Food without memory is just digestion

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ristorante Casina Canamilla - Moderna e Classica en Naka-Meguro

There are places, Gentle Reader, when genius sneaks up quietly and taps one on the shoulder. It is almost always precocious, and inevitably surprising. Often, it falls like the gentle rain from a particular individual who seems to set the tone for an entire establishment. But rarely has Your Humble Correspondent found a venue which boasts a double dealing of culinary creativity like Risorante Casina Canamilla [Map].

Casina Canamilla is no humble farmhouse, and is in fact a remarkably effective collaboration between Chefs Konishi and Iwatsubo perched fashionably above the Meguro River between Asahi-bashi and Yadoyama-bashi (?宿山橋) a few short steps from Naka-Meguro station. [Note to self: This spot will be phenomenal in Spring with the cherry blossoms!]. It is well-appointed and very comfortable, and each aspect of the dining experience seemingly mapped out so that the only task for the guest is to engage in pleasant and witty conversation and sip slowly on an apertif of Italian birra.

Casina Canamilla takes extreme care to only use the freshest ingredients to create two menus - Classica being (obviously) classical Italian cuisine and Moderna as a much more creative and contemporary treatment. Canamilla marches its regional inspiration up and down the Italian peninsula in step with the seasons, so that summer sees Sicilian and Calabrian influences on the menu. Lombardy and Piedmonte obviously star in winter.

The service at Casina Canamilla is both professional and knowledgeable, and the wine list verily bulging at the seams with well-chosen selections from all over Italy. One has the feeling that the floor team and the kitchen team are always engaged in a graceful and entertaining minuet that delivers on customer expectations but never intrudes.

To professional gluttons like Your Humble Correspondent, there is really no choice. Moderna throws down a challenge that only the faintest of hearts would resist (see the menu reproduced below). Both chefs contribute to the game, and their contributions are helpfully marked on the menu. Technique and imagination are both on display in every course, although preparations such as the ricci di mare stand out as both stunning ideas and successful demonstrations of the culinary art. This is probably the most-rounded, interesting, and delicious meal put before YHC in the last three months.

This is a very good restaurant, Gentle Reader. In fact, this is a restaurant that is best kept a secret just between us. And good friends ... Visit only with friends and lovers, and take care that they don't talk out loud about it. The walls have ears ....

Pip! Pip!

Risorante Casina Canamilla [Map]: 2F Towa Building, 1-23-3 Aobaidai, Meguro-Ku; t: 03-3715-4040
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Price-Performance: 7/10. Total: 37/50 (3 Forks)

Menu Moderna Buri marinato con porro, acciughe, ed olive nero
Ricci di mare e purea di finocchio
Trenette con Granchio
Tagliolini di farina de segale al ragu di cervo
Arrosto di maiale di YAMAGATA con ANNO-IMO e funghi tronbetta
Mousse di gianduja e polenta croccante, gelato di pistacchio al profumo di Yuzu