A Weekend in Italy… Part Three

While staying at the Hotel Metropole we were invited to enjoy and review their new menu. This is the unofficial version…

Called Tra’Contemporary cuisine, the Met Restaurant has launched a gastronomic experience which gives diners the choice of a traditional menu or a contemporary interpretation. In addition, the hotel caters to visiting yachts providing a personal “Chef On Board” experience.
The pontoon at the Hotel Metropole

Developed by Oscar Cavellera, an expert food consultant and Marco Fallani, the incredibly knowledgable maitre’d who offered an in-depth explanation to the concept of Tra’Contemporary cuisine, we were encouraged to sample the tasting menu. It’s the perfect opportunity for two diners to compare and contrast the two cuisines side by side. So that’s just what we did.

An amuse bouche arrived first. Delicate crispy turbot served with a light cream sauce flavoured with black tea. It was the perfect bite sized start to an interesting meal.

The amuse bouche, turbot with black tea

For our first course, Letad was presented with a traditional casserole of prawns and vegetables on a brioche while I had a deconstructed version which consisted of carrot puree with pieces of lobster, prawn and fish. Italian caviar and ginger completed the favours. We decided traditional won that course. Round one to traditional.

Contemporary but dated presentation

Round two saw traditional ravioli filled with potato, cinnamon, ricotta and cocoa take on the deconstructed version. 

Traditional ravioli
The flavours harken back to the past where leftover spices were used from the bottom of the traders’ bags when they returned home to Venice. 

While the contemporary version wasn’t pretty, the gnocchi melted in the mouth, a light white fish combined with grapes and crunchy breadcrumbs combined perfectly and we agreed that contemporary had that course.

Deconstructed ravioli 

By the third course however things started to go a little bit wrong. 

The traditional version was a strange combination of fish including sardines and milk. It was unfortunately reminiscent of dog sick on polenta and while it tasted “interesting” we agreed the size and presentation let it down considerably. 
Dog sick on polenta
The contemporary version of the same course seemed completely unrecognizable and was not successful. Cod with beetroot and olives. It looked pretty but tasted pretty awful. That course was too hard to call. Both losers.
Cod and olives

By the fourth course things were back on track and the succulent Piemonte beef marinated for eight hours in a barolo wine served on mashed potato more than compensated for the previous course. It was, however, a bit reminiscent of Mum’s braised beef casserole in my opinion. 

The contemporary version was the same delicate beef served with a barolo reduction and minimal vegetables, it melted in the mouth and was absolutely sublime. We weren’t sure who won that course. Both winners.

Mum’s casserole
Piemonte beef cooked shabu style

And so the final course, dessert. Both good but by this point far too much food and wine had been consumed and it’s all a bit of a blur. I think contemporary won. We finished with a necessary coffee (at the insistence of Marco, the maitre d’) and petit fours.

Traditional cannoli
Contemporary Mille Feuille
No more… Petit fours

Staggering out of the dining room three hours later, we decided it would be a good idea to go to the island of Murano for a glass blowing demonstration. 

As glass is one of my passions, it seemed like the ideal opportunity and as luck would have it, the hotel provided a complimentary service, a taxi and tour for their guests and so, like lambs to the slaughter, off we went…

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