There is a place in Monopoli where the sea can be admired, smelt and even tasted. You can even touch it, bringing it straight to your mouth with two fingers! This place is called Mare Crudo and during the summer you can find it at Lido Marzano, just outside the town of Monopoli, and it moves, from October onwards, in the historic center of the city. But we are convinced that even at the new, more urban location, you will not miss the taste of the seafood, raw, of course, because the idea of Angelo Zaccaria and Giampiero Muciaccia, supported in the kitchen by the effervescent chef Luigi Rana, a young but very experienced chef with good teachers behind, is to offer an international concept of oyster bar in “Puglia style”.
And the three of them are all convinced, in this era of perfect balance between taste and glam, of the validity of the formula that aims to offer a wide range of products and superior quality with regards to the ingredients, that are combined with a creative mind, not only as per the cooking, but also in the rooms of the restaurant, where everything, from furniture to objects on the table, is on sale.
The chef likes to use in his kitchen locally produced products, that he can find at his fingertips, whether it’s sea produce or meat and vegetables, mixing with mastery the food, the image and art. His dishes, skillfully composed, come to the table as abstract paintings rich in colors, scents and tastes. The masterpieces of Luigi, very elegant in shapes and in colors, follow one another on the table, from the pounded amberjack with essence of octopus water and Fiaschetto di Torre Guaceto tomato sauce, to raw redfish filleted and served on toasted brioche with reduction of Primitivo di Manduria and three prickly pears in three different shades.
Charming detail the “accessory” mini dish: the chef is passionate about fashion and likes to dress up his preparations, therefore he often accompanies his dishes with little touches, like the homage to Italy and Puglia consisting of tomato, cucumber and smoked buffalo mozzarella.
Also, a juicy fig with a morsel of smoked salmon is combined with stracciatella cheese perfumed by French oysters and a sauce made of summer pumpkin. Here the element of crispness is given by the tarallo crumbs of burnt wheat. Luigi, in fact, is always careful to mix not only perfumes and flavors, but also the different textures that are protagonists again in tartare cod with chunks of percoca, a local peach, zucchini flowers and squid ink served with a battered pumpkin flower on pickled anchovies. But the chef knows how to amaze his guess even with a simple emulsion of fresh ricotta and oil, strictly virgin olive oil by Frantoio D’Orazio, served directly from the spoon, but not before it has been colored and scented with sea urchins sauce: such a delicacy that we still don’t know whether it brought us to heaven or to hell, straight to the circle of the greed!
The explosion of colors then arrives on a small plate of capocollo di Martina Franca with lemon zest and the violet shrimps of Gallipoli on reduction of goat’s milk, Parmigiano Reggiano flakes 32 months old and Porto, one of the few exotic concessions of the chef together with 90% dark chocolate, which is the protagonist of the dessert, a delicious cheesecake on milk of burrata di Andria and red mulberry quenelles.
With the added sweetness of a slice of homemade apple pie that nicely sums up the atmosphere that you breathe from the beginning in the restaurant of Angelo and Giampiero, which in turn can be resumed into one, impossible to translate word: serendipity, which tells a sort of state of grace made of serenity, well-being, happiness, slowness .
We are confident that the same atmosphere will be maintained from October onwards in the new place in Monopoli’s historic center: we will test it and we’ll let you know!
Localita Porto Marzano – Monopoli (BA)
Info: +39 3931069940
(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)