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25-05-2023

Berton's Natura is a hymn to joy

The Milanese chef has added a third tasting menu entirely dedicated to the vegetable world, full of substance and inspiration. No more preconceptions about veg preparations, not least because their seasons are almost ephemeral

Warm Minestrone with legumes, vegetables and candi

Warm Minestrone with legumes, vegetables and candied onion in a broth of Grana Padano Riserva, a dish from Andrea Berton's Natura menu

And three! Third tasting menu for Andrea Berton's restaurant under the towers and buildings of Piazza Alvar Aalto in Milan, telephone +39.02.67075801. After the well-established Non solo brodo and Porta Nuova, here's the debut of Natura, eight courses, six savoury and two sweet, all marked by the vegetable world. Prices? Respectively 160 euros, 155 and 150. As in several other establishments, there is no longer a separate à la carte menu. You can however choose two or three courses, for 105 and 145 euro respectively - dessert is an extra -, from those marked with the chef's fluttering initials, AB. Not all of them because some of them only make sense if placed within their tasting menu. In practice they hold up in small doses, not as an important dish in their own right. All very logical also because several chefs draw their tasting menu from the à la carte options, lacking in originality, when I find it more logical and correct to think and create something different, independent and special to enrich the offer.

Berton said in a press release, when he was in the Maldives to follow up on the restaurant he runs in the Indian Ocean archipelago at the beginning of May: "We thought of introducing a new tasting menu not only to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for vegetarian dishes, but also to introduce the versatility and delicate flavours of vegetarian cuisine. Despite its simplicity, the proposal lends itself to elegant combinations and succeeds in satisfying the tastes and needs of our customers".

The simplicity, however, is only seeming, and is only based on his professionalism. Move a step below, and the simplicity starts to fade away as the complexity of restaurant cooking shows.

And, beyond the ever-increasing popularity of vegetables, the doubt that grips everyone is always the same: Will I eat enough? Will I be full? Will it be just salads? Keep calm and don't you worry: Berton feeds you, in fact he goes much further. He combines the vegetable side with inspirations and techniques that expand the boundaries of the menu, both in terms of substance and inspiration. It is a dynamic path since, unlike meat and fish, the vegetable season is much shorter, even ephemeral, a couple of weeks and no more.

Cardoncelli mushrooms and crusco peppers, Chef Andrea Berton

Cardoncelli mushrooms and crusco peppers, Chef Andrea Berton

Hence the constant thinking of new executions to include. I consider this impossibility of having emblem dishes that cover several months an added value.

Starting point Cucumber and kiwi, then Fennel and tarragon which surprises you, with the fennel reminding you of a large dumpling with persuasive notes and not at all annoying, which is rare when cooked. The third step is a variegated, brilliant warm Minestrone of legumes, vegetables and candied onion over which a Grana Padano riserva broth is poured, a good idea compared to the obvious chips.

Peas, ricotta and citron, the last act of Andrea Berton's Natura menu

Peas, ricotta and citron, the last act of Andrea Berton's Natura menu

Then the Risotto fieno mascarpone, lively, full of warm notes, a first course that pampers you, and a superb mammola artichoke with potatoes, that melts in your mouth. And then there’s the Cardoncelli mushrooms and peperone crusco in an original interpretation, with the mushroom stalk cooked for four hours in vacuum, and the cap braised.

Andrea Berton's almost full brigade on the evening of the 2nd May, a week after the debut of the Natura menu on the 25th of April. Left to right: Renzo Miguel Inga Flores; Simone Tortorelli, chef de rang; Luca Enzo Bertè, head sommelier; Gianluca Laserra, dining room manager; Simone Sangiorgi, chef de cuisine; Leonardo Manetta, sous chef; and finally Andrea Matteo, dining room commis

Andrea Berton's almost full brigade on the evening of the 2nd May, a week after the debut of the Natura menu on the 25th of April. Left to right: Renzo Miguel Inga Flores; Simone Tortorelli, chef de rang; Luca Enzo Bertè, head sommelier; Gianluca Laserra, dining room manager; Simone Sangiorgi, chef de cuisine; Leonardo Manetta, sous chef; and finally Andrea Matteo, dining room commis

At that point the curtain falls on the long savoury journey and the desserts burst in: Passion fruit and vanilla; Peas, ricotta and citron in a cannoli mix and pea sorbet. Brilliant service and wine pairing that measures up the food. Berton, yes to Natura.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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A mouth watering page, published every Sunday in Il Giornale from November 1999 to the autumn of 2010. Stories and personalities that continue to live in this website

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Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.
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