Del Cambio is a fairly large restaurant in Turin, about an hour on a high speed train from Milan. There has been a restaurant in this building since the 1700s which has hosted the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Mozart and Maria Callas during its time. One side of the formal dining room is windows which look out to lovely buildings that at one time were the seat of government. According to a waiter, some government officials would dine and relax and only return to their job when summoned by a wave out the window across the street. The dining room behind us with the mural was the original room and where we sat was more of a covered porch area, but now that area is the formal one and a piano and paintings have made the other more casual.
One other dining area is where you enter and I think that’s where you were seated if you wanted their quick lunch. In the formal dining room they offer a 6 or 9 course surprise tasting as well as a la carte. The chef, Matteo Baronetto, was head chef at Cracco for around 20 years and you can see the overlap in style. It’s also another throwback where the women don’t get menus with prices. As we looked over the options we had an iced bowl of compressed watermelon and cantaloupe chunks (tasted great!) to snack on as well as vegetable and leaf fried chips and home made “black and white” bread and breadsticks.
The meal started with sea urchin filled with meat jus and lemon. The flavor of the urchin blended really nicely with the juices to make a visually interesting course also taste good.
Next was the salmon roe sandwich. The roe was perched a top salad greens and sandwiched between thin, very crisp pieces of bread cut into a leaf shape. It is hand food and it seemed hard to eat without making a mess and I’d call it okay.
The eggs had been marinated and mixed with anchovies and lemon which were then placed around the salad greens, which had pieces of meringue around it. There was something spicy in the ingredients, which all together produced a wonderful meld of flavors and textures.
The brulee was made with olive oil, no eggs or flour, and used squid for gelatin (if I understood correctly) . Sea snails added a delicious texture to the smooth custard. This was a winner!
Prawns were next and they were served with tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, cooked lettuce, and crispy basil. The shrimp were slightly cooked. Overall the flavor was nice but not great.
The codfish had been cooked sous vide style and then smoked with rosemary. It was served with a salad smoked in Lapsang tea. The fish was nicely cooked but the smoking gave is a slightly bitter taste whereas the smoking on the salad gave it a distinctive and strong taste, but one I didn’t appreciate.
The pappardelle were made with rice flour and presented as a take on “cacio e pepe”. It was very simple but also VERY good. One interesting note is that it’s served cold. Give this a yum.
The quail was roasted and served with olives and nervetti or nerve of veal. Rather than a nerve it’s actually a tendon and has the texture of a large piece of thick gelatin. It was fried and the crispy coating really added to it for a very savory edible. The quail was perfectly cooked and together they made an unusual but good course.
The ginduiotto were shaped like the classic Italian candy Gianduja, but had different filling. They were served with blackberry sorbet with a seedy disk underneath and a disk of sugar with coffee. They mixed together well for a fun series of tastes and textures. To finish the meal as we started you also had a tray of dried fruits, coated nuts and a tray with chocolate cream puffs, macaroons, and lemon circles which were tart, sweet and smooth.