A table like a hymn, an ode to their native land.
They met here, at the table. And their passion for food brought them together. Until they decided to open their own house. Jean-Michel Zecca and Renato Carati, in addition to their passion, have common roots in Italy, in the Salento region of Puglia. Brothers of the soil, accomplices of taste, their project was born ten years ago, ten years to grow, to mature, until seeing the day, a few months ago, in Waterloo.
The place is trendy, like a beautiful old-fashioned trattoria, and its position is superb: all in length, the thick brickwork competes on one side with the open kitchen on the other, before disappearing and giving space to the storeroom and three steps further to the pretty garden.
On the plate, it's Italy. I could have added a capital letter to Italy. Rare are the places that offer such a direct connection with the transalpine terroir, all the transalpine terroirs. Renato Carati is a personality apart, some would say exuberant, I would say more that he offers an enormous generosity, an almost paternal benevolence, a disarming sincerity and a fusional love of his country, his land and the products it offers.
Every dish here brings back the 'nazionale' terroir, Renato does not compromise with anything and there is no doubt in Felicità's mind: Antipasti, Vitel toned, Cannelloni in family recipe version (with sweetbreads, beef, veal poultry, artichoke, light cream with parmigiano, au gratin), the sublime Pappardelle with rabbit ragù, the real Spaghetti alla carbonara (Egg, Roman pecorino, guanciale from Cacciali) or the unavoidable Osso Buco "à la traditionnelle" à la Milanaise with risotto and gremolata and the extraordinary Veal chop Milanese cooked in butter, a dish that looks simple and that put me on my backside.
I find it hard to pack up and leave Renato every time I visit, but sometimes you have to be wise. And walk away. Delighted and happy. And come back, again and again.