We here at Flawless Milano are more than a little guilty of uttering the words “it’s like taking a step back in time”. It’s a cliché we work hard to avoid using in restaurant reviewing. Given that the senses of taste and smell are so intricately tied to memory, it should be unsurprising that chefs from all around the world would seek to tap into nostalgia by digging up the flavours from our childhoods. There are certain recipes provide comfort, not only in their simplicity and robustness but in their familiarity. So saying that a restaurant or a dish takes you back in time can often be a bit redundant, but you’d struggle not to make the observation crossing the threshold of Risoelatte.
Located not far from the Duomo, this tiny restaurant is an inch-perfect recreation of 1960s Milan. In the foyer there’s an era-appropriate jukebox and a Zoppas refrigerator. The walls are painted mint green and are plastered with vintage advertisements. But this isn’t some theme diner from the set of Pulp Fiction. No, at Risoelatte it feels as though you’ve wandered into somebody’s house. Hanging off the the third floor’s balustrade is somebody’s laundry – including their underwear. In the bathroom, you’ll find a bathrobe, shower cap and hair rollers hanging off the back of the door.
You’ll find somebody’s shaving brush near the sink. One of the dining lounges looks exactly like the kitchen from your grandmother’s house with its formica benchtop complete with a set of scales and silverware on display in reaching distance, and a big bottle of Amaro Montenegro out of reach on top of the laminated plate cabinets. There’s an adorable dining nook for two, which in other setting would be urbane, but is now the most romantic spot in this already intensely intimate spot.
Risoelatte’s menu offers traditional Italian comfort food, including the famous Milanese dish, Riso e Latte, from whence the restaurant gets its name. As a main course it’s a type of risotto in bianco (aborio rice with parmigiano) but as a dessert it’s a delightful style of rice pudding. Pasta starters include childhood favourites like orrechiette with ragu, while the mains include cotoletta Milanese and risotto Milanese with osso bucco. There are even little michettas, the famous Milanese bread rolls, placed on each table if those items didn’t make you nostalgic enough.
I don’t want to say it’s like taking a step back in time… but forgive me, please… it’s like taking a step back in time.