This July will see the opening of RIGO’, a new restaurant from Gonzalo Luzarraga and Francesco Ferretti, chronicling Gonzalo’s culinary journey from his childhood in Piedmont to time spent garnering Michelin stars in some of the finest kitchens in Europe. Rooted in Italy, RIGO’ will combine modern fine dining with a respect for the season’s lesser used ingredients and unusual flavour pairings along with global influences reflecting a well travelled life, or as he describes it ‘a kitchen without borders’.
RIGO’, a word which in Piedmontese means a journey of rigorous research will draw from Gonzalo’s own experience of food; from the very first taste of his grandfather’s bread on the French boarders of Italy, to learning the art of foraging from Walter Eynard in Torino, and mastering classical French techniques in Alain Ducasse’s institutional Le Louis XV. ‘I remember my father, while fishing, giving me my first sea urchin as a child, and to this day it’s still a dish I see as an old friend; the recipe is much more than words on the page, it’s a moment in time, a personal narrative about me and the dish which has developed over the years. Travelling has allowed me to add chapters to that story, full of new ingredients and techniques from Russia and South America to Asia and beyond. RIGO’ will be a culmination of those experiences – my journey on a plate.’ Says Executive Chef Gonzalo.
To tell this story, the Signature Menu will feature six courses, beginning with snacks for the table and Gonzalo’s signature dish of Sea urchin with bagna caoda, quail egg and fermented milk. Tomato tart with Heart of Camone, stracciatella barese and verbena extract; Spaghettoni dei fiori; Plume of Cinta Senese with oyster, scallop coral and pastinaca; and Monkfish with lime selz, capers, courgette and cucumber will follow, before Porcini brûlé; chestnut cream with black sesame. An additional supplement of Bone marrow, Osietra caviar, porcini and bonito dashi is available at £15pp. Matching wines will also be available to pair with each dish.
RIGO’ A la Carte menu, four courses plus snacks, is an abridged version of this journey with highlights including Seven year aged risotto Acquerello with black garlic and sea anemone; Baccala gadus, burnt cauliflower, cime di rapa, basil and cereal extract; and Foresta nera, a rich dessert made with fermented Visciola cherries and flat peach. For afternoons, a more concise, informal lunch offering will feature two or three courses, with dishes from Heart of Fassona Carpaccio with beetroot, wasabi and anchovy powder, to Riso aquerello of mortadella, smoked paprika and bottarga.
Embodying the effervescent aesthetic of 1950s Milan, RIGO’ will be housed within a quintessential Victorian building, lit by generous windows and marked with gold lettering. The restaurant, set across three rooms, will be lined with an oak floor, punctuated by brass circles and illuminated with black and white marble columns, topped with brass lamps. An open kitchen at the heart of the restaurant will sit behind a terrazzo counter, while a small bar, best placed for a quiet drink before lunch, will be backed by midnight grey tiles and flanked by a handful of seats. Inspired by Piero Portaluppi’s iconic Villa Del Dosso, the second room will be lined with grey-blue diamond panelling, whilst the innermost room will be painted a vibrant mustard yellow, juxtaposed with white panelling, drawing reference from the architecture of post-war Italy. A walled garden, hung with festoon lights, will provide an intimate outdoor space for six guests.
At the bar, a selection of classics, made with a RIGO’ twist by Federico G Dadone, will include the Royal Aperol Spritz, with Champagne, vermouth and a bespoke pomegranate and basil tonic, and the Mentha Margherita of freshly juiced mint leaves a la minute, and a half and half rim because, as Federico puts it ‘you’ve heard the salt story, now try the sugar’. The cocktails, like dishes, will change with the seasons. Wines, whilst dominated by their native Italy, will also celebrate France, Spain and the New World, as well as less familiar grapes from emerging regions. A quiet word in Federico’s ear will produce the ‘Solitaire’ wine list, drawn up using only a handful of ‘lonely bottles’; one-off’s from trips to vineyards, bottled during the best vintages and often purchased with a handshake before being tucked away in the wine cellar until the perfect moment to pop the cork.