I don’t have an Italian grandmother. But if I did, I’m guessing her drawing room might look a little like Latteria. And if I did, I’d hope she cooked food as good as this.
Latteria is the Milanese restaurant that you hoped you’d find, but weren’t sure you could. In La Brera, it’s small to the point of cramped, with wooden chairs and tables butting up against each other. The roof is painted cantelope orange and the front counter of this restaurant (which once was a corner store which sold bread, eggs and milk) shows off pastel hued tortes and bowls of fruit. The walls are crowded with oil paintings and family photos with curling edges.
They don’t take bookings. By 12.30pm there are two tables left. By 12.45 people are peeking their heads in the door and walking away disappointed.
Their loss is our gain. The menu is printed and hung outside the front door. It changes daily depending on what’s in season.
When you make it here, here are some things you don’t want to miss:
The buffalo mozzarella (7 euro). It’s oozingly soft and cries milky tears. It’s lactic and tangy. It’s innocent and a little kinky. Drizzle over olive oil at the table and as much black pepper as you dare.
Behind that is house cured pig (€15), as pink as the pads of your fingers. It’s staggeringly good too.
Testaroli (€10) with courgettes, eggplants and a salted ricotta is a revelation.Testaroli is a crepe style pasta, that’s made without eggs in a pan, then cut and quickly braised back to warmth and submission.
Gnocchi with meat ragu (€10) is as comforting as a night on the couch.
‘Bistecca di roast beef’(€ 20); a meltingly tender hunk of steak, blushing in the centre and charred on the outside. Served simply with a wedge of lemon, a rogue piece of parsley and plenty of seasoning.
Desserts come from the front counter, the lemon and pistachio layered trifle cake is my pick; it’s not too sweet, perfect mix of dense custard and citrus.