“The smoked soul” truly comes alive at Spencer. At this recently opened restaurant behind Bocconi, the leitmotiv is homemade smoked food. For those who love meat and fish with an “added touch”, but also for those who like only vegetables, Spencer is the perfect place to spend a few informal hours over dinner with strong flavours that are also surprisingly delicate.
The menu isn’t very long – which to me is a good thing – and the selection for dinner ranges from meat dishes to fish and vegetarian ones, in addition to a selection of cold cuts, cheeses and six side dishes with vegetables and grains.
At lunch, you won’t find smoked dishes like in the evening but rather simpler offerings with quick first courses, soups or sandwiches. In the evening, dishes are rotated on a monthly basis but one of the signature dishes – that I chose – is the Texan brisket, a piece of beef breast marinated for 48 hours with smoked pecans in a bath of whisky cooked on low temperature for 24 hours. On the meat menu, you’ll also find a very interesting black angus with toasted hazelnuts, coffee and cedar, and the more classic “rustin negàa“.
In the first category, we chose the “Kottu Roti“, a dish from the Sri Lankan street food culture with marinated shrimp in a red curry and smoked applewood. Both portions were ginormous, and the initial skepticism – that the smoky flavour would be too strong – was overcome as the dish turned out to be quite delicate.
To go with the two dishes, we chose the red cabbage marinated in an apple, sesame seed, lemon peel and Sichuan pepper sauce – which was excellent – and whole grain rice cooked in saffron with celery pesto and scalded artichoke – a dish that was so overpowering that it left us rather unsatisfied.
For those who are vegetarian or vegan, the menu also includes some “veggie” options like the bean burger or the risotto. I strongly suggest you enjoy your meal with a great artisanal beers (the weiss was fantastic!).
Next time, we’d like to go back to try the selection of smoked salamis (like the bresaola, the pork, the pancetta and the Sauris prosciutto) and the cheeses (including the burratina and the fiore sardo served with marmalade and chutney). When it came time for dessert, we were just too full!
Spencer is located along via Castelbarco, right behind Bocconi University and exactly halfway between Porta Ticinese and Porta Romana. Given that the area isn’t easily accessible by public transportation, I suggest making your way there by car, especially considering the many parking spots in the area.
Spencer certainly isn’t a fancy place, but it is still pleasant, especially for a quick lunch or an informal dinner. The tables are tiny and there isn’t much design – although it is well maintained and my favourite part, the second floor, is quite cute – but we did appreciate the fact that, unlike many places in Milan that will charge you 3 euros of cover for a simple paper tablecloth, there is no cover charge here.
Considering all first courses are priced at 16 euros (and each of them can be accompanied by no more than one side dish, given the very generous portions), you won’t be spending much more than 25-30 euros per person: a price that is perfect for every budget!
SPENCER – SMOKED SOUL
Via Gian Carlo Castelbarco 3, Milan
+39 02 83977026
Open everyday (11:45am-11:45pm) except Monday
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Kelsey Rivett.