition of Identità Golose in Milan. Carlo Cracco had Matteo Baronetto beside him, to his left in the photo. They both hold a plate full of Spaghetti with marinated egg yolk, one of their signature dishes. Behind them, on the left, four collaborators of what was then Cracco-Peck, and right, Fabio Pisani with the black apron as well as Andrea Berton

It’s been 12 and a half years since this picture by Alessandro Castiglioni and none of them had a beard then. It happened later. It was the winter of 2005, the year of the first edition of Identità Golose in Milan. Carlo Cracco had Matteo Baronetto beside him, to his left in the photo. They both hold a plate full of Spaghetti with marinated egg yolk, one of their signature dishes. Behind them, on the left, four collaborators of what was then Cracco-Peck, and right, Fabio Pisani with the black apron as well as Andrea Berton

The name of the restaurant will always be Ristorante Cracco and it will keep the same phone number and email, it’s essential: +39.02.876774 and info@ristorantecracco.it. The main entrance will be in the Galleria, the one for private events, at the back, from Via Silvio Pellico 6 with an independent lift to get to the last floor without interfering with the activity of café, bistro and restaurant. We entered from the back.

You now have to go up and down stairs that are inevitably dusty and cluttered, like everywhere after all. «So as to reinforce everything, they used 30 tons of steel, better exceed», these were the first words of the chef. «The first time I thought of moving here was in 2015. Someone told me that the City had posted an announcement for a space and I asked for info. Nothing happened because I still had no concrete project, but I understood how it worked and enrolled in what may look like a game.

Carlo Cracco in the courtyard behind the Galleria at number 6 Via Silvio Pellico. Photo by Brambilla - Serrani​

Carlo Cracco in the courtyard behind the Galleria at number 6 Via Silvio Pellico. Photo by Brambilla - Serrani​

An announcement, a project, an offer. A clerk asked me what I wanted to open and I said “a restaurant”. In fact, it’s much more than that. It’s a total of 1,080 metres, from the wine-bar in the cellar to the events almost under the roof».

The right announcement came six months later, at the end of 2015. Works began in July 2016: «In Via Victor Hugo Peck closed in December 1999. We worked for a year and when we opened the name was new too, Cracco-Peck. In July 2007 I took over and the name became Ristorante Cracco. No, I still don’t know what will happen there. I have two and a half projects».

Carlo Cracco, Claudio Ceroni and Paolo Marchi in the middle of the building site

Carlo Cracco, Claudio Ceroni and Paolo Marchi in the middle of the building site

First comes the Galleria: «We still cannot go downstairs into the cellar. There are already 1600 labels there but we’ll get to 2000, even more than the bottles Luca Gardini had in his list. They will all be important. I’m certainly not going to interfere with the work of the many good enoteche scattered around town. You’ll be able to taste the wine, as well as buy it and take it home. On the ground floor, there will be a café and bistro inside, and a large outside space. You’ll be able to eat at all hours, from breakfast to after dinner. Kitchens? Four, one per floor».

We go up: «We still can’t visit what will be the pastry and chocolate workshop, let’s move to the restaurant itself. It will seat fifty people, or rather 45 so that everyone can be comfortable, both guests and staff».

Another photo of Carlo Cracco, Claudio Ceroni and Paolo Marchi, this time right to left

Another photo of Carlo Cracco, Claudio Ceroni and Paolo Marchi, this time right to left

The Ottagono from the gallery on the last floor of the new Ristorante Cracco

The Ottagono from the gallery on the last floor of the new Ristorante Cracco

In the kitchen, there are tiles signed by Gio Ponti in three colours, made specially: «The yellow recalls Milan because of risotto and the stove will have the same inserts». Small and bigger rooms and the hall are currently being renovated. But without changing design and volumes. Everything is protected by the Fine Arts just like the Salone dei Cai, the hall dedicated to the Club Alpino Italiano. It’s nice to think that Cracco wants to go up and up. Two stars might not satisfy him at some point. Plus just like the current place spreads down, so the next will spread above.

Infinite details and pieces to settle. For instance, in Via Hugo, in the old restaurant, there’s a new dining room manager, Alex Bartoli, born in 1993. He comes from Enoteca Pinchiorri where the chef from Vicenza also stood out in the mid Nineties. «Alex is training a team. The goal is to give a completely new look to the dining room and the sommelier service». Excellent.

There’s lots to be discovered on the third floor: the old alpinisti hall, then a second and a third. «This will be the fumoir and the place for an aperitif before dinner or a spirit later. No issues with bad odours, the current exhaust fans suck in everything. The only setback, it’s always cold because they suck the hot air too».

Then there’s a surprise: «Over here, it’s not a smoking area, though it looks like one. It’s a private event room seating eight people. When moving, I’ll lose the small room in the kitchen, but I get this room with a view of the Ottagono. There’s more, follow me».

I follow and towards the welcome area, so going back, there’s a second table away from sight, a smaller one, seating four people. And above, a hall for events and parties with a long external gallery. Charming.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Sections

Primo piano

The events you cannot miss and all the news of topical interest from the food planet