I write this review with a heavy heart and a much lighter wallet. And while I very rarely contribute on this forum, simply as a matter of conscience I could not let last night's experience pass without sharing it with a wider audience.
Because Aimo e Nadia is a trap. And we walked right into it.
On a recommendation we booked in for our first night in Milan and at the appointed time were whisked into a back corner of a back room that looked like it hadn't been refreshed since the 1990s: it was stale and down at the heels. There was a very faint scent of floor cleaner and rising damp in the air, barely perceptible but there if you looked, like the Holy Spirit in a Unitarian church. Both of us it later transpired had a strong sense of foreboding, perhaps why they were so keen to get us into a glass of vintage Roederer.
Nonetheless we persevered, inspired by our recommendation and reassured by the Relais and Chateau plaque outside. And quite quickly we were hooked/charmed/conned into the top-price (E195) "territories" menu. Because the guy was friendly and convincing, which I know makes it our own fault. As does - and here we felt like the biggest rubes to just fall off the turnip truck - letting the wine guy bring bottles without having him first tell us the price. (In fairness the Gaia + Rey was great).
But the food. And the service. Where to start? The first half of the meal was a succession of rapid fire small plates felt like they were cooked by a home dinner party chef with too many big ideas.
A bit of a hoo-hah was made about serving each one on a silver tray which would be placed on a wooden trolley that had never seen better days but there was barely time to chew: as soon as the fork went down our waitress would slump over, clear our plates, and bring the next dish. Was his perhaps some clever and ironic mocking of the rituals of fine dining? Who knows.
Some courses made more sense than others but all lacked refinement or purpose: a rough purée of tomatos and bread with an olive purée on top was gritty and tart. A beetroot chip argued with a mussel. A plate that carried a really tasty egg yolk and scamorza also had a needless spear of asparagus on it. A huge oyster from France (so much for all the ingredients being local, unless I missed something and Napoleon returned from the grave and reconquered Norhern Italy during our drive yesterday) sat under a mound of watery green granita. And so on.
Each came in such rapid fire succession it was almost as if they hoped we would not pick up on what was going on. We began to play a game of picking up a fork again as our poor waitress scurried to clear each plate, making her return to her station. Once she actually yanked the dishes away while we were still chewing. And with each one that arrived there was almost nothing by way of explanation of dish or provenance.
Later courses: a ravioli, a pigeon in broth, a duck had better focus. Some rose to the level of pretty good. But nothing deserving of a star or Relais and Chateau distinction.
All in all this would have been just a bit of a "meh" night had we not fallen for the wine scam. Where most somms will discretely point to a suggested drop on the wine list so you can see if it fits your budget, this guy simply brought bottles and started pouring. Our fault, but pretty dirty pool to put people into E300 bottles without warning them somehow. For an irregular diner on a budget this would have been ruinous.
When the bill came for two territories menus and two bottles of wine and two glasses of bubbles, the damage was 1070 Euros.
An expensive lesson.
Do not go here. Cancel your reservations if need be. Trust me.
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