Visited: May 2023
Rating: Two Michelin Macarons
I could combine a trip to a vintage car event in northern Italy with a visit to a fine dining restaurant. My choice was the restaurant seta in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the city center of Milan. Leaving the highway, taking exit Cormano I was lucky enough to find a place in the parking garage Comasina, which is located directly at the M3 metro station of the same name. The M3 took me then to the station Montenapoleone. The hotel is only a few footsteps away from there.
A rainy day after 20 consecutive rainy days in northern Italy prevented taking lunch in the nice courtyard. Instead, I was placed at a window in the indoor area with views into that courtyard and the kitchen with chef’s table on the opposite side.
The restaurant offers three different menus: seta’s way, which contains the classics and signatures of the chef, here and now, a seasonal menu, and blue fish, having fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean Sea as main ingredients. A la carte with minimum of two courses is also possible. I decided for seta’s way but exchanged the dessert with liquorice, which is different from my favorites against the pineapple one from the menu here and now.
It started with snacks.
These were diversified snacks of different tastes and textures. All were finished in an excellent way. I especially noted down the eggplant with a very light and mild-tasting gorgonzola foam, which left room for the eggplant. The thyme grappa composition could excite me as well as the quail egg that played with crispy structures on the outside and a creamy core.
White wine was also already in the glass: 2013 Vorberg Pinot Bianco Cantina Terlan from the magnum bottle paired well with the first few courses.
I liked the seaweed butter very much. It reminded me of tastes and smells of the sea.
The kitchen greeted a last time with this very good composition. The liquid inside of burrata (=stracciatella) was combined with a mint ice cream and covered by a black jelly membrane. A red sauce, I do not remember what it was, crisp fresh small bean halves, and fleur de sel completed this composition.
The first course presented two poached oysters of impeccable quality on a slightly acidic potato puree, stripes of friggitelli peppers on top, and a wonderful Champagne sauce. The violet chip with coral textures was a nice eye-catcher.
On a bed of zabaglione, which was not sweet and had barely any citrus aromas were two pieces of perfectly roasted blue lobster. In between was a potato compound and a brown jus. Matcha tea powder was spread all over and a piece of very thin, crispy caramelized leek acted more as decoration than as a taste addition. Very good.
I had some reservations when I read about this course on the menu. Therefore, I asked if this tends in the rather sweet direction. Service answered it was not and that the raspberry even adds some acidity which was then really the case. The combination of a dark green cream made of herbs with raspberry powder worked very well. The raspberry taste was very clear. This was again a very good course.
Al dente cooked spaghetti mixed with a brownish sauce that reminded me of the spaghetti I had in Ristorante La Cru beginning of April were surrounded by an almost pink cream of pickled radish. Mixed into the spaghetti were also short segments of anemone arms, the taste of which strange to say reminded me of liver. On top, a spoonful of red prawn tartare was placed after black lime powder was gritted onto the spaghetti. A tasty, well-thought combination of some not- so-common ingredients.
The picture hides the piece of sautéed foie gras underneath on which the BBQ eel with red wine glaze was placed. A fantastic miso, seaweed, herb foam, and some herbs on top completed this surf and turf combination. The two rather fatty main actors did not prevent that this course was my favorite of the whole meal. My question if I could have another portion was unfortunately ignored…
A very good intermediate little plate, which did not have the purpose of neutralization but showed high-end mackerel quality and a tasty sea urchin ice cream.
Very tender chicken breast covered by a light mousse which reminded me of the hollandaise I had in Memories, roasted spring onion, and a classic chicken broth-based lemon raisin jus made this a very good main course. That the chicken was fig-fed had for me no effect on the taste. Star for me was the millefeuille on the second plate. I removed the three leaves of redvein for the photo, which in my opinion anyway could have been omitted. In between the puff pastry were a liver cream and a creamy combination of other compounds of the chicken giblet.
Wow! This was something. Seldom one gets a better pre-dessert. Especially the sorbet tasted very well with its intense pepper taste and the right adjustment of sweetness. The coulis I could not identify by taste. The star anise distracts a little bit from the plum.
The barbequed pineapple caramelized and cooked to an almost fleshy structure was placed on a disk of barley cream and two liquid compounds were added at the table: a pineapple jus and amlou, an originally thick brown paste coming from Marrakesh normally consisting of almonds, argan oil, and honey. The almonds were replaced here with pecan nuts. Coffee powder and a pineapple chip completed this plate. A curry banana mousse and a Buddha’s hand ice cream was served on a second plate. Buddha’s hand is a variety of a citron where the segmented fruit looks like it has fingers. I liked this dessert very much.
All were very good and demonstrated the capabilities of the in-house pastry team again. I especially liked the succulent baba.
The possibility for a digestive (which I did not take) was combined with a choice from four different chocolates. I decided on white chocolate with pistachio and cranberry and milk chocolate with hazelnuts.
Very good-looking food that also tasted very well was served with this lunch menu. Well-thought combinations, some rather uncommon ingredients, other high-quality ingredients, and the right preparation contributed to a memorable lunch.
Service was professional and friendly, and I had a couple of chats with the staff during my three and a half hours in the restaurant.
Website: Seta, Mandarin Oriental, Milan