The Camanini brothers, Giancarlo and Riccardo. Their Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia) won the 8th place in the 50 Best. Photo Settimio Benedusi
According to the dictionary “synthesis” is any form of understanding in which, starting from multiple elements, we can reach a sole conclusion. Riccardo Camanini is a cook but he’s also a lover of art, culture, beauty and history. More than ever, he sums up all this knowledge in just one thing: a personal idea of cuisine, full of identity.
Too often we consider “synthesis” as something negative, that belittles the single elements: in this case, instead, we are facing not a transformation, not a privation. Beauty and ideas are transformed into never banal, but unmistakable and profound dishes.
At restaurant Lido 84 you are surrounded by beauty, passing through all the degrees of a hypothetical litmus paper.
Lido 84. Photo from Settimio Benedusi
Lunch with a view of the lake
The beauty is in the location: a restaurant overlooking Lake Garda, with a romantic dock for boats. In the dining room you are surrounded by design objects, books, artworks, light installations (Luna by Davide Groppi), and a white piano too. The Richard Ginori tableware is always remarkable, with its pastel colours and timeless decorations, which are in harmony with the colours on the walls and with the tables outside by Gio Ponti, white and blue, perhaps hinting subtly at the lake.
The beauty is in the people who live, liven up and make you discover Lido 84, starting from Riccardo and Giancarlo Camanini, owners and managers, who with their kindness and gentleness have covered everything with an invisible veil of peace. Among the unique signs, there’s the dance that alternates waiters and cooks, who come out of the kitchen to share their knowledge with the guests and explain in the best possible way how “everything is made”: from here come the gestures, more or less unique (like cutting the bladder of the Cacio e pepe), the smiles and the words. The mind of the guest travels, following the story first, and then the flavours that appear as a revealing epiphany.
The beauty is in the dishes that you admire with your eyes, enjoy with your palate, and make part of your soul and heart.
Riccardo Camanini at the table
So it is right to say that some of his creations are now contemporary icons: Cacio e pepe in pig’s bladder, Yellow rice at the sea, Sbernia in beeswax (a giant sheep from Bergamo, the subject of a talk he gave at Identità Milano, read here), Spaghettone with butter and brewer’s yeast, Rice with black garlic and red fruits, Rose cake with zabaglione. One could call these Camanini’s “classics”, but some of them are so innovative that this definition has its limits, unless you use an affectionate tone.
The summer menu includes an extract from “Dalla Carta” and the timeless “Oscillazioni”, with new dishes, transformed into a surprise with seven or nine courses. And now that Lido is number 8 in the World’s 50Best, we had of course to go back, to enjoy its essence, through the Oscillazioni menu.
Sicilian Patella, trombetta courgettes, mango oil, marigold butter. As often the case, one can notice in Camanini’s entrées a veil of vegetal ingredients (in this case courgettes) covering the rest, leaving the guest to find out what’s underneath
Asparagus Capù: a leaf of Swiss chard wrapped around fried couscous (to give crispiness), asparagus and green curry, which add almost a balsamic push. The colours are very beautiful, mostly playing with tones of green, and the memory of Riccardo Camanini for capù (a typical roll from Bergamo and Brescia), prepared at home and interpreted with a multicultural take at Lido 84
Gentile snail pasta, scallops from Chioggia, powdered mace, seaweeds, parsley sauce and anchovy colatura: this pasta is almost refreshing, served just lukewarm, to enhance the chlorophyll of the celery and its union with the sweet scallop
Rice, vine seed oil, squid: a dish that plays on candid colours and sweetness, given by the oil and the squid, a harmonious match
Green pepper filled with purple prawns, fried polenta, ginger, lime and yellow date tomato sauce: both beautiful and delicious, this pepper surprises with the “polenta and prawn” pair, both surprising and perfectly matching crispiness and softness. The aromas amplify everything, making the finish long, with the herbaceous note of the pepper leaving a very pleasant note
Stewed nerves of veal, celeriac reduction, celery leaves: all the collagen of the nerves amplifies the two vegetables, one reduced and the other pure, and adds a persistent and herbaceous aroma
Aubergine alla parmigiana: it’s cooked in one piece at 400°C, to keep the pulp white, and then finished during the service. Seasoned with a fondue of Parmigiano Reggiano 30 mesi, anchovy colatura (to give a noble sapidity), oil from Garda and a “mosaic” of tomatoes, a real pleasure for eyes and palate. A historic dish at Lido 84, delicious, despite its almost entirely vegetal nature, and which continues to surprise for the nuances it can show, depending on the ingredients available (not all aubergines and tomatoes are the same, and in any case in the summer they acquire different nuances of flavour)
Eel marinated in sweet wine, candied in duck fat and fried, paired with grilled vegetables, cold broth of parsley and pine vinegar: the fish is delicious, not overly rich, perfectly cooked. It’s even more enjoyable when dipped in the cold broth, a playing of contrasting temperatures that creates a “wow” effect and an aromatic veil contrasting the fatness of the eel
Rabbit kidney with guinea fowl liber sauce, chargrilled plums: the card handed with the food explains how the pasta is cooked for 84 hours and 11 minutes, adding also: “A possible evolution of the pasta takes place by dipping it in the liquid of the mostarda. Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides, in this sweet and spicy fluid add new flavours and textures to the pasta. We can thus imagine also a new place in the dish: pasta as a side dish”
Chargrilled pineapple with capers, lemon from Garda, rum, almonds and coconut and Yersinia gelato, anise liqueur from Romagna: the pineapple is cooked in one piece, presented at the table and sliced. The juiciness and the natural sweetness are surprising, enhanced by the grill and the rum, and well balanced by the capers and lemon too
The sweet finale offers a nice novelty, to mitigate the hot summer. They present Chargrilled pineapple with capers, lemon from Garda, rum, almonds and coconut served with Yersinia gelato, made with an anise liqueur from Romagna. This new dessert, included in a menu of very buttery classics, shows that at Lido 84 they are playing more and more with natural sweets, the result of those vegetables that can offer a lot, at the end of the meal.
Who knows if the secret behind this “constant movement” of ideas, flavours, cooking procedures and textures is in that cabrio Beetle that the Camanini brothers enjoy driving. Perhaps some dishes are born like this, by driving around lake Garda on this marvellous car, an emblem of the meeting between far or close travels and the menu.
Translatedinto English by Slawka G. Scarso
Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
Born in Piacenza in 1988, he’s an engineer and railway worker. Always curious about gastronomy, he loves to call himself a “researcher of good food”, having grown in a family where everything was “homemade”. He strongly believes in (good) food as the creator of connections and of excellent memories and true emotions. Instagram lucafarina88
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