Contraste is warming up

A preview of Matias Perdomo’s new restaurant in Milan, with new dishes and a few classics

27-08-2015
Matias Perdomo and Simon Press have worked togethe

Matias Perdomo and Simon Press have worked together many years in the kitchen of Pont De Ferr. Today, together with maître and third partner Thomas Piras, they’re ready to open their new restaurant Contraste on 1st September

A few days ago we illustrated the ideas livening up Matias Perdomo’s new project. The Uruguayan chef who, after many years (and a Michelin star) at Pont De Ferr, is ready to begin a new adventure called Contraste, in Via Meda 2, in Milan. And during our first visit Matias was so kind he invited us to one of the rehearsal dinners he’s organising in view of the opening, scheduled on 1st September.

So last night we ended up in the courtyard of this typically Milanese house, which will welcome its visitors at its small tables, for a cocktail or a glass of wine, before letting them sit in the large room, for dinner. The aim of Perdomo and his two fellow-travellers, Argentinian sous-chef Simon Press and Italian maître Thomas Piras is to start to talk with their guests right from this initial step, so as to understand from them what they would like, thus directing their choices in the kitchen. This in order to gradually remove the menu at Contraste, and reach a service that will be personalised depending on the wishes of whoever will sit at one of their tables.

The centrepiece is a luminous cloud, on which some amuse bouches are placed
The centrepiece is a luminous cloud, on which some amuse bouches are placed
For now, the formula they’ve designed to approach this goal is the Riflesso menu: there’s no indication of the courses, just a mirror. And there’s Thomas Piras who will have to interpret the inclinations and tastes of the clients and then communicate them to Perdomo and Press. Still, in order to look at one’s reflection in the menu at Contraste you need to wait for the official opening: last night, the menu was declared and was the same for all the friends invited to be the delighted guinea pigs in this new restaurant.

Yet most of what it will be like, at least initially, was already available: starting from the cloud illuminated by a blue light, designed and created by Thomas Piras’s brother. It is in the middle of each table and serves as a stage for the first amuse-bouches. The beginning is immediately very strong with playful and tasty pairings and textures.

Donut alla bolognese

Donut alla bolognese

Mozzarella thus becomes the crispy base on which to place paprika and raspberries, Amaranth, corn and avocado are served on a small wood spatula and become a mouthful with an immediate charm, the Sarda in saor is instead in the shape of an apple soon to become an explosion of aromas and scents in the mouth. The Acciuga ben carnosa arrives in an aluminium tin, with some cauliflower cream at the bottom. On top, an anchovy from Cantabria and a stripe of raw beef sirloin in the same size are delicately placed. Absolute simplicity, absolute pleasantness.

Once you enter the real culinary journey, the dishes arrive following an excellent rhythm, showing how the dining room (a crucial element in the Contraste project) is already running smoothly, despite the team is still missing a member. There were a few new dishes, like the Donut alla bolognese: a dish Perdomo invented for a dinner at the James Beard Foundation temporary restaurant in Milan and which he rightly presented again. The lasagne are re-invented and presented in the shape of a doughnut, and the result is extremely successful, and makes you feel as a child once again. The Turbot, pumpkin and chorizo is also delicious.

Cacciucco

Cacciucco

Some old “friends” for Pont De Ferr fans also arrive: Sashimi with ox fillet is a classic of Perdomo’s cuisine, just like the fantastic Tribute to Gualtiero Marchesi, small ravioli filled with concentrated rice with saffron. Or the mellow Caciucco, which Matias serves in a tomato on which he then pours a very intense fish soup.

As the chef had already told us, his cuisine starts again from where he stopped around seven months ago, after the consensual divorce from Maida Mercuri’s restaurant. This time, together with his partners, he takes the project under his total control, with a positive and tenacious ambition. Contraste, even before its official opening, is already a reality enriching the Milanese gastronomic scene in a substantial way.