Ti Amo Veneto!

by Louise Mutter

The Venetian table is essentially a
frugal one and depends on
the quality of the ingredients
rather than elaborate techniques.

I love small neighborhoods where you can feel the buzz and excitement of a Friday night. Wandering around Daikanyama, my friend and I explored cute shops and walked by patios filled with people unwinding after a long week. We could have strolled for hours, but hunger got the best of us and we stepped into De L’onghi’s restaurant, happily escaping Tokyo’s summer heat and entering the Italian region of Veneto for a few hours.

Executive Chef Ernesto Stefani hails from Padova Italy, the same region as De L’onghi’s headquarters. He brings over twenty years of culinary experience to De’Longhi’s having cooked in Italy, England, and Tokyo. However, here at De’Longhi’s he returns to his cooking roots; his first love—Venetian food. The Venetian table is essentially a frugal one and he depends on the quality of the ingredients rather than elaborate techniques. While maintaining the tradition of fusing and interpreting culinary influences, Stefani’s dishes are seductively simple and flavorful. Butter, cream, and cooking oils are used sparingly in the preparation of each dish, ensuring that they are as healthy as they are sumptuous. The wine list is extensive and most hail from Italy with reasonably priced champagnes, whites, and reds by the glass and a good range of bottles to choose from. I chose a glass of Masi Amarone 2003, a full-bodied wine that paired nicely with the meal to come.

Besides à la carte, Chef Stefani offers three different courses depending on how hungry you are. We selected the B course. We started off with a trio of antipasto: bacon wrapped scallops, beef carpaccio with parmesan cheese and balsamic drizzle on top of greens, and prosciutto wrapped around a fig. I loved the various fresh baked breads accompanied by three different types of olive oil. Other notable first courses were the stuffed rabbit with roasted pepper sauce and seasonal grilled vegetables and the chilled green pea soup with ricotta cheese. My favorite course came next, a handmade pasta duo: ravioli with beet and ricotta cheese, poppy seeds and butter sauce, and pappardelle with smoked summer vegetables, herb pesto, and sea bream. Each ingredient was well balanced, never overpowering the other. For the main course we dined on roasted guinea fowl with a porcini mushroom sauce. The meat was succulent, flavored with hints of thyme, and the sauce, rich and velvety; a perfect blend of flavors. Other main selections included roasted breast of duck with cherry sauce and tenderloin of Japanese beef with Amorone red wine sauce. We finished with a lovely dessert plate: fresh melon fruit, sorbet and cheesecake with raspberry drizzle, as well as of course, a cappuccino. It was a lovely meal, well paced, nicely presented, and exceptionally flavorful. Chef Stefani’s love of Veneto is quite evident in his cooking.

De’Longhi’s is celebrating their first anniversary at the Daikanyama location and what a brilliant place it is. The space is modern and simplistic, with clean lines and colorful hues of orange and blue dark hardwood flooring. Artwork is also displayed throughout the restaurant. Menus change quarterly with seasonal ingredients of summer, fall, winter, and spring sourced from nearby regions. The restaurant also hosts regular events and seminars, offers cooking classes, and even has event space to host business meetings. Upstairs is a spacious showroom and shop of all the latest De L’onghi’s products including a wide range of espresso machines that0 are perfect for lovers of a real Italian style coffee.

For more information on De’longhi or for reservation see www.delonghi-s.com or call 03-5449-8080.