Back in June, House of Coco’s Beth, visited Gucci Garden and dined in the fashion-friendly restaurant on dishes created by a Michelen star chef. Here are her thoughts (p.s. if you need a drinking game, take a shot every time every time she says Gucci) …
In the Piazza della Signoria, a fascinating busy square in the heart of Florence, sits Gucci Garden; a specially designed space where food and fashion collide to celebrate all things Gucci, featuring a store, a multi-room museum and, a recent addition, the Gucci Restaurant.
Formally known as the Gucci Osteria de Massimo Bottura, the 50-seat restaurant is a collaboration between Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele and respected Italian chef Massimo Bottura.
Three Michelin star chef Bottura, the head honcho at the esteemed Osteria Francescana in Modena (named The World’s Best Restaurant this year), is the mastermind behind the menu – a small, but carefully crafted, collection of delicious dishes oozing with flavour and Italian ingredients.
After strolling through the store, a.k.a Gucci heaven, filled with exclusive Gucci Garden items and everything from leather goods to cushions I was seated in the small restaurant. I chose to sit inside, to reap the benefits of the air-con and to escape the crowds of Florence in June, but there is also a flower-filled outdoor seating area.
With lime green walls and velvet seats, the restaurant is completely high fashion – even your waiter’s uniform will make you jealous, as they serve you in black Gucci loafers. Although it was beautifully decorated, I have to say I was hoping for some more Gucci. Just a little a bit of branding, maybe a double G monogrammed onto the crockery or something. Saying that, the floral crockery was still delightful (and available in the shop if you fancy spending £100 on a plate).
The menu isn’t large, but does offer plenty of choice and all at reasonable prices for food created by Bottura. You can try pick just one of the tasty options or, to get the full experience, try the tasting menu like myself. This seven-course food journey is a great way to sample many dishes and brings you a mix of flavours and foods, including an indulgent tortellini that Bottura is famous for and finishes with not just one, but two, decadent desserts.
Starting with a pink watermelon juice to cleanse the palate the menu follows with marinated Bonito fish served with a corn toast, then a quinoa Summer Salad topped with show-stopping vegetable crisps. Both dishes were delicious and light and a perfect introduction to the following courses.
The other mains, a steamed bun with tender pork belly and lingua (beef tongue), both deserve their place in the menu but it really is all about the next bowl of food.
After just one mouthful of the ‘Tortellini with Parmigiano Reggiano cream’ you’ll know why it’s Bottura’s signature dish. The smooth cheesy sauce is the perfect pairing for the tiny hand-folded pasta parcels. It’s a small portion, but given the richness, and the fact it is the middle in the line-up of seven dishes, it’s just right.
The deconstructed cheesecake was a highlight for me. Firstly it’s a tiny work of art, secondly the sour-but-sweet cherry flavour is unique and mouth-wateringly good – a dessert I never wanted to end. Lucky for me, it was followed by another sweet treat. The ‘Charley Marley’, a chocolate gelato and hazelnut dessert named after Bottura’s son, is a delight to finish your meal with.
After lunch, I visited the upstairs museum. A series of themed rooms tell you the Gucci story, focusing on Guccification and the rising popularity of Gucci’s signature accessories, each room filled with interesting and original dresses, bags and other items.
As a lover of the two f’s, fashion and food, I found the whole Gucci Garden experience incredibly enjoyable. The Garden is a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle of Florence for a few hours and to try food dreamed up by Bottura without the high price tag of his own restaurant. I’ve been dreaming about that cheesecake ever since…