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09-06-2023

Uliassi, art, sea and hunting

A lunch in Senigallia with the game menu signed by the Marche chef, who infuses his spirit and character into every dish, capable of going beyond all convention

Mauro Uliassi

Mauro Uliassi

Walking by the seafront, no matter where in the world, having the sound of the waves as your only companion, still has the effect of a balm, taking you back to pleasant childhood memories, when the sea was our everything.

Some time ago, when we arrived in Senigallia for the first time, we were hit by a whirlwind of déjà-vu: the well-known atmosphere of a seaside desert, but in a place yet unknown, the sea with its lapping and the crunch of sand underfoot... We felt at home, welcomed by this city we had never visited before. This warm embrace was the best of aperitifs, because in Senigallia we went, in essence, with the compass pointing only towards the Banchina di Levante: target Uliassi.

Born in 1990, Ristorante Uliassi has never stopped collecting accolades and leaving a mark in Italian gastronomy by breaking boundaries and conventions, only to go further and see what was next, to explore.

At the helm Mauro, alert, lucid and cunning. The Ulysses archetype: an inseparable mix of strength, heart, expertise and unpredictability.

Because memory is anarchic and does what it wants, as we stood in front of the restaurant's entrance, Van Gogh's painting The Sea at Les Saintes Maries came to mind, taking us by surprise. The thickness of the brushstrokes, the physicality of the touch that shatters and deflects the light, represent nothing more than the point of view from which we perceive everything; we only had to move a little to be surprised by something we had never noticed before.

Nourishing our senses, art represents an idea of light, capable of banishing darkness and making us admire something greater and rediscover the ability to be moved. It is a strength that Mauro Uliassi's cuisine demonstrates in the same way, with the complicity of his family's embrace.

Mauro's cooking is a creative flow channelled in a direction full of a continuous breaking and rebuilding of rules, with the sole purpose of saying something, of communicating, of shouting to the world, of transmitting beauty without compromise, at any cost and within a dish. Mauro's cooking is Mauro, and he cooks with the ease of a young man, only he does it with three stars sewn to his jacket. Be careful, however: don't even try to think of it as a restaurant that is all frills: Uliassi is sanguine and sincere, it is a place that follows a rhythm 'n' blues tempo, except the beat is punctuated by waves... and surprises!

Everything and the opposite of everything. After 500 km of driving, the urge to break the rules was great and so, while contemplating the beautiful blue Adriatic, we ate an astonishing vertical menu dedicated to game: Menu caccia.

Pheasant breast, oyster, perilla oil and toasted seeds

Pheasant breast, oyster, perilla oil and toasted seeds

One expects game to be characterised by long cooking, drowned in tasty gravies that, however, drain a lot of the meat: instead, the Pheasant Breast is practically raw. The ruby-red colour of the bird is so vibrant that it conveys an almost tactile sensation, while the oyster shifts the focus of taste, creating a beautiful match, with an undertone of iodine that only ends when the dish is finished. Co-starring is the perilla oil (shiso), which had a very strong, almost physical evocative effect: it took us back to Seoul in the blink of an eye. Teleportation: from Senigallia's Banchina di Levante to the Korean capital in the time of a bite.

Raw pigeon, turnip, liquorice, frozen cherries, burnt rosemary oil

Raw pigeon, turnip, liquorice, frozen cherries, burnt rosemary oil

The raw pigeon was undoubtedly the highlight of the whole meal. A velvety, sensual, intriguing course. The warmth of the liquorice and rosemary oil together with the frostiness of the frozen cherries and turnips have that difficult, balanced and unique concentration of flavours capable of giving each bite its own dignity; a dish worth the trip to Senigallia from Genoa and back home before nightfall.

Crazy lamb

Crazy lamb

Speaking of stepping outside the box, serving lamb's head (Agnello fuori di testa - off the menu) as a pre-dessert was an unexpected and surprising move that forced us to rewire our senses and, at the same time, captured the unpredictable uniqueness of Uliassi's character. No more certainties, just live intensely in the moment and enjoy the present without preconceptions.

In a restaurant like this, you don't come just to eat well, what you are looking for is the added value, the nuance, the signature, the character: and at Uliassi's, even before you sit down at the table, you realise that the experience will remain in your memory because the transport and sensitivity of the entire brigade, both in the dining room and in the kitchen, is as overwhelming as the heart that the chef puts into each of his dishes.

Slide to taste

Slide to taste

Marche-style pigeon

Marche-style pigeon

Mallard Royale

Mallard Royale

Potato ravioli with butter and sage, game finanziera and caramelised hazelnuts

Potato ravioli with butter and sage, game finanziera and caramelised hazelnuts

Tagliatelle, murici and venison morsel

Tagliatelle, murici and venison morsel

Potato fondant, duckling and black truffle

Potato fondant, duckling and black truffle

Pasta and tomato à la Hilde

Pasta and tomato à la Hilde

Hare tartare, sea urchins, juniper oil

Hare tartare, sea urchins, juniper oil

Lacquered goose

Lacquered goose

Cabossa sorbet, toasted almonds, mango and meringue

Cabossa sorbet, toasted almonds, mango and meringue

Like a cassata

Like a cassata

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Dall'Italia

Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose

by

Giorgio Minestrini

Smells are food and wine emotions: I smell everything, with pride, since 1983. When I'm not sitting at a table I'm a dad and an engineer

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