Il Santa Bistro
I may be unfashionable but brunch is my least favourite meal (and I LOVE to eat), that was until I tried the buffet at Il Santa. Located at the feet of Palazzo Lombarda this unexpected restaurant with unmistakable Veuve Cliquot awnings offers a delicious buffet of freshly prepared dishes that are constantly replenished throughout the meal. Gone are those ghastly heated food servers that dry out and shrivel up what usually passes for food. Instead, Il Santa offers a wide selection of cold or tepid antipasti, such as fish carpaccio served with raw fennel and oranges or buffalo mozzerella served on a bed of panzanella with a light pesto dressing. To follow there are a number of pasta dishes: beautifully cooked crespelle with spinach and asparagus; pasta al forno with a superb ragu sauce, mozzarella and rich bechamel sauce; agnolotti with sage and butter; salted cod bake (which again I usually hate but in this case it was divine) and fusilli with tomato sauce (for the younger and less adventurous clientele). If you still have space there is a meat or fish dish to follow and last but not least a wide selection of homemade desserts, fresh fruit, biscuits and marshmallows. The buffet brunch is really reasonably priced at €25 per head and we also enjoyed an amazing Barolo (DodiciDodici di Castello di Cigognola) which Angelo suggested we try (€20).
Stefano Grandi, the man behind the stove so to speak, is well known for his culinary skills and his 'take' on Lombardy cuisine. Stefano always adds little twists to traditional dishes such as those on the dinner menu: pumpkin soup with amaretti and sour cream, cockrel cooked with stones, fusilli with a carbonara sauce and Iberian bacon, Sicilian tuna tartar and Giulia meat loaf. We've also eaten at Il Santa in the evening and you can an easily eat a 3 course meal as portions aren't huge but the Sunday brunch is definitely Il Santa's piece de resistance.