Restaurant Osteria Al Pont de Ferr


Matias Perdomo for United Colors of Benetton 2013 campaign

Matias Perdomo: born in Uruguay, is now chef of a restaurant of contemporary cuisine in Milan called Al Pont de Ferr and run for over 25 years by Maida Mercuri, skilled sommelier and restaurateur.Here Matias was awarded a Michelin star in 2011, following falling in love with the streets of Milan and having decided to delve deep into his passion for food in that very city. He claims the dish he is most proud of is his appetizer of goat cheese and Tropea onions. His personal favorite things are simple pastas with tomato sauce, dancing the tango and the food of Thailand. Umami is a key word when it comes to Mattias’ personal happiness.


The spotlight of this interview falls on the restaurant “Al Pont de Ferr”, which lies on the banks of a canal in the Navigli district of Milan.  The thing that surprises you most upon first entering All Pont de Ferr is the atmosphere. Typically, a Michelin-starred restaurant will either be utterly gorgeous and be strewn with expensive furniture. There is none of this at All Pont de Ferr, which smacks of European tavern from the 18th century. If some old busty wench – like the ones portrayed in Zola’s  decadent novels –  came tumbling out in a corset, it would almost fit the mood. Most of the chairs and tables are of the sturdy wooden variety. And there are no table clothes, just sheets of paper between the plates and the wood. I’ve registered my disbelief that this place could possibly by a Michelin one-star restaurant with friends many times. Then I check the menu and notice that the pricing is slightly on the high end within Milanese restaurants.  So far, not so great for SaraWaka.


From the left: the Navigli district in Milan with the iron bridge which gives the name to the restaurant; Al Pont de Ferr: entrance and inside

But, my papa often tells me not to judge based on appearance alone and this is one occasion when such advice is extremely apt. And as I think just this thought, the first dish has arrived: Sara Waka: “What on earth is this?”.  Amongst the appetizers served here are these weird balls, served with Campari in a cocktail glass. These strange white and green marbles are made with olives and mozzarella, and are just the start of a stream of fascinating dishes.


Chef Perdomo’s marsterpieces: starters

For example, out came a rich mosaic of ricciola, foie gras, grapefruit and macadamia nuts, as well as an appetizer that married goat cheese and Tropea onions. A platter of Iberico pork (almost raw), cheese and sea urchin sauce.


Chef Perdomo’s masterpieces: main courses

However, the desserts are where the true magic lies. Not just delicious, but very cute, cute desserts that send you tumbling back to your childhood. Apple pies lined with pie-shaped ice cream. Chocolate and fava beans atop an ice-cream scoop. My heart began to dance like a child at a birthday party. I realized at the end of my visit that part of the allure of this restaurant no doubt lies in the contrast between thesecutesie desserts and the roughtavern environment. I left a second visit in mind upon my return to Milan.


Chef Perdomo’s masterpieces: desserts

                   Ristorante Al Pont de Ferr

              Address:Ripa di PortaTicinese 55, Milano, Italia

                Tel :  +39 02 8940 6277

                 Holidays:none (reservations required)

Sara Waka: Ciao, I’m SaraWaka. And you are?

Mattias: MattiasPerdomo.

Sara Waka: And you are from…?

Mattias: Uruguay.

Sara Waka: Where did you study food?

Mattias: I’ve never studied food!

Sara Waka: What? So where did you learn so many wonderful cooking techniques?

Mattias: All experimentation! Well, in the kitchen, I guess.

Sara Waka: Wow! I thought you had probably studied in France. Are there any food cultures that have particularly affected your cooking? That dish we tried just a moment ago used umeboshi (pickled plum) from Japan, so it seems like you are comfortable with ingredients from all over?

Mattias: I don’t how comfortable is comfortable. But, yes, there are no limits to my cooking in that sense.

Sara Waka: So it seems. Your cooking is very much contemporary cuisine.

Mattias: Is it now? [smiles]

Sara Waka: What do you consider art to be?

Mattias: Art is a moment. Art is a splice of time from which we can naturally withdraw an emotional response.

Sara Waka: I’m with you on that! So for you, from which type of art can someone receive the biggest emotional response? For example, for me, amongst music, fine arts, cuisine and everything else there is, food is number one.

Mattias: For me it’s music. Because, food is like a poem written in water on the steaming midday asphalt. Put more simply: to comprehend the poem that is food, one must live that very moment. If you don’t, full comprehension will elude you. The emotional response food can draw out is truly just a momentary one. Culinary art lives on only in your mind.

Sara Waka: Wowsers. Chef Mattiasis cool romantic. [laughs] The rule is I get a kiss at the end of each interview and especially after such powerful kitchen poetry,I must get my kiss. May I?

Mattias: Of course.


Chef Matias Perdomo and I in his kitchen

Description & Interview: Sara Waka

Edited by: Federica Forte

Translation: BJFox