Ristorante Bocconi

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It’s an overused adage but I have to use it in this case. Location, location, location. Ristorante Bocconi is part of the five-star Amigo Hotel, which is slap-bang in the middle of Brussels, only a two-minute stroll away from Manneken Pis and la Grand Place.

Marco Visinoni discovered his passion for cooking when he was a child, whiling away his afternoons in the kitchen watching and helping his mother prepare the family meals. Culinary school and weekends and school holidays as an apprentice chef in several restaurants in his hometown of Rovetta in the Seriana Valley prepared him for work in the most renowned restaurants in the area, in particular in Pierino Penati, a Michelinstarred restaurant in Vigano.

Now, he finds himself at the helm of arguably the best Italian restaurant in town. It really does bring a bit of Italy to Brussels 1000. Marco became Bocconi’s executive chef in the summer and has worked with the restaurant team (overseen by legendary Italian chef Fulvio Pierangelini) to introduce a series of new modern dishes inspired by authentic Italian cuisine and laced with Belgian produce.

He looks very young but he cooks like an old hand: every dish sparkles with juices. I asked him, “How do you manage to keep such rich juices flowing in all your dishes?” He simply smiles as if to say, “Now that would be telling.”

The staff are young here too and keen to please. The best seats are to be had at the window, not just because you can see tourists and locals walking the narrow street past souvenir and lace shops but because the semi-circular benches are pleasing to the eye and create a very cosy atmosphere.

Several of the dishes are inspired by Marco’s native Lombardy, for example, the traditional veal ravioli and herbs, or risotto with prawns, beans and peas, and the succulent Vitello Tonnato. You can ring in the New Year with some of his new concoctions such as the beef carpaccio with white ‘Alba’ truffles, or lobster and leek risotto (his rissottos are simply fab) or capon consommé with home-made cappelletti.

I never eat desserts but my dining partner declared the chocolate cake as the “best in the world” no less, which brought a great big smile to the face of a young chef who is clearly going places.

www.ristorantebocconi.com