DINING OWL AWARDS: 4th – bread; 3rd – canapés; 3rd – amuse bouche; 1st – pre-dessert
When I visited: September 2015
Location: Milan, within the Park Hyatt Milan hotel
Team: Andrea Aprea (Executive Chef)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: 1 star
What to wear: Men – shirt and jacket and nice trousers and shoes (must wear a jacket); women – a smart dress and/or smart trousers and a top
Course of the meal: Lemon sensation
If I could change one thing: Liven up the decor
Vun is an intimate, neutral-toned restaurant in the heart of Milan. I visited with my partner Owl on holiday. The staff were friendly and helpful, especially the maitre d’, and the wine list was reasonably priced (in my experience, good wine tends to be cheaper in Italy and France than England). If I were to look into my own crystal ball (post coming soon …) I would say that Vun might well get 2 stars in the future.
We went for the Neapolitan itinerary tasting dinner and begun with a glass each of dry Champagne. We had gorgeous canapés with this, including one based on Aperol spritz (which crackled and bubbled in the mouth) with an oyster-flavoured edible leaf, a super-light paprika-dusted pastry puff filled with cheese, and a dumpling filled with bacon and cheese. The early bonuses didn’t stop there as we also got a very tasty amuse bouche in a glass sphere – a tiny tuna tartare on a pink mousse base.
The sommelier helped us to choose a creamy white Chardonnay which went perfectly with the whole meal. The staff also kept replenishing the already large supply of breads throughout the meal: tomato bread, olive swirl-shaped bread, wholegrain buns, breadsticks and ultra-thin seasoned wafers. I liked the bread but you really can’t fit too much in if eating a large tasting menu and they really didn’t need to replenish it whenever one of us took a piece from the basket.
The menu began with a caprese (sweet salted) – snow with a thin crisp shell sphere filled with creamy cheese. This was absolutely delicious; when we conveyed this to the waiter, he said there might be a course later on which we liked even more (which turned out to be the lemon sensation). Next came fried “paranza” – fish with garlic, oil, honey and chilli pepper, which were great – I noticed throughout the holiday that Italian fried fish is more lightly fried than it would be in England.
We next had an enigmatically-named course of “potatoes, pasta, mussels” in which the potatoes were violet-coloured. This was beautifully balanced and followed up nicely by the half paccheri pasta “Gerardo di Nola”, with bufalo ricotta cheese and ragu. The fish course was grouper baked in salt “acquapazza” with Batavian endive, followed by beautifully cooked veal “pizzaiola” style with smoked provola cheese and black olives.
The lemon sensation truly lived up to its name. It involved a chemical reaction with dry ice, bubbling away on unripe lemons that are placed in the middle of your table. The edible part of the course consisted of a perfect little quenelle of sorbet, with ice cream and a tiny meringue wafer all on top of a different kind of lemon mousse with lemon gel at the bottom. So much effort must have gone into such a tiny course and it looked and tasted amazing.
The dessert (“Neapolitan Diplomatica”) wasn’t a let-down either, with interesting textures – a crunchy wafer on top, a jelly layer below, with ice cream, a separate cream/foam layer and sponge pieces.
We finished off with green tea served in industrial-looking black square-shaped tea sets, with petits fours (the waiter jokingly referred to them as “petits threes”) – a shot of caramelised apple juice with apple pieces inside a test tube, a tiramisu on a lollipop stick, and a mini violetta tart.
I was pretty bowled over by Vun and the only things stopping it from being a 5-hoot experience are the decor, which could be livened up a bit, and the fact that the main courses, while accomplished and tasty, were not quite as stunning as the caprese or the two final courses. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the restaurant or to go back when I am next in Milan.