Mandarin Oriental Milan, a preview
An exclusive report with details on the staff of one of the most awaited openings in the hot Milanese summer
Antonio Guida and Federico dell’Omarino, respectively chef and executive sous-chef of the gourmet restaurant that should open by June inside the Mandarin Oriental in via Andegari 9 in Milan (the entrance to the restaurant will also be in Via Monte di Pietà 18). Both with a long experience in the kitchen of Hotel Pellicano in Porto Ercole, 2 Michelin stars, they are in Milan aspiring for the top. Alberto Tasinato will be the restaurant manager
In the jumble of Milanese, Expo-oriented openings, perhaps this is the most awaited debut. Awaited by inhabitants and tourists who will transit in Milan because it marks the arrival in Italy of Mandarin Oriental, the Chinese group of luxury hotellerie already present in 24 countries in the world, between Asia, America and Europe. The next fan will flutter on Italy (while there’s a second approaching opening in Marrakech).
This project, however, is most of all awaited by gourmet enthusiasts because the company can boast the highest proportion of restaurants with a Michelin star: if we’re not mistaken, there’s a total of 16 in the world (the most famous two? Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner in London-Knightsbridge). And then because at the helm, we know it since last July, there will be Antonio Guida, the formidable chef who climbed up to the second Michelin star on the back of Pellicano, on the Argentario. In the recent past, bets on the third star always included his name.
The chef from Tricase, near Lecce, is too humble and serious to think or declare he wants to bring the most longed for acknowledgement to Milan, thirty years after Gualtiero Marchesi in Bonvesin del Riva. Yet this thought came across us for a second while during our visit Guida himself welcomed us in Via Andegari 9 in Milan, the future entrance to the restaurant, four different buildings owned by Gruppo Statuto for a hotel with a total of 104 rooms of which 31 suites. How soon? It is impossible to say with precision but it is very likely it will be by June, not counting unforeseen events, which always need to be included when you need to grease such a complex machine.
The rendering of the courtyard of the bar-bistro
The restaurant plan includes a fine dining restaurant and a bistro, both on the ground floor. The first will have its entrance at 18 Via Monte di Pietà and will be L-shaped, structured around an outside courtyard accessible in the winter too. The project, signed by architect Antonio Citterio, includes lots of wood and 15 different varieties of marble, following the strict Mandarin logic of always using raw materials representing the hosting country.
The kitchens, designed following Guida’s suggestions, will be a total of 4: one for fine dining, one for the bistro and one for banqueting, all on the ground floor. On the floor below there will be the fourth, a very wide space for pre-preparations (cleaning meat and fish) and room service. What with kitchens, dining rooms and courtyard outside the total will be of around 800 square metres.
Mattia Pastori from Pavia: he will be the bar manager
Who will have the key positions? Alberto Tasinato is the restaurant manager, right after the opening of Berton and an old acquaintance (“old” so to speak: he’s not yet 30) of Milan’s restaurant scene (Al V Piano, Trussardi alla Scala also with Berton) and of Guida himself (he worked at Pellicano in 2008). Tasinato will be supported by sommelier Ilario Perrot.
The executive sous-chef, instead, will be the very faithful Federico dell’Omarino, at Guida’s side for 14 years while the pastry department will be the kingdom of Nicola Di Lena, another previous pillar at Argentario. Among the 3 sous-chef we find once again, with pleasure, the name of Matteo Lorenzini, previously at Tre Lune in Calenzano, a star conquered last November followed by the closing soon afterwards. Then there’s Roberto Stefani, also very close to Guida and, at the helm of the bistro, Michele Cotugno, previously at Armani in Milan, just like bar manager Mattia Pastori. Of course a great importance will also be paid to fine drinking (in a not too formal context): the bistro will always be open, until 2 in the morning.
Luca Finardi, general manager of Mandarin Oriental, previously at Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina (Messina)
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Gabriele Zanatta’s opinion: on establishments, chefs and trends in Italy and the world
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, he's been working as a co-author and coordinator of both Identità Web and Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook for the past 7 years