The rigours of farming underpin a no-waste focus that leads to dishes such as pumpkin tortellini, where the pasta is made from flour derived from pumpkin offcuts then filled with pumpkin seed praline and pickled pumpkin skin. A Jerusalem artichoke dish looks like a plain white mound but it’s a paean to this underloved, knobbly tuber. Spice-pickled slices of artichoke reveal fried skins, sweet, nutty puree, caramelised pot-roasted artichokes and, at the base, a slow-cooked egg yolk from one of the Bertoncellos’ 60 chooks. The dish is a wholly enjoyable balance of fat, acid, salt and sweet, expressed with just one vegetable.
Meat is used sparingly. Rescued chicken carcases are turned into a jus that glazes lovingly slow-roasted cabbage. Whole beasts come from micro-farmers who know each animal by name. In fact, a cow called Norman is currently in the coolroom; the farmer who raised him often pops in to see how he’s being used. Norman is now sausages, some of him is being cured, a little of his rump is served as the final savoury course.
Bread is a thread in the narrative arc of each meal. You’ll eat excellent sourdough with butter and a rich beef tallow spread. You’ll sip sourdough consomme. Loaf ends are turned into pastry for a dainty preserved tomato tart. There’s even a pudding made with sourdough-infused cream. Again, when you’ve worked so hard to make something, you don’t want to throw away a crumb.
The O.My ethos is underlined by a visible passion for preserving. The path to the toilets is via a winding grotto lined with jars: tomato sauce, salted apple leaves, dried persimmon, all speaking to economy, sustainability and experimental glee.
A cucumber dessert is an accretion of the restaurant’s passions. Cucumber juice saved from summer is turned into granita. Honey ice-cream is made with the help of O.My’s bees. Egg white meringue is whipped from whites left over from the yolks in the artichoke dish. A wonderfully acidic caramel made with whey is drizzled over it. As the first dessert, it’s both palate cleanser and sweet treat. As food, it’s also philosophy and, oh my, it’s also delicious.
Join danivalent.com at her Truffle Dinner at Massi on July 25. Tickets danivalent.com/shop.