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We already talked about Barba at the beginning of this summer. It is a quiet place between Repubblica and Centrale, a cadet son of the MAG family with a musical soul. Two things enchanted us at the time: the drink list, which was a jewel of creativity, and the light but refined aperitif, perfect for those looking for locations with a little soul and identity. And has plenty of both.
We came back there in the past days to see what novelties winter had brought and how Andrea and Lele, respectively head of the bar and of the kitchen, were doing. Needless to say, they were doing great. We arrived for the aperitif, the tables were almost all full and the atmosphere even more beautiful than the first time. Among soft lights, sophisticated playlists and the sleek clientele we managed to shut the door on the Milanese cold and finally relax a bit in the warmth of the venue.
The thing we like most about Barba is that, being a niche place, mixologists have their own space of expression and full creative freedom. According to the philosophy of the bar, each of us has a different palate with different perceptions, so the best thing to do is relate to the customers, understand their preferences and propose the most suitable drink to their tastes.
This flexibility and creativity impart to the Barba’s cocktails that aura of a unique, almost artisanal product that makes each drink special. Even the great classics of mixology, those we are all accustomed to, always receive a new twist, a personal touch, oriented towards a greater elegance, a reflection and research on what we are drinking. On the menu, always in the shape of a seven-inch vinyl, we have a nice list with the seven signature cocktails. But they represent only the tip of the iceberg compared to all that the counter can offer.
Two truly great cocktails: the Torino-Milano via Novara, which is a review of one of the historic Italian drinks, always made with Campari and Cinzano but with the extra bitter addiction of grapefruit juice and cocoa-flavored salt, really unforgettable; and another one, more summery, the Farmily Mule made with Farmily, the botanical spirit produced by the Mag family, that unites with the ginger beer and a float of Angostura Bitter. The drink we took, however, is an off-list (as well as an out of class): we asked for a revisited gin tonic and they brought us a treat where, to the classic ingredients, was added a smoky touch of Laphroaig and just two drops of absynthe.
But let’s get to the food. Two preliminary information: the Barba covers all meals, from breakfast to dinner through the aperitif and on its menu you will find a large majority of raw meat, fish and tartares as well as a decided prevalence of foods cooked in vacuum and low temperature, to better preserve all the flavors of the various dishes and give a unique tenderness to the meat. The aperitif is obviously the moment when the beauty of the Barba is at its peak. The drinks brought to the table and the small appetizers to match with each sip are the perfect setting for a bit of post-work conversation. Here the flexibility and versatility of the service continue to shine, with suggestions about the best combinations based on the drink you have chosen.
We left Barba to light a digestive cigarette feeling really satisfied. By the service and by the whole place, of course, but even more by the sense of freedom that this place gives us. This is not a bar where you can choose between defined options but a place of joy and creativity that never forgets its vocation for excellence. Without a doubt, Barba is one of our favorite places in the entire city.
Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Maio S.r.l. and promoted by Flawless Milano. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Flawless Milano possible.