Lunch at Lido 84
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Lido 84 is surely worth a journey. Riccardo and Giancarlo Camanini, two brothers coming from a family with no roots in the hospitality industry, run this lakeside restaurant with great earnestness and humbleness despite accruing numerous awards from all over the world. One of their dishes, the rigatoni cacio e pepe en vessie, has achieved cult status for its ingeniousness, taste and storyline.
Thanks to the fact that @Alex is a regular there, we were treated to an XXL version of their tasting menu, mixing traditional and new dishes.
I went there in August 2019 and I think in these three years, interrupted by multiple lock downs due to Covid, the food there has tremendously improved. The layering of tastes, the execution and the deliciousness of taste in each dish is astonishing. Some of their dishes is pure genius. They are able to create a deep flavor using only a few ingredients.
One of the early dishes was the Oyster and Bread. A Gillardeau oyster gets smoked a few seconds and served on a bread made with mungo pine and laurel. The ration between the fairly thick piece of bread and the oyster is perfect. The bread adds the needed acidity and texture to the sweetness and softness of the oyster. A classic like the uni truffle bite in Brooklyn Fare or the famous mifeuile of foie, eel and apple of Martin Berasetgui.
The Warm Fusilioni were served in a green sauce made of pistachios, laurel and green tomatoes. No cream or egg at all! The fat contained in the pistachios is enough to create a very creamy texture and the acidity of the green tomatoes added the edge to this great dish.
Another classic, the Spaghettoni with yeast crumble and butter. Smooth, succulent and incredibly satisfying.
When moved on from pasta and rice to meat, a veal sweetbread was served in two versions. One with honey and mustard and the other with an layer of tomatoes on top. The sweetbread was executed perfectly, crispy outside but soft on the inside. For me the one with tomatoes was the better one as I prefer the acidity to the sweetness of the honey.
Another great dish was the 752°F Eggplant alla Pormigiana. A eggplant baked in the oven and then finished table side with the sauce made of Parmesan. It created inside the eggplant a taste like lasagne. Wonderful.
And of course, the cult dish, the Rigatoni Cacio e Pepe en Vessie finished the savory dishes. This dish, inspired by a book of Apicius, cooked inside a femal pigs bladder is unique. All the ingredients are added, the bladder closed and then submerged into boiling water. This steams rather than boils the pasta. The variables of all the ingredients and the fact that one cannot fine tune the mixture anymore leads to a dish which will taste every time slightly differently. The Chef only can check the state of cooking in touching the bladder and feeling the pasta through the skin. It gets cooked on purpose “al chiodo“, which is slightly less then “al dente”, a not to the Roman origin of the dish.
Of course the setting on the shore of Lago di Garda and the great hospitality of the front office lead by Giancarlo Camanini maked this meal one of the great ones, one which you never forget. An experience which one will chase for ever to repeat.