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The anti-bourgeois kitchen, with a note of punk

Opened in the newly nicknamed district, NoLo (North of Loreto), on the eastern outskirts of central Milan, Manna has become the mouthpiece of revolutionary gourmet cooking.

Manna’s head chef, Matteo Fronduti, for those who don’t know, won Top Chef Italy, having had the chance on the show to unleash his great culinary technique, his rebellious personality and equally sharp mouth. The food at Manna is built upon contrasts between different elements, unexpected junctions, harmonious contrasts and rejection of any particular label.

I had the opportunity to enjoy a special evening at Manna thanks to Delizialy, a community of foodies that offers a new way to go out to dinner with exclusive dining experiences in these much loved restaurants. Once inside, you notice that the dining room is sparsely decorated, a mix of alluring retro details like the bar at the entrance, and the furniture inside. You see some strange elements like an overturned table hanging form the ceiling in the second room.

But the food is the star here. Created for us this evening by Chef Fronduiti was a menu titled ‘Milan l’é un Gran Milan’, a tribute to Milanese cooking. The menu starts with ‘Uovo al Cereghin Sbagliato’, an egg cooked at low temperature smothered in a fluffy potato cream, Grana Padano cheese and black truffle. This leads next to the Manna risotto, the star of the menu. Following that is the ‘Riassunto di Cassouela’, a casserole dish that is curiously minimal and bares little in common with the one that your grandmother used to make.

Fronduti creates a spectacle with strokes of color and culinary concepts that work to balance the flavors. There is reference to the traditional dishes, but they are reinvented distortions of our perception of what these classic dishes should be. To conclude we are served an apple tart which is so crisp and reminiscent of a tarte tatin.

Dinner at the end of the evening was an experience and an opportunity to rediscover. For those who enjoy cuisine that does not adhere to labels, this courageous menu is full of passion and daring, as well as research and attention to detail and quality materials. Manna is excellent value for money – something that is not easy to find in Milan.

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