28 Posti (MI)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
28 Posti (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Along Navigli, a small restaurant that, with great intelligence, combines anthropology, art and haute cuisine techniques in order to convey to every dish forgotten (or in some cases not yet discovered!) stories and favors of the Mediterranean area.

A truly unique concept in Italy, 28 Posti was born from the idea of Gaetano Berni and Silvia Orazi, owners of the Liveinslums Onlus Ong association, active in urban regeneration programs that start from the enhancement of local knowledge. In 2013 they decided to bring this vision also to the world of food and wine and in 2014 it was the young chef Marco Ambrosino who perfectly interpreted the project, making it a small masterpiece of both taste and social vision, today carried out by his trusted collaborator chef Franco Salvatore.

What they bring to the table of 28 Posti is not, in fact, a simple dish but a condensation of history and flavors that comes from an anthropological research on peoples, customs and traditions of the Mediterranean basin carried out with great scientific rigor together with a team of sociologists, anthropologists, environmental engineers.

28 Posti (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
28 Posti (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Our cuisine has no borders: what we assimilate as a rule should be understood as a starting point for learning new points of view. This is how we grow, in the heart as well as in the palate.

An example? The grilled oyster with oyster sauce, shallot, tapioca pearls, pasta wine hippocras and laurel oil that was inspired by ancient propitiatory rites against the evil eye common to various cultures, or the famous Spaghettini with fermented pasta water and black chickpea miso. For this recipe it took 5 years of research to perfect a particular fermentation technique applied to pasta, an ingredient usually considered “untouchable” by the Italian tradition and which, instead, has been transformed in a thousand “ethical and aesthetic” ways. Fermentation has, in fact, been used for centuries in Asia, let’s cite miso as an example, and it leads to the discovery of the joys of Umami, which is what is called the sixth, very yummy, taste.

Once again, history meets flavor, with a single fil rouge: the assonances between peoples that may seem distant today but which bring us back to ancient affinities to be rediscovered. Not surprisingly, Marco was born in Procida, a small island in the Gulf of Naples, a crossroads of a thousand legends and cultures, where he started cooking for fun. It was only the beginning of an initiatory journey that will lead him, among others, to Noma in Copenhagen where he understands that “nothing is what it seems”, but that, on the contrary, in the kitchen one can innovate one’s limits simply by expanding the mental and geographical horizons.

28 Posti (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Marco became passionate about the study of the history of his island, then of various peoples, combining old recipes with haute cuisine techniques, always, as a good Neapolitan, in the name of both fun and superstition. The dishes on the menu, in fact, change often, except for those that brought him luck such as the “Chiajozza”, based on mantis shrimp, sea urchins, maritime pine, cabbage, and the dessert made of ricotta, ash, pollen ice cream and bottarga, the first ones to have been successfully created for 28 Posti in 2014.

Even the original furnishings of the restaurant are the result of the same philosophy: the building works, the tables, the doors and the wardrobes, all created with recycled materials, were, in fact, made by the inmates of the Bollate Penitentiary Institute, benefiting from the Art. 21, and designed by the architect Francesco Faccin with the contribution of the master cabinetmaker Giuseppe Filippini.
In 2020 the restyling of 28 Posti saw the collaboration with the designer Cristina Celestino who added touches of great refinement such as the Giulio Romano terracotta boiserie from the Gonzaga collection by Fornace Brioni and the suspension lamps in micro-perforated sheet metal by the Spanish company Arturo Alvarez, once again in the name of recovering ancient craft traditions.

28 Posti (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Some of the objects part of the mise en place, such as the original tin candle holders, are produced by the Mathare slum and the Jua Kali iron workshop in Nairobi, both social regeneration projects successfully carried out by Liveinslums.

On the menu, dishes based on seasonal ingredients, such as artichoke with black truffle, grilled artichoke broth and the bluefish and cereals combo are paired with labels from small producers who work personally in the vineyard and in the cellar with natural and biodynamic methods.

In short, the Circle of Life brought to the table. Chapeau!

The Secret

On the walls of 28 Posti, there are photographs of Filippo Romano, an artist who often collaborates with Liveinslums. One of them features the portraits of the inmates who took part in the interior design of the restaurant, creating part of the furnishings inside the carpentry of the Bollate prison.

Useful Info

28 Posti
Via Corsico 1
20144 Milano
Tel. +39 02 8392377

Tasting menu: 5 courses 60 euro, 8 courses 80 euro, 10 courses 90 euro

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