“Your thigh bone’s connected to…” Milan actually. We’re talking authentic Ossobuco here. Not that tomato enriched dish that is a poor imitation of the real thing and, frankly speaking, an insult to the Cucina Milanese. At the Shangri La’s Italian restaurant, Peppino, they seem to know a thing or two about authenticity. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We haven’t even had our starter yet!
Sticking to the Milan theme (see footnote), my trencher-mate chose a Carpaccio of beef and I the pan fried foie gras. The Carpaccio was immaculately served with a classic, truffle oil, aceto balsamico and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. A mere forkful was enough to grasp the utter deliciousness of the dish. I might have had menu envy were it not for the perfectly cooked duck foie gras set before me. Firm on the outside, gloriously gelatinous at its centre, and wholly complimented by the rich duck jus, I know foie gras is not for everyone, but if you’re looking to try it, this is the place to start.
The main courses arrived (rather too quickly for my liking) and what a glorious sight to behold. My trencher-mate had chosen the Trance di Tonno with a lemon and olive oil dressing. The tuna was griddled and served with a robust chef’s salad. A forkful revealed a beautifully seared crust and a moist interior. My own dish was nothing short of peasant perfection, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Some of the world’s best dishes have humble origins, and this is no exception. With only cheap cuts of meat affordable in the past, the peasant had to perform miracles to make anything tasty, and this Ossobuco alla Milanese is a sure fire winner in my book. The slow-braised shank cuts were very tender, falling away from the bone into a rich sauce of white wine and veal stock. Served with a creamy risotto alla Milanese you’ll be hard pushed to find a better comfort food. The only downside to this dish was that it wasn’t served with the optional Gremolada, which, according to Italian food writer Anna del Conte, “is a most terrible oversight indeed!”
Dessert was a shared affair due largely to the large portions of the first two courses. We opted for a simple Pannacotta and a couple coffees, mine being of the Irish variety.
Our choice of wine for the repast was a sumptuous Barbera d’Asti chosen from what Peppino claims to be “…the city's finest wine cellar.” Add that to the food and expect to pay 1400RMB for a delightful dinner for two.