The iconic venue of the Milan Gallery, the bar of all those in Milan-Milan, is renewed. With new cocktails, new furnishings, a new chef (Davide Oldani). And new prices
The Milanese of Milan-Milan all have one thing in common: the Camparino in the Galleria. The Sunday coffee after mass in the Duomo, refreshments for the graduation, the wedding party, the cocktail after work … all the Milanese who grew up in Milan after the war have at least one memory linked to Camparino. When Milan was smaller, it was at the center of everything, then for years it was a bit forgotten. But now the Gallery has been reborn, once again being the good saloon of the Milanese, and therefore the Camparino has also redone the look. November 14, 2019 reopens the doors, here's the news.
Because Camparino is a symbol of Milan
Campari is not from Milan. It was born in 1860 in Novara when Gaspare Campari invents a new drink with a bitter taste (with a secret recipe until today). But Novara is close to him and in 1867 he moved to Milan, right in the futuristic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II just completed. Here opens the Caffè Campari, home, shop and production – one of the first, so much so that his son Davide Campari becomes the first citizen to come to light in the Gallery. Business is booming, bitters are on trend throughout Italy and in 1904 the first production plant is opened in Sesto San Giovanni. In 1915 Davide Campari inaugurates the Camparino, the "little brother" of the Caffè Campari, equipped with an innovative system that guaranteed a continuous flow of sparkling water directly from the cellars, thus offering its numerous customers a Campari and soda that is always perfect and refrigerated. Campari Seltz is born, the signature cocktail of the restaurant, which is sipped among the wonderful furnishings and liberty mosaics made by famous Italian artists and artisans, such as the painter Angelo d’Andrea, author of the iconic mosaic symbol of the Bar di Passo, which can still be admired today. The Camparino soon became ainstitution for the Milanese: not only because here the aperitif was transformed into a ritual, but also because it was a meeting place for intellectuals and celebrities who, between one Campari and another, met to discuss politics and culture. Arrigo Boito, Tommaso Marinetti and other exponents of the Scapigliatura movement were frequent visitors to the restaurant. After the Second World War and the devastation that affected the Gallery, the Camparino was taken over by Guglielmo Miani, an Apulian tailor who arrived in Milan in 1922, and his family, who remained at the helm until 2018. Then, the restyling .
The new rooms, above and below
Restyling sounds better than renovation, but this is what happened last year. The Bar di Passo, on the ground floor, has remained unchanged thanks to the Fine Arts that protect the counter and mosaics. Everything is cleaner, brighter, elegantly timeless and you still feel at home. But when you go up or down the stairs, everything changes. The rooms on the first floor, used only for private events to date, have been completely revolutionized and now have the name of Sala Spiritello, curated by Studio Lissoni Associati and dominated by a large bar counter. The furnishings eliminated were not original, they were only fané, "in style", but originating in the eighties. Downstairs, instead of warehouses, there is a new one private room with large bar counter, only for private events and named after Gaspare Campari.
From croissants to Campari to cocktails
We start at breakfast, with the croissant La Lina: red croissant, shaded with Campari and made only with mother yeast. Then we continue for lunch, aperitif and dinner, both down in the outdoor area and overlooking the windows of the first floor. The drink list is signed by Tommaso Cecca, renowned bartender who interpreted Campari both with innovative drinks and leaving the historical classics like Shakerato and Campari Seltz on paper, which, together with Milan-Turin, Negroni, Negroni Sbagliato, Americano and Boulevardier, make up the classic drink card (€ 15), served with surprise chips, peanuts and olives. Among the twist on classic, the Beer Negroni by Tommaso Cecca. More elaborate cocktails and slightly higher prices upstairs, where the signature inspired by the Campari history and works of art reach € 20, the norm now in Milan in the large bars.
Davide Oldani and his "baked bread"
In the kitchen, they called Davide Oldani, who from Milan for the first time challenges Milan-Milan with a restaurant of his own. Only two of his signature entering piazza Duomo, the risotto Saffron and rice, the one cooked in salted water and decorated with a spiral of saffron, and the Campari and panettone risotto. For the rest, the card is dedicated to a new "project", called Pan'cot. The chef has created a donut of very light bread, made with whole wheat flour and leavened with sourdough, and used as a ring to enclose the bread. "A white sheet that can be combined with meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, opening up the transversality of Italian cuisine, salty and sweet", all served in the dish designed by the chef himself for the occasion and eaten with a spoon-fork has now become a trademark. They range from the idea of risotto with saffron, cacio e pepe, bruscit of veal or "club Sandwich" in a round version (around € 18 per dish). Two tasting menus for € 65, Milan and Gallery, both consisting of two Pan’cot and a Pan’cot dessert and two drinks. For the other dishes the recommended combination is always indicated, such as the Milanese saffron, Pan’cot with a saffron mixture (€ 18), a new signature that the Camparino dedicates to the city to combine with the classic Campari Seltz.
The old-new Milan
It is difficult to still breathe the charm of old Milan, it is very easy to feel the energy of the new one that was born after Expo2015. From Milanese of Milan-Milan I regret the dusty charm of the old Camparino, where Guglielmo drank "la medicina" (alcoholic of course) and at the bar he made himself a drink for a few euros. But it is only the sign of the times: I am getting old while Milan is a young city by definition and after having gentrificated the Navigli, Isola and Porta Venezia, now finally gentrifying Piazza Duomo.
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