Venissa, Restaurant, Marzzorbo, Italy
Returning after ca. three years to Venice, I revisited the restaurant Venissa. Maybe my expectations this time were simply too high, due to my amazing initial experience there (see here: Venissa, Restaurant and Vineyard, Marzzorbo), but it was a real disappointment: in terms of both atmosphere and cuisine much poorer – and simply too expensive.
A young sommelier lacking wit, no fire and no enthusiasm from the kitchen, and the color of the staff’s clothes reflects the mood: as black as a funeral. Such a pity! Of the people who were responsible for the food two years ago, none seem to be there anymore. At that time, I remember so well, you could taste the chef’s excitement – and actually see the joy in the chef’s dynamic approach.
Francesco Brutto (winner of some “best young Italian Chef 2017” title: https://www.italiaatavola.net/locali/ristoranti-e-pizzerie/2017/3/17/venissa-cucina-torna-francesco-brutto-cucina-avanguardia/49270/) took over in 2017, with a younger team headed by Chiara Pavan. Just based on this information I would have expected much more, but these days it is more like this: there are good, competent craftsmen (and women) in the kitchen who have mastered the professional skills and obviously just don’t push their cooking beyond this. Miraculous that Venissa has defended its Michelin star.
I don’t want to be too hard on them, the food is of course high quality, the ingredients from the region – the eel was perhaps the most extraordinary dish, but also the most local, since the fish comes from the lagoon.
Considering their own vast garden of organic vegetables, herbs and other ingredients, there should be not only a visible connection but also connections through taste combining. Somehow, a more ambitious concept was lacking. The seven-course menu offered no surprises, no eye-openers. Among the wines chosen to accompany it were a few good ones, but nothing out of the ordinary. Waiter and sommelier did not explain anything more than the minimum you should know: the name of dish but not the concept, the name of wine and vintage, but nothing more, like perhaps some information about soil, vineyard, method of winemaking….
I am very sorry to write in such a way about this place, since the hotel and restaurant complex in the middle of this aforementioned large fruit- and vegetable garden and vineyard is outrageously beautiful, and therefore worth the almost one-hour trip from the center of Venice (if you take the water bus). The food unfortunately is not, especially if you then consider the prices of the menu plus the wine accompaniment. But someone recently wrote about Francesco as an emerging chef. There is space to grow! And knowing how hard the work of a chef is, I really want him to know that this tough critique should not throw him off course in any way!
Thank god I had wonderful company – the Polish-French actress Elisabeth Duda, who will most likely disagree with my judgement. So my evening actually was very, very enjoyable thanks to her very good mood – no doubt due not only to our conversation, but also because of the beautiful location and probably the dining experience.
Here is the link to https://www.venissa.it/