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Milan is not just an apéritif: from brunch to CityLife to the curative drinks at Porta Romana

Picnics in the shadow of the skyscrapers, international cross-fertilizations and summer seafood dinners to go back to normal post-Covid19

In the summer season everyone usually prefers to eat and drink outdoors, all the more so this summer in 2020, after spending three months locked down at home due to the Covid19 pandemic. And so, many restaurants and bars have set up patios and terraces to guarantee possible customers moments of pleasant relaxation in front of a plate of good food or a fresh cocktail. Milan offers many possibilities.

One of the most original is Peck CityLife, which offers picnics for brunch, over the weekend, or for happy hour, from Tuesday through Sunday. The location guarantees a unique experience, set in the great park in front of the iconic architectural works by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Arata Isozaki. The restaurant offers six different formulas conceived for two people. It also leaves room for customizing the menu, with the possibility of selecting the dishes directly at the delicatessen counter. Of these, four are for brunch and two for an aperitif. In the first case, you can choose between “Gourmet Delights” with mondeghili meatballs, vegetable sticks with dip, green olives, a Peck roast beef sandwich, salad, tomato and mayonnaise, and raspberry pie; “Veggie Passion” which includes a vegetable quiche, DOP Parmesan cheese, a Greek salad, orange-flavoured plumcake, bread; “Weekend Gourmet” to savour a small sandwich with shrimp cocktail, a Caesar salad, apricot pie, a Peck tuna veal sandwich; “Taste of the Sea” which includes seafood rice, shrimp cocktail, sturgeon à la Catalana, fruit salad, bread. In the second case, the choice is between “Coldcuts and kisses”, a package that includes a series of sandwiches with Peck bresaola oil and pepper, ham and Peck vegetable salad, prosciutto and Buffalo mozzarella, mortadella and zola, vegetable sticks with dip, cubed melon and “Made in Peck”, again a series of sandwiches with shrimp cocktail, a tart with Peck vegetable salad, veal tonné, a tart with marinated salmon and dill, vegetable sticks with dip and green olives). The rattan basket also includes water, plates, cutlery and glasses, everything you need for a relaxing and tasty experience in nature.

For those who prefer a menu that looks to international culinary cross-fertilizations, look for Spica at Porta Venezia, a place founded jointly by Ritu Dalmia (who is Indian) and Viviana Varese (who is originally from Salerno but now based in Milan), who this year inaugurated an outdoor dehors and secret garden in the courtyard. At Spica the two women, who own other restaurants in Milan, bring the cuisines of the world to the table, in the name of conviviality and sharing. Four macro-geographical areas have inspired their gourmet selection: South-East Asian, Indian sub-continent, Europe and America. For each zone, Dalmia and Varese have chosen their favourite dishes, which they have picked up over many years of travel, and offer them in two different typologies: dishes to share and main dishes. Among them, the Asian Steamed bao stuffed with chicken cutlet and wasabi mayonnaise or crunchy stuffed eggplant with Malaysian sauce, the European Coca Maiorchina, a bread from the Balearic islands with anchovies, red peppers and potatoes, the American Quesadilla with a cream of beans and stuffing or cheese alone or cheese and pork, to name just a few. A new feature this year is the Sunday brunch, described in the menu as «a journey of flavours, colours, aromas in one meal». It offers a choice of apéritif accompanied by mini bao, dim sum, pakoras, keema pao, and by a choice of four main dishes, including Khao Suey (a spicy coconut soup with rice and vegetables).

Another ideal place to stop for lunch, an aperitif or dinner, is Particolare Milano, in the zone of Porta Romana. Here they inaugurated an outdoor space which will become a winter garden when the temperatures drop. An interesting concept is the curative drink list: the menu reads that « throughout history, alchemists, monks and philosophers have taught us the true art of distillation. The distillates extract the essence of the raw material to make it accessible to man to cure his spirit and his body». This approach is reflected in the names of the cocktails: The cure, The excited, The hypochondriac, The viper, The puritan, The sinner, and Achille. Each of them contains a particular medicinal herb selected by sommelier Luca Beretta. For dinner, the menu presents summertime dishes such as Shrimp tartare, avocado and carasau bread or Squid alla plancia, in black ink with peas, all prepared by chef Andrea Cutillo.


translation by Olga Barmine

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