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The Italian chef Massimo Bottura opens his new restaurant, Ristorante Italia on May 27th inside Eataly in Istanbul. The new Italian fine dining restaurant will take some inspiration from the chef’s work at his Osteria Francescana restaurant in Italy - third on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List - but this is an entirely new proposal from Bottura with a unique menu, decor and setting that's completely different to the one offered at his Modena restaurant.
We caught up with the chef to find out more about his latest proposal and speak about what it’s like to open a restaurant in Istanbul. He has reworked over 100 classic Italian recipes as part of the project, with the objective of re-inventing classic cuisine using the contemporary knowledge he’s gained throughout his career.
Here’s what he had to say about it.
“I’m so thrilled to open the restaurant. First of all it is not Osteria Francesca, this is Ristorante Italia Istanbul by Massimo Bottura. Osteria is a container of ideas for me, where we build ideas, reflect, go conceptual…Ristorante Italia is a way to reflect about our past. For the last six months we rebuilt a 100 recipes from Pellegrino Artusi - the important book from the 19th century of Italian an researcher. From Artusi to Osteria Francescana, we look at our past, not in a nostalgic way but in a critical way - as I always say - bring the best from the past into the future.”
Dishes such as Mozzarella in Carrozza ( part of an eight plate antipasto all'Italiano), Osso Buco with risotto, Spaghetti Cetarese, Bollito Misto and Tiramisu - will all be brought to life with a contempary Italian identity seen across Bottura’s work.
“We came in Istanbul in the beginning of January to follow the whole restoration and we rebuilt this place with all the best of the best of Italy. We rebuilt thinking about ‘Come to Italy with Me’ and in Osteria it was very successful. Bringing everyone that was coming from all over the world to travel around Italy with flavours. In the same way we are rebuilding these recipes just to show that something like Ossobuco with risotto Milanese can be a perfect contemporary dish.
“When you eat an ossobuco do you really care to eat a meat that has already given all the flavour to the sauce? For me, no. That’s why we rebuilt ossobuco in a perfect way. What I did is put together these questions and reflections, took the extreme part of the meat and created a sauce with a lot of marrow. The meat from the sauce I put to the side because I don’t need it. On the other side, the centre part of the meat, I just sauté a little bit with celery, carrot, onion and wine, put it in a vacuum pack and cook it at a low temperate for 25-hours to preserve the quality of the meat.
"When the meat is ready and it’s melting on the palate, I remove the bone, I don’t care about the bone because the bone marrow is already in the sauce. I chop the meat and put it at on the bottom of the plate in a circle, then I cook the risotto in a perfect way at the time we are ready to serve, we put the risotto on top of the meat so you see the two certifications, one of the meat and one of the risotto, and then on the table we pour the sauce on top of the risotto. So you have the meat is perfectly cooked with all the property of the meat, the sauce that gives you the poetry of our past, with the marrow in the sauce and in the middle you have a crunchy risotto.”
Bottura says he has developed the “100 recipes to bring Italy into the future” and that, on top of importing great Italian products, the restaurant will also look to work with local products sourced in Turkey. He says his objective is to be as true to authentic flavours, not necessarily the recipes, and the spirit of the Italian kitchen: "good, healthy and ethical (buona, sana, etica)."
Here’s a sneak peak of some dishes and beautiful art work expected at the restaurant.