Four worlds that merge in a single microcosm: philosophy, style, drinks and food. This is Morgante Cocktail & Soul, in Vicolo Lavandai 2/A, on the Naviglio Grande, near Porta Ticinese’s dock. The alleyway takes its name from an old wash house, still there today, where many women, up to the 1950s, have washed the city’s laundry. It was once the location of an art gallery, usually attended by painters and artists. “As contemporary as it gets”, is the philosophy and the spirit that Gianfranco Morgante, an experienced architect with a passion for good food and good drinks, is trying to infuse his place with, making his guests feel right at home.
It looks like a small hidden haven steeped in green. Having stepped through an old wooden door, you will find yourselves in front of a delightful and small dehor, with a familiar smell of jasmine and comfortable alcoves where to enjoy yourselves away from the bustle of the city. The concept is that of a cocktail bar with a kitchen, where the customers can stay until late. Morgante Cocktail & Soul, according to Gianfranco, wants to be a meeting place of important events, whether they be exhibitions, concerts, meetings or showings linked to eating and drinking, everything presented in a simple manner and with quality ingredients.
The counter is the soul of the place, right in the centre, dictating the rhythm and acts of the scene with its seven stools. The background features a small room enriched with works from artists who periodically visit the bar. The furniture is extremely classy and modern, with warm lights at night, resulting in a très chic touch when the blackness of the tables meets the coloured velvet of the seats. “Essential, tailored, well done” are the three pillars describing the drinks proposed by Morgante Cocktail & Soul. The talent of Massimo Stronati and Danilo Pentivolte cares for the counter. The bar boasts a collection of more than 150 notable labels. For Massimo, everything revolves around the guests, and their wishes have to become the fundamental ingredients for a specifically tailored cocktail, while a younger Danilo bases his art off experimentation, due to his foreign experiences.
Among the most interesting drinks we advise: Tamarind and Tonic, a gin tonic with Mediterranean flavours, the Alleyway’s Gin Tonic and the Billy Elliot, a whisky based drink suitable for any time.
All this accompanied by a menu featuring several sections: vegetarian, meat and fish, a mix of dishes from the tradition, and some more international ones. A parmigiana and a classic Milan risotto garnished with crispy veal go together with international dishes like pastrami, marinated mackerel or Galician octopus. The menu also offers a weekly updated Japanese section. Chefs and bartenders plan proper tastings to discover a new kind of alcoholic drink, from whisky to rum, or gin, originally paired with surprising dishes.
I wasn’t alone on the evening I decided to visit Morgante Cocktail & Soul, and a young girl with a beautiful voice was singing “Is This Love”…“I wanna love you, and treat you right. I wanna love you, every day and every night. We will be together, with a roof right over our heads.”