Dersett (Milan, Italy)

The first day of our Italian trip was spent in Milan, where we arrived early in the morning and spent our whole day. In the short window of time we had in the city, the team at Dersett were generous enough to let my mum and I visit for a complimentary meal during their dinner service.

The restaurant is located just a few minutes from the Naviglio Grande and Porta Ticinese – two must sees when visiting Milan. Public transport links to the area are good, with several trams stopping at the Porta Ticinese and connecting the area with the Duomo and Stazione Centrale. The restaurant itself is on a main road and was really easy for us to find.

Dersett has some of the most beautiful interiors I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. It was just like being in someone’s dining room – albeit a very luxurious dining room. The style reminded me of The Hamptons, with a lot of white and sanded wood framing the room. Around there were interesting little articles and antiques, and a beautiful presentation of wine on the wall furthest from where we were sitting. The use of white and creams inside made the space appear much larger than it was and gave such a sense of homeliness and cleanliness – it really was a pleasure to eat in.

When we were talked through the menu it was suggested that we choose one item from the left-hand side of the menu and one from the right, however the latter half of the left side does include many main dishes. First course dishes cost between €9 and €15 while those on the second course cost between €14 and €19. For one of the top restaurants in Milan, I considered these prices reasonable. The dessert menu changes from day to day, but on the day we visited they included typical Italian desserts like tiramisu and cheesecake. Along with our

  1. Artichokes and Grana Cheese (€12) – This was my first time trying artichokes, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this dish. It came with three small savoury tarts filled with a molten Grana Padano cheese with specks of artichoke throughout, topped with larger chunks of artichoke and a baked lattice of the same cheese. The taste of the artichoke was earthy and pungent, but for those who are unsure I would suggest you give this dish a try. The strength of the cheese is equally a strong taste as the vegetable, but the pastry ties the dish together to make is a lot less overwhelming. My favourite part of the dish was the baked Grana on top of the pastry, which was not only beautiful in terms of presentation but tasted wonderful.
  2. Cacio & Pepe (€9) – This dish comes with six spherical croquettes stuffed with cheese and pepper. If you have a demurer palate or are not keen on exploring new foods, then I think this would be a dish for you. The cheese was not overpowering, and neither were the peppers used in the dish. If you’re opting for a lighter second course then you could manage this dish on your own, otherwise it is recommended on the restaurant’s menu that you share with one other person.
  3. Asparagus and Rice (€14) – This risotto dish included locally sourced Carnaroli rice in a creamy sauce with asparagus, saffron and fresh aromatic herbs. The asparagus was chopped finely, and were boiled well enough to not have too much of a crunch anymore. The addition of the saffron brought a slightly floral flavour to the dish, but a very understated one. The ingredient also added a sense of luxury to the dish, which I thought was a really nice touch on behalf of the curator of the menu.
  4. Venetian-Style Salted Codfish (€18) – I love seafood, so the opportunity to try a food I love cooked in a traditional Italian way really appealed to me. This cod is coated in breadcrumbs and topped with chunky sea salt and served over a sauce of datterini tomatoes. There were a few Storo polenta squares to add some substance to the dish, which also helped me use up most of the incredible fresh sauce. There were three large chunks of cod, a generous serving considering the price of the dish. It was cooked well; flaky and succulent and the breadcrumbs were golden. The sauce was fresh, sweet and slightly zesty which complemented the fish so well, with just the right amount served as not to make the breadcrumbs soggy.

We opted not to have a dessert because the dishes were filling enough for us, but we seen others enjoying them in the restaurants and they looked and smelled incredible.

Although Dersett may not be what you expect for the menu of an Italian restaurant, it really shows a different side to the cuisine of the country. The flavour that is so synonymous with Italian food was still there, but presented in a completely new way. I think if you’re looking to explore the cuisine of the country and want to be ensured quality in both the ingredients and presentation of them, Dersett should definitely be on your list of restaurants to visit in the city.

Thanks so much again to the team and for introducing me to new Italian dishes that I will bring back to Scotland to cook in my own home.

Dersett.

Viale Gian Galeazzo, 17, 20136 Milano MI.

02 8408 4787

www.dersettmilano.it

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