Last week we were invited to the press preview of Galleria Campari on Tour at Antony Demetre’s Osteria by Searcy restaurant. To be honest, they had me at “Campari”!
Campari takes me straight back to those warm summer nights of yesteryear: gentle breezes, chirping crickets, the smell of orange trees, jasmine, wild thyme and rosemary, candle light and discussing everything between heaven and earth with friends and strangers who were about to become friends. Then, I loved my Campari with orange juice and lots of ice. Later it would be Campari and tonic or soda. Now I love any Campari based Cocktail!
Add to that the promise of rarely seen art and Italian food by a Michelin-starred chef, and that just about describes my perfect evening.
Coming to the UK for the very first time, a collection of some of the iconic artworks from the Galleria Campari in Sesto San Giovanni, home of Campari, is gracing the walls of Osteria, an Italian restaurant and bar in London’s Barbican Centre from August 3rd to December 31st 2016.
Making its debut in London, the exhibition will tell the story of the brand through nine artistic works created by well-known international artists, in an initiative conceived by the gallery’s artistic director, Marina Mojana.
From Marcello Nizzoli (1887-1969), creator of the Post-Cubist Campari poster, to the young Futurist Fotunato Depero (1907-1998), to Leonetto Cappiello’s original 1921 piece ‘Spritello’ – one of the most innovative creators of advertising art who is being exhibited for the first time in the UK at Osteria. A print of Graphic declination of the name Campari by Bruno Munari (1907-1998) will also be displayed – a poster created in 1964 for the inauguration of Milan’s first metropolitan line and is currently part of the permanent collection at the MoMA in New York. Other artists include Marcello Dudovich and Giovanni Mingozzi – who produced a number of artworks here represented by Dame e ufficiali and CampariSoda e Bicchiere respectively.
We were greeted with a classic Campari & Tonic cocktail (which will always be one of my favourite summer drinks), as well as a beautiful cocktail that was the essence of Italy in a glass: Campari, blood orange and prosecco, the aptly named ‘Spiritello’ cocktail in homage to Leonetto Cappiello’s 1921 piece.
After a guided tour of the exhibition, with Pietro Mattioni, the MD of Campari UK, explaining the history of each one of the artworks, we were treated to sample plates from Chef Anthony Demetre’s bespoke Spiritello tasting menu which includes Italian delicacies such as Salt Baked Sea Bass, a Roast Saddle of Rabbit and the classic Vanilla and Strega Panna Cotta with late summer berries. Anthony will also be highlighting the intricate and botanical tones of Campari throughout the menu, with hints of the closely guarded ingredients throughout the menu. This six-course tasting menu is available for £39 per person throughout August.
‘The depth of flavour in Campari is something I’m really excited about translating into the dishes – we spent a lot of time developing the menu to make sure each plate was just right, – the focus remains on quality produce and an Italian influence, but with a nod to the botanics of the drink.’ says Anthony Demetre.
To round the evening off we had a Negroni masterclass, which was great fun (and educational),learning to mix the iconic drink to perfection at the restaurant’s ‘Amore Bibo’ bar. There is a range of Negronis available, just have a look at the cocktail menu.
What’s more, during Osteria’s Aperitivo hour every day between 5–7pm, you can enjoy a selection of delicious, complimentary snacks with your drink, from arancini to bocconcini and charcuterie, with any drink purchased from the Osteria bar.
We had a wonderful evening and I really want to go now and visit the Galleria Campari in Italy.
As for you, go and see the art, have beautiful Italian food and, last but not least, a Campari cocktail!
Mon–Sat: 12 noon–8.30pm
020 7588 3008
Osteria by Searcys