Berlin, Germany (Gastrosofie). Basilicata is still one of the more unknown regions of Italy, but who knows how long it will stay that way. After all, the region in southern Italy with Matera, the European Capital of Culture 2019 has an excellent ambassador: Pino Bianco. He does not stir the drum, but rather let them star in his pots, which may convince even more. In that part of western Berlin where life it seems goes on as if the wall had not fallen, on Fuggerstraße, lies his restaurant „Muntagnola“. Here, the chef and owner – together with his well known and much beloved mother, “la Muntagnola” in the dialect of the region – serves mainly specialties from his homeland, so well that many of his countrymen always like to come here again and again – as do we from Gastrosofie.
This evening it’s going on quite hearty, with several kinds of antipasti. First: various sausages and cheeses from the region, Pecorino, with and without truffles, and ricotta. The truffle gives the cheese a special touch, but salsiccia and salami, deep red and greasy, are also deliciously spicy. It’s nothing for vegans – and nothing for those who count calories. A dandelion heart salad calms the conscience in terms of health quite quickly, in its centre enthroned by an anchovy caper cream. Salty fish flavour here pairs wonderfully with the sour-spicy taste of the capers. More sweet and sour turns out to be another appetizer, Caponata. Cooked aubergines, finely prepared with tomatoes, celery, raisins, celery, almonds and pine nuts. The „Favette e Cicoria“ turns out to be a bean puree with dandelions. This thick bean in the cuisine leads a rather neglected existence, wrongly, as tasting pleasant, slightly nutty aroma of the very filling puree will show. On the other hand, the wafer-thin zucchini slices, stuffed with shrimp and mint, in a sauce of lemon and mint are very light – thus ideal for hot summer days.
Then the friendly service brings a big cheese loaf. In it are pieces of said pecorino with truffles. Immediately she adds hot, homemade noodles and conjures with fork and spoon the Taglioni „cacio e pepe“, probably the highlight of the evening. There is hardly any room left – on the table and in our bellies – for the meat course, being Ossobuco with polenta. The pot roast around the big bone comes from the calf, is very tender, but also completely unseasoned. For everyone can help them selves as they please, as on the table next to salt and pepper stand some spicy sauces.
Even with the desserts Pino likes to forego the usual monotony. Alone the Semifreddo, here a rose parfait with limoncello sauce, is a dream come true. Just like the coffee Panacotta with a same sort of sauce. The treat was even garnished with some crispy coffee beans. Who now needs an espresso? To be honest, mad ones like me.
What about wine? Well, this splendid meal was accompanied as we wished by two red both of them from Basilicata. The Adorno, a blend of Merlot and Primitivo, develops aromas of dark berries, cherries and cassis. The Matinone, a pure Primitivo, makes an intense chocolate note noticeable. Ah, for aperitif try a Rossini with Prosecco and lots of fresh pulp – it’s deliciously strawberry-laden and refreshing at the same time. However, do not spend much time sipping, the straw threatens to soften. It soon turns out to be a hollow noodle. What a wonderful idea!
Trattoria a‘ Muntagnola
Fuggerstrasse 27, 10777 Berlin
Contact: Phone: (030) 211 66 42, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: every day from 5pm to midnight
Christopher Prescott based on an article by Fritz Hermann Köser.