Metti una sera a cena // Berlin
Cooking is an art, and justifiably even more so when two visual artists who are furthermore Italians put on an apron. The artists in question are Chiara and Marco, and the supper club Metti una sera a cena in Berlin their culinary piece of art. The couple did move from Venice to Berlin in early 2010 after they had visited the city for a holiday and had fallen deeply in love with it. Already a few months later they opened their home in Prenzlauer Berg for dinner guests, well before many other guerrilla restaurants. Some good friendships did arise from those early days and are lasting until today.
Chiara and Marco are fully committed to their home country’s cuisine with pasta, risotto, carpaccio, insalata, panna cotta and gelato – so far all sounding very familiar. But when browsing through some menus from the past, it quickly becomes evident that copying standards is not their thing. Metti una sera a cena takes a more creative approach with some fairly experimental elements regarding tastes and combinations, and even adventurous eaters are likely to make new discoveries: Ever had a blueberry risotto with chives, a meat carpaccio with pink sauce and liquorice powder, or homemade onion and olive oil ice cream with smoked swordfish? The flavours are always well dosed and finely balanced of course, but still: A restaurant with this type of dishes on the menu would probably be belly up within less than 4 weeks. Supper clubs by contrast are allowed if not expected to surprise, and Metti una sera a cena is known and highly acclaimed for providing such playful new experiences.
Playful yes, but never in the sense of incorporating the latest global food trends, this is of no interest to Marco and Chiara. Right now, they are into interpretations of Italy’s culinary heritage, no less creative and surprising for sure. Their focus is strictly on classics, and on keeping the identity of ingredients as well as the preparation processes recognizable, basta! Basta? No! Before anything else, cooking is an act of love for them, and that literally makes them walk the extra mile. The food they serve is 100% homemade, they chose their products with a lot of care – the basics like dietary products, eggs, flour etc. are always organic – and import many ingredients directly from Italy. And last but not least, the dishes at Metti una sera a cena are compositions thought through in every detail, pure alchemy of colours, taste, smells and emotions. Colours in particular play an important role, eye-catchers like some bright green herbs or pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the plate, deep red tomatoes or a single violet flower petal sitting on top.
Before moving to Berlin, Chiara and Marco had by the way already tried to establish their supper club in Venice. But funny enough, whilst we tend to think of Italians as the most social people in the world, always outgoing and open to make new friends, they found their compatriots to be rather shy and not into this kind of experience. Still today, not even Rome and Milan seem to have a vibrant underground restaurant scene.
Luckily, Chiara and Marco and with them Metti una sera a cena found a new home in Berlin where they host a usually pretty international group of guests. You are in for a suggested donation of €45 for a 5 course menu including aperitif, water, and coffee or tea. Regarding wine, guests can either bring their own (no corkage fee) or go for the chefs’ suggestion at €15 per bottle. Dinners are organized twice per month with room for up to 12 guests. The seasonal menus usually contain fish and sometimes also meat, but vegetarian options are made available as long as the hosts get notified in advance. For more information, just turn to the Metti una sera a cena website or like them on Facebook.
And finally: If you love ice cream and want to try something really unusual, here is Chiara’s and Marco’s recipe for Onion & Olive Oil Ice Cream.