Dining in Italy: D’O**

D’O is the restaurant of chef Davide Oldani in the town of San Pietro all’Olmo, just outside of Milano. The restaurant does not only hold two regular Michelin stars, but also one green star for sustainability. There are three degustation menus: Armonia (8 courses for 140 euros), Molteplicità (175 euros), and Esattezza (5 courses for 105 euros). As this was my first time at the restaurant, I opted for the Esattezza (exactness), because it features the signature dishes of the chef. Wine pairing 75 euros for 4 glasses, which can be extended with dessert wines for 15 euros per glass.

The chef likes to design his own dishes, glasses, and flatware. The first amuse bouche was served on this special dish, designed to hold it with two hands so you can lick (!) the food off the plate. Very original and great tasting with crunchiness, porkiness, and freshness.

Another original idea was the candle of bees wax, that was actually lit to make the wax melt. I didn’t realise we were to be eating the wax, so I failed to take a photo of the burning candle. The wax is eaten with the fluffy bread that was served besides the licking plate. Although this was also very original, the flavor wasn’t that noteworthy.

The other amuses bouche were more conventional, but very tasty. Both contained cheese: one with blue cheese and the other with taleggio.

The first wine of the pairing was served before the final amuse bouche, as it was a good pairing with that. The wine pairing started with a glass of Dom Perignon 2012! This is the first time I’ve had a wine of this level included in a ‘regular’ wine pairing: excellent!

The final amuse bouche was remarkable, because it really lookes like a pebble. It was very hard to tell without touching it that it was in fact made of octopus! It was tasty with some fresh elements like lemon that went great with the Dom Perignon.

The first dish of the menu was the most famous signature dish of the chef: Grana Padano ‘hot and cold’ with caramellized onion. This dish is all about contrast between hot and cold, crispy and soft, sweet and salty. It includes grana ice cream, grana crumble, and of course caramelized onion. 10/10!

The next wine was a 2014 Riesling from Langhe. According to the sommelier this wine had some similarities with Riesling from Mosel, and I have to agree with him. It was complex, fragrant, and perfectly balanced. Not as acidic or as sweet as a Riesling from Mosel, but that it not necessarily a bad thing.

The Riesling was a good pairing with the primo piatto: risotto with various types of squash or pumpkin and apple mostarda. There was a ‘skin’ of pumpkin on top. The combination of pumpkin and mostarda is famous from the town of Mantova. This dish suffers from the same problem of almost all dishes with pumpkin: pumpkin doesn’t have a lot of flavor. For me a bit more or stronger mostarda would have helped. The rice was perfectly al dente though. 8/10

The wine for the secondo di pesce was a Pinot Noir from Alto Adige. Again a great wine served at its peak, perfectly balanced and complex, and a good pairing for the dish.

The secondo di pesce was monkfish, cooked sous vide, with fennel, and a mild yellow curry. This type of fusion with Thai elements seems to be popular in Italy at the moment, like it was in the Netherlands some years ago. The curry had great flavor, but I thought the monkfish was ever so slightly dry. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I would have preferred a lower temperature for cooking it sous vide. 8/10

Another example of a glass designed by the chef: the shape makes it easier to stick your nose deeper into the glass.

This ‘sforzato’ is made from dried Nebbiolo grapes in Valtellina. Sforzatos are often ‘blockbuster’ wines, but this one was elegant with wonderful aromas of Nebbiolo. It was like an excellent Barolo but without the harsh tannins, a good pairing for the dish because it went better with the creamy mustard sauce than a Barolo would have done.

The secondo di carne was veal fillet with veal sweetbread and a mustard and tarragon sauce, with braised napa cabbage. The veal was very tender and the sauce was delicious. Sweetbread is often served with a crispy outside for a nice contrast with the soft texture. Here some crunchiness was provided by some puffs, but the sweetbread was still unremarkable. 8/10

Moscato Rosa is a special red variety muscat from Alto Adige (known as black muscat in California) that smells of roses. This was an excellent rendition, very elegant.

It was served with bonet, a traditional dessert with chocolate and amaretti from Piemonte, and an almond sorbet. Both the bonet and sorbet were excellent and the bonet paired wonderfully with the Moscato Rosa. 10/10

As Christmas is nearing, it is the season for panettone and so it was available as an optional addition to the menu (12.50 euros).

Panettone is a difficult enriched bread to bake, but here it was excellent. Very fragrant and perfect texture.

The sommelier suggested this moscato from Molise with the petit fours, and it was another excellent wine and a good pairing with the nice petit fours.

It was a wonderful first experience at D’O. The food was excellent, with a lot of creativity, beautifully presented, and well prepared. It certainly made me curious about the other dishes of the chef. 9/10 for the food.

The wine was even better than the food. This is probably one of the best selections of wine I’ve ever had in a restaurant. All the wines were elegant, complex, balanced, and served at the right temperature and right maturity. And, and this is very rare in Italy, all of the pairings worked. Complimenti for the sommelier, 9.5/10 for the wine! The only reason this is not 10/10 is that I think even better pairings are possible, the type of pairings like the Moscato Rosa with Bonet where 1+1=3. The service was also good, especially by the sommelier.

I’ll be back!

4 thoughts on “Dining in Italy: D’O**

  1. Thank you so much for allowing us to ‘share’ your experience. I have been with you to many restaurants around the world by now . . . the feeling here is somehow ‘different’ and ‘special’ and I shall slowly scroll back and forth to imagine how I would feel in search of the ‘perfect’ Glad you included the wines served . . . Would have loved to taste the monkfish especially: have noted the Asian influences on European dishes for quite some years now and have not always seen the point . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sono davvero felice che ti sia rimasto un ricordo così piacevole della serata da D’O. A noi sono mancate un po’ le sue creazioni di cucina pop, ma magari le riprenderà. E se ci tornerai, fai sapere ;). A presto e grazie

    Liked by 1 person

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