[Italy: Alba] 3* Piazza Duomo - #15 on World's 50 Best Restaurants
Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (4/5)
While we were in Milan, we made a last minute decision to explore the Piedmont region and managed to get lunch reservations at 3 Michelin-starred Piazza Duomo (also #15 on World's 50 Best Restaurants) in Alba! The chef is Enrico Crippa who had worked for top chefs like Michel Bras and Ferran Adria while having spent time in Japan as well - all of which influences his cooking today. For his modern Italian cuisine, the chef likes to work with local ingredients (Piedmont is known for its excellent produce) and even has his own vegetable garden with over 100 plant varieties. When we arrived at the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised with the hot pink entrance and even more enthralled with the all-pink dining room with fresco by Neapolitan artist Francesco Clemente.
Our first course was the Anchovies, Green Sauce of parsley hidden in a cod fish sphere with yellow pepper sauce. The plating was gorgeous like a Chinese ink painting while the flavors were light and well-balanced.
The most impressive dish of our meal had got to be the Salad 21, 31, 41, 51... where we were given a piece of paper with all the ingredients included in the dish. Our salad arrived looking like a vegetables bouquet and we were told that for the winter season, we had more than 80 different ingredients in our salad. When we were finished with the salad, we were then instructed to drink the dashi broth with mandarin zest on the bottom of the dish. This salad reminded me of the ones I've had at Den and L'Effervescence in Tokyo, and while this salad trumps them all in terms of number of ingredients used, I think the version at Den is still the best in category as each vegetable is cooked differently, giving the salad more variety in textures and flavors.
The Cod and Pumpkin was another dish we enjoyed and the cod is apparently one of the chef's favorite ingredient to work with.
The Cardoon & Cardoon was sous-vide with milk and served with cardoon cream, anchovy and milk foam and hazelnut sauce. It was a nice dish while presenting the great produce that the region has to offer.
The Potato Cream and Lapsang Souchong with a quail egg in the middle was a bit too thick and too heavy for me while the smoked tea flavor didn't really come through.
For the Cotechino and Lentils, I enjoyed the sweet and rich broth more than the three spheres of sausage and lentils.
The Risotto Piedmonte was cooked in chestnut water, liver reduction and chocolate.
The Lamb and Camomile was nicely cooked but I wasn't sure if the cream of goat cheese went well with the meat.
The Hazelnut Monviso looked great at first but the layers between the cream were not crunchy as I thought they would be, but soft and rather dry so it was hard to finish the dessert sandwich.
Overall I thought the execution of the dishes at Piazza Duomo was fine but I just wasn’t in love with the food - I mean there wasn’t really a dish that would make me want to go back. Not that there's anything wrong with the food but sometimes there's just no chemistry - it's like meeting a great guy but you two just didn't hit it off.
Piazza Risorgimento, 4, 12051 Alba CN, Italy
Tel: +39 0173 366167http://www.piazzaduomoalba.it/en/
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