Having checked out the location of Piazza Duomo the day before we knew exactly where we were going. When we arrive there is someone already waiting and he rings the bell, offers to let us in, however, we wanted to take a quick photo first. Upon ringing the doorbell to get in we’re warmly greeted and instructed to go up one flight of stairs are quickly welcomed to our table. As we’re taken to our table everyone says hello and it feels incredibly welcoming.
We’re offered an aperitif to start and I notice this is the first top 50 that doesn’t have Zalto glasses. Interestingly for our first glass of wine, we’re not offered to taste it first! Our options for lunch are the more creative degustation, the standard degustation, the standard degustation plus two dishes selected by the chef or a la carte. Having studied the menu extensively and a massive craving for gnocchi we went a la carte.
First up are our aperitifs to go with the wine we’d selected. To begin we have a salted creme caramel with miso reduction, corn taco, almond amaretto with umeboshi, chickpeas and buckwheat’s crackers. The salted creme caramel is a savoury Asian take on a creme caramel, deliciously salty and savoury in a sweet looking desert. The corn taco is more crispy than Mexico and reminded the fiancé of almost a Dorito like flavour. The almond amaretto reminded us both of our childhoods and was like a candy you’d find at your grandmother’s house, but in a savoury flavour. At this point, we’re both feeling pretty overwhelmed, in an excited, amazed and delighted way.
I’m even more excited when the next aperitif shows up as it’s a green and black olive, I love olives. Only to be told that they’re fake and the black one is veal tartare and the green one is langoustine!! The black olive melts in your mouth and delights your senses. The green dissolves in your mouth and again amazes the taste buds. The depth of flavour is insane and actually hard to put into words!
Our final aperitif is a potato and anchovy crisp that has flavours reminding me of the crab tostada at Quintonil but with an Italian twist. This is paired with a cannolo, ricotta cheese and mackerel, the crunchy taste of olive followed by the cold ricotta was a delightful way to finish our aperitif, or so we thought. At this point, they offered to write down the menu for us which we were delighted about!
They’re moving a little too fast with their aperitifs for us to even choose the wine or what we wanted with the menu. The restaurant is also not too busy at this point. Then comes out yet another aperitif, swiss chard sponge with a tuna sauce. This is like a lamington but savoury, soft and creamy and surprising.
Then another one! This is actually the final aperitif – foie gras and gingerino foam. Fiancee tastes the top and isn’t sure and then I try it going a little deeper in the small bowl. I tell him to dig and we’re both astoundingly surprised. I promised I wouldn’t swear in the blog but it was that good! It was like popping candy but not, just a huge range of flavours that were sensational. “Party in my mouth has nothing on this!”.
When our bottle of wine comes out the sommelier pours it from glass to glass to glass (3 glasses in total) aerating the wine. Adding a bit of theatrics to the experience. Out comes our bread and we have a hazelnut roll, wheat bread and white bread. The bread was good but nothing on some of the other bakeries in Alba. Also, we noticed later it wasn’t served with any butter or olive oil.
Salad 21…31…41…51. We’d heard about this dish from a number of sources and were told that it was the must-have dish at Piazza Duomo. The numbers represent the number of elements on the dish, they’re almost up to 61! You start with the flowers on the top and work your down the layers. There’s a different flavour in every mouthful, it starts off quite peppery and almost feels underseasoned, then as you dive into the salad the flavours become more intense and exciting. With the nori and dashi broth, it was the perfect way to bring everything together. So Asian but fresh and European at the same time. It takes a very special chef to balance so many flavours in a bowl this small. It’s incredibly cleverly layered with so much going on but not confusing or overbearing. Standout dish.
Rabbit and hazelnut cream is next, one of the plates is all new cooking techniques with sous vide and the other plate had older cooking techniques and was pan roasted. The honey, the hazelnuts, that sauce! You don’t need theatre at Piazza Duomo because the plating and flavour sensations speak for themselves. The sauces are so perfect that I could drink them. This is fiancees favourite dish by far.
Fassona veal tartare is served at the same time and is nice and soft compared to the rabbit. It could have done with a little more cream in the middle however again was an incredible dish that had us smiling. The bathrooms at Piazza Duomo are basic and I notice they don’t have hand lotion, not a big deal, however, something you begin to expect at World Top 50 restaurants.
Up next is the potatoes cream, lapsang souchong. There’s a quail egg inside the cream with a Chinese smoke inside the bowl, I’m told to break the egg and mix it all together. It’s rich and potatoey while being soft and velvety at the same time. Not as bazinga as they other dishes but just as delightful and next time I’m sick that’s what I want to have!
Potatoes gnocchi with ricotta cheese. I am transported and have gone to heaven with this dish. The gnocchi is filled with ricotta. I’ve never seen stuffed gnocchi before. There are lemon scents in the butter sauce and sage and it’s just perfect. This is served at the same time as the prawn carbonara, forget what you know about carbonara. It was house-made penne pasta with prawns. Simple yet delicious, perfectly cooked pasta and prawns. That gnocchi though!
Seabass and caviar is our next course, nothing super special about it however just a nice fish dish done well. The skin could have been a little crispier however that’s just me being super critical. This is served at the same time as the suckling pig, tomato sauce and mustard. It was a 3 Michelin star pork dish by every definition of the stars. The onion is amazing!
For dessert, we begin with the sorrel sorbet. This one was a little too sour for both our palates and may have been compared to a grass-like flavour by us both. This is with the chocolate bonet which is a traditional piedmont dish. It’s like a chocolate milk jelly!
Then come all of the surprise dishes!! So many little sweet delights. A mixture of amazing and just a nice touch. The milk latte is like an adult milkshake, alcoholic, milky and delicious. A wonderful way to finish an excellent meal.
Overall we’re at Piazza Duomo for around three and half hours, an entertaining and delicious afternoon. It was perfectly spaced too, except for the start. Would I go again? Without a doubt. My favourite restaurant so far. I’d happily fly around the world just for that gnocchi.
My World Top 50 Ranking so far:
- Piazza Duomo
- Quintonil (very close second)
I’ll also compile my perfect menu once we get a little further on this journey. Next up The Ledbury! If you’ve got any questions chuck them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!