Our trip to Milan during Fashion Week would not be complete without some top notch food and drinks.

We visited Nottingham Forest – a cocktail bar that does for alcohol what perhaps Ferran Adrià or Heston Blumenthal has done for food.  i.e. taking the Frankenstein approach of deconstructing a classic; getting the test tubes out and rebuilding an interactive drink that is unlike anything we’d ever seen before.  Sounds strange?  Check out the image of our two drinks, firstly the Archimedes Dry – the red glass contains the mixer element of the drink where the blue ‘upside down’ bottle contains the alcohol, giving you control over potency.  Confusing? Not compared to the drink on the right, the Umami Martini, working on the Japanese principle of ‘umami’ being the fifth ‘taste’. A ‘savouriness’ if you like. With oriental rice vodka, bitters, pink peppercorns and olive oil it stuck around longer than any other Martini we’d ever had.  Most of all, Nottingham Forest was fun – but be prepared to wait for a seat…

For food, the hit of the weekend was, for us, Joia.  Seeing as Sam and I are both vegetarian, it’s always great to find a restaurant in any city that is both gastronomic and veggie-friendly.  We were not disappointed with our 3-course lunch.  An amuse-bouche of Chinese leaf with 3 oils and sesame was swiftly followed by starters that contained braised fennel, bean puree, edible flowers, aged pecorino, ceps – all the good stuff, basically.  Main courses with names such as ‘Under a colourful blanket’ and ‘Egg Apparent’ show an eccentric side, but Sam’s trio of desserts served on Tweety Pie-emblazoned crockery shows that Joia doesn’t take itself too seriously.  As you can see from the images, presentation plays an enormous part in the experience, but Michelin-starred chef Pietro Leeman has clearly got the Milanese onside as 2011 sees Joia celebrate it’s 22nd anniversary at its Porta Venezia residence.

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