In the new modern district of Porta Nuova Varesine is the location for Michelin-starred Chef Andrea Berton’s latest venture, Berton. I have never seen the likes of such a beautifully designed, chic restaurant in Italy before. No expense was spared from the furnishings and the kitchen to the exquisite glass and tableware.
In Berton’s 27-year career he has garnered 4 Michelin stars in total. He has worked under Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte Carlo and was the executive chef at Gualtiero Marchesi‘s restaurant until 2005. He then opened Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala, that I visited about 10 years ago. He opened this restaurant in 2013 and received his first Michelin star that first year.
He offers two tasting menus at Berton, a broth menu at $135 Euros, or a creative tasting menu at $120 Euros. We went for the a la carte, which actually ended up being more expensive and more filling than we thought.
The room is modern and elegant, with well spread out tables that offer privacy. There is a glass wall between the kitchen and dining room that allows you to see the action unfold. There are large windows throughout offering lots of natural light. The fixtures are beautiful, as are the leather chairs and large round wooden tables. But for me, a design flaw was the downward beveled edges of the tables. My phone kept sliding off and I could have easily done the same to my glasses or dishes.
The service was superb and they were most helpful in describing the menu and the extensive wine list, which came on a tablet. The restaurant holds 50 people and there were 15 staff in the spotless kitchen to create our dinner. Each amuse bouche and course were beautifully presented. How unfortunate that we did not enjoy most of our meal. The food was overly salty (our risotto), fishy (my lobster and squid dim sum), and tasted underwhelming for the most part. To be fair, Chef Berton was not in the kitchen the night we dined there.
Where they did excel were the desserts. The deep chocolate soufflé served with a soft serve and fior di latte milk ice cream were highlights. We also enjoyed a dish that when you cracked open the chocolate shell the inside looked like an egg, complete with a yolk. We also loved the mojito intermezzo. We got to tour the kitchen after our meal and were presented with a liquid ball of pina colada by the chef de cuisine.
The meal was an extravagant ordeal that I don’t think I would repeat. Although the restaurant was fashionably chic it was a ho-hum experience, not a palette adventure.