Put a Dutch cook and the inspector Zenigata. In Via Solferino, in the heart of bohemian Milan. A combination of elements that on the surface seem to be polar opposites but for some reason in such harmony and that have given life to Zazà Ramen, a bistro-restaurant with a nordic soul but a Japanese heart.
Open the doors of number 48 and you’ll find yourself in a place that feels like northern Europe, with light and airy interiors and massive wood tables in light wood. But the newcomers perched on the chairs aren’t tasting salmon tarts but rather good Japanese ramen: the most popular Japanese soup made with naturally flavored broth, handmade spaghetti and a mix of meat and vegetables cooked to perfection. Yes, exactly, the very thing that the inspector Zenigata used to sip between chases and shootings with his friend/enemy of all time, Lupin III (who affectionately called him Zazà).
Brendan Becht, co-founder and ideator of Zazà Ramen concept – Dutch chef, and ex student of the Master Gualtiero Marchesi – supervises the kitchen while Kevin Ageishi, investment partner, represents Japan, key player of the menu. Ramen is the primary component – of course – listed in different variations: from the classic, with pork, vegetables and soft egg, to the vegetarian version with a good seven Japanese vegetables, soy and wholegrain spaghetti, or the one with fish including crustaceans and fennel.
The ingredients change depending on the season, but the flavor and the taste are authentic as ever just at the Japanese tradition requires. That is why adjacent to the restaurant is the work lab, which produces pounds and pounds of noodles every morning. But Zazà doesn’t just live off of ramen. The appetizers that are suggested to share with your dinner friends are: edamame with sea salt, cabbage salad with black sesame seeds, ravioli and meat skewers with yaki, onigiri rice balls. All accompanied by much appreciated artisan beers or by glasses of wine you can choose from the wine list, not extensive but with a good selection. The saké tasting must not be missed, proposed in the most traditional and ceremonious form: having the drink overflow from a small glass into a wooden cup. In this way the wood, symbol of strength and purity, releases its essence to the liquid.
This Zazà Ramen has been a pleasant and interesting discovery. A trendy-chic alternative to the super inflated Chinese-Japanese sushi and sashimi and a trip full of flavors on the discovery of another face of the Japanese cuisine.