Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Osteria Francescana @ Modena, Italy

Cuisine: Italian (modern)
Price: EUR145 per person (what we paid for)
Visited: 15 October 2014
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Value for money: 2/10
Services: 7/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Here is probably the most famous restaurant in the land of Azzurri, Osteria Francescana which is headed by Chef Massimo Bottura. The well-known fine dining destination does of course have price tag of many awards including 3 Michelin Stars and 3rd on The World's 50 Best Restaurants (2014). The place is located in the heart of old town of Modena, meaning if you are driving, do park your car just outside the old town and walk. You won't probably stand a chance to park near Osteria Francescana.

Osteria Francescana is just a small block of building painted in pink. In side, the venue is as well small. The interior is decorated in a more modern era style with some intrinsic (I would say) paints and photos hanging along each wall. I believe there are only 12 tables at this place which are divided into 4 separate rooms. Each room is like a box to me. Curtains are drawn. Light is kept at minimum but with kind of spot light on each table. I personally do not like the feeling of this place. It makes me feel like I am eating in a box.

Osteria Francescana @ Modena, Italy

commercial block like entrance

dinning room in a box

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef!!!!

an art piece of world map

Indeed, the style of food here is modern Italian. There were 2 choices of tasting menus when we were there: Tradition in Evolution (EUR170) which comprised of 8 courses and Sensations (EUR195) which comprised of 12 menus. Well we are not one big eaters and a la carte would do just fine for us. In addition, the wine list is somewhat extensive but they are at some high marked up. Any choice of wine by glass is priced at EUR15 per glass and the wine pairing with tasting menus is rather expensive which are at EUR110 and EUR140 respectively.

To begin the meal, bread of multi grains sourdough with olive oil from Tuscany was served. It was fluffy and soft. Delicious it was. Amuse Bouche was then followed. It was called Memory of Mozzarella Sandwich (8/10). I was personally satisfy with this amuse bouche. The light pink mozzarella was light and fluffy like it had been beaten. There was parmesan flavour as another dimension. The along side crackers were crunchy bread with parmesan and truffle. This was highly aromatic. After amuse bouche had been served, the bread was then changed to a set of bread stick, white sourdough, and salted brioche (in the shape of croissant). The white sourdough was tougher than the previous multi grains. Salted brioche was also a tough type. The bread stick was delicious with cracking texture and olive oil scent.

bread 1

bread 2

Amuse Bouche of Mozzarella

parmesan with truffle crisps

We began our actual meal with Ravioli of Foie Gras, Leek and Truffle (9/10) and The Rice and The Sea: Risotto Prepared in a Filtered Fish Soup (8/10). The ravioli was very well made. The stuffing of foie gras was splendid with smooth and creamy texture which was in contrast with al dente texture of ravioli. The riesling and veal jus sauce was wonderful too. However, we found that the fragrance and taste overwhelmed other aromas like truffle and leek. As for the risotto, it was well prepared. Below the rice, there was carpaccio of prawn. The smooth foam on top was garlic and herbs. This was one good risotto dish. Nevertheless, in case the smell of sea breeze and fishy scent, I would say, are something you dislike, this won't be the dish for you as they were really strong. To accompany the dish, I had a glass of Glocal Farewell 2011(90/10) which was full and with golden colour. It possesses spring forest aroma, bitter spice, gasoline, and pineapple palate.

Ravioli of Foie Gras, Leek and Truffle (EUR50)

Glocal Farewell 2011

The Rice and The Sea: Risotto Prepared in a filtered Fish Soup (EUR50)

As for the main, the first one was called Beautiful, Psychedelic, Spin-painted Veal, not Flame Grilled (9/10). A brilliant work with so tender pieces of sous vide tenderloin veal wrapped with aromatic herbs (the black ring covered veal). It was decorated artistically with sauces. The beauty part was the aroma perfume with each bite. In addition, the grated horseradish brought the overall picture to balance. To me, this was a delicious dish but somewhat difficult to understand. On the other hand, Suckling Pig with Crispy Skin and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena (10/10) was a tremendously delicious dish. The suckling pig was sous vide as well and almost melt in the mouth tenderness. It came with 50 years aged balsamic (if I was not mistaken) which was thick and flavourful. Fennel cream was supremely smooth and the side spinach was enjoyable. The cracking skins with burnt aroma added the final touch to the dish. Alongside the dish, Valturio Marche Rosso 2008 (91/100), which is a Sangiovese based red wine, did give a good partnership. It was brightly dark in ruby shade. Red cherry and mulberry were the primary scents. Tobacco, leather, spices, oak were then followed. Big body with fine grains of dry tannins.

Though each dish here at Osteria Francescana was presented well and taste wonderfully in artistic style of Massimo Bottura. We felt that the lack of charming and elegant atmosphere did bring the overall picture down a lot. It just did not compliment each other between the taste of mouth feel and sight satisfaction. Pricing wise, it was definitely expensive, both food and wine. We would say it has very poor value for money, especially the wine which was priced at EUR15 per glass for low range wine by glass, though a good recommendation by Andrea, the sommelier. Well, there are many more fabulous restaurants out there in the world that would give impressive satisfaction and we are doubt that Osteria Francescana is a place to return to.

Beautiful, Psychedelic, Spin-painted veal, not Flame Grilled (EUR80)

Suckling Pig with Crispy Skin and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena (EUR60)

Valturio Marche Rosso 2008

Osteria Francescana @ Modena, Italy
22 Via Stella
Modena 41121

Open Hours: daily for lunch (from 12:30pm) and dinner (from 08:00pm) except Saturday lunch and Sunday all day

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