Røst is a brand new restaurant that brings to Milan the concept of circular, simple and authentic cuisine, with the rediscovery of traditional Italian dishes: poor meat cuts, forgotten foods and peculiar vegetables. The restaurant is located in the heart of the Milanese new food district of Porta Venezia neighborhood.
An offer based on essentiality, simplicity, truth. These are the key words of Røst food and wine proposal that Vudafieri-Saverino Partners has translated in the interior design. The Milan and Shanghai based architecture studio, with consolidated expertise in creating new restaurant concepts, has reflected brand DNA and values into space, colour and surface solutions.
Developed over 65 square metres, the restaurant is conceived as a cozy place, between tradition and modernity, just like the kitchen proposed by cook Lucia Gaspari.
The environment is simple, without frills or artifice. The aim is to focus on the guests relationship with food: the atmosphere accompanies the gastronomic experience with discretion and sobriety. The tones are warm, dominated by "Marsala" red, a colour that harks back to the fundamental relationship with wine and land. The use of material is reduced to just a few basic types (lime, brass, oak) as if they were the ingredients of a recipe on the menu.
The restaurant, overlooking the street with two windows, is on the ground floor of a building in old Milan, in a location that was for years an auto parts shop.
The space consists of two rooms: the main one, which gravitates around the bar counter, and a smaller one, overlooking the open kitchen. With their lime frescoes, the walls are characterized by two shades, the darker of which creates a sort of irregular boiserie. The same colours are used in the ceramic cladding of the kitchen and in the adjacent room. The décor comes in Milanese style: noble materials like marble, brass, velvet and leather unostentatiously characterise the setting, in contrast with the lime walls and the floor.
At the entrance, a wall displays the restaurant’s major players: it is the Wall of Fame, 16 ceramic plates, each representing a producer, whose space arrangement draws the ø of Røst.
On the opposite side, the bar counter stands out for its long solid oak top and the vertical covering, made up of natural brass profiles of different section.
Wood and brass are developing materials, which change with use and the passage of time, in a constant path that clearly represents Røst values. A large suspended brass and glass bottle rack floats above the bar.
The continuity with the past and the relationship with memories, values that are dear to Vudafieri-Saverino Partners, can be seen in the decision to preserve the original seminato in porphyry floor. The chandelier in the smaller room, designed by Tiziano Vudafieri, assembling headlamps of cars of different ages, is a tribute to the history of the car parts shop that previously occupied the space.
Bright and intimate at the same time, Røst gives the feel of somewhere that is very much lived in, as if it had always been part of the neighbourhood. The restaurant tells its story also through the original graphics, designed by the creative agency 150UP. A visual identity that reworks the elements of culinary tradition and the faces of the producers that underlie Røst's gastronomic culture.
Terrazzo by Roberto Coda Zabetta
Terrazzo, a work by the artist Roberto Coda Zabetta reproduced in a play of mirrors and infinite reflections, is to be found behind the bar counter, in the blind wall hidden from public view. A “curtain of colours” that represents an architectural adaptation and cites other works by the artist, bringing with it the signs of other places and meanings.
In the words of Zabetta: “A work within a work. I like to think that the great painting I did for Naples may have other lives. Cut, sew and go...”
Røst is a project based on the passion, energy and expertise of three young people whose total ages add up to 92: the food sector entrepreneur Hippolyte Vautrin; the maitre Enrico Murru; the cook Lucia Gaspari, with her vision of sustainable cooking.
Concept and philosophy
Røst is the story of a journey and a discovery: a journey into taste and into the land where the raw materials are produced.
The restaurant has three cornerstones:
1. Northern Italian cuisine, based on traditional products.
An approach that offers an authentic cuisine, without affectation or intellectualism
2. Thorough research into local territories to find the excellences of land and sea: ethical products that enhance the work of farmers and breeders. In a direct relationship with local producers, bypassing intermediaries.
3. A list of wines and winemakers. Wine is front and centre at Røst: the restaurant boasts a wine list of over 200 labels and 12 winemakers whose entire production is available. The wines are all artisan and come from organic, biodynamic, natural farming. In a word, they are authentic: respectful of the earth, the grape and man. 60% Italian, 40% French and a select few from other countries.
Menu and formulas
The menu does away with order categories (starters, first courses, main courses, side dishes), preferring dishes to be shared freely. Small plates populate the table at random to encourage tasting and conviviality.
The menu changes according to the availability of the ingredients, updated day by day. Each menu features a serial number, testifying to the freshness of the selection. Service is good and attentive to details, but not posed and formal.
Producers and tradition
Røst collaborates and supports a network of food and wine artisans, transmitting to the public the purity and commitment of their work.
The kitchen respects the work of producers who create sustainable raw materials of exceptional quality. Dishes enhance the qualities of the ingredients without intellectualism.
Vegetables are chosen 48 hours before entering the kitchen, following the rhythm of seasons. The supplier informs what the land has offered him and the cook Lucia Gaspari processes it instantly.
The Name: Røst
Pietro Querini was a Venetian patrician of the powerful Querini family, owner of estates - on the island of Candia (Crete) - famous for the production of Malvasia wine, which he traded.
On April 25, 1431 Querini set sail from Candia to Flanders aboard the Querina carrack, with a crew of 68 and a cargo of Malvasia, spices and other valuable merchandise.
On September 14, after rounding Cape Finisterre, they were surprised by repeated storms: the ship drifted for months, carried by the Gulf Stream. Querini and 16 surviving sailors finally touched land on 14 January 1432 on the deserted island of Sandøy in the Norwegian Lofoten archipelago. Here they were sighted by fishermen from the nearby island of Røst, who came to their rescue and host them into their homes for about four months. It was during this period that Querini discovered how to dry, preserve and prepare cod. On 15 May, 1432 Pietro Querini set sail for Venice, to which he brought the idea of stockfish, more commonly called cod, which immediately caught on with the Venetians. Tasty, light and above all long-life, it became a classic fish dish, prepared with recipes that have been handed down for generations.