the next evolution of liquid kitchen :: €15 for a cocktail
Filippo Sisti propelled Carlo e Camilla in Seghera to the top of everyone's best of Milano lists thanks to his innovative "liquid kitchen" style of drink making. Recently he's opened the game-changing cocktail bar TALEA. I've visited the bar three times in the opening two weeks, enough to give a just review of this ambitious project.
TALEA is located in Via Filippo Argelati 35, about a five minute walk from Naviglio Grande. The walk up to TALEA may be confusing at first as it's located in front of Happy Bau Urban Dog Resort and next to a school for the poorly understood Afro-Brazialian martial art dance Capoeira. Thankfully, the welcoming TALEA sign is easily visible, guiding you towards one of the most important cocktail bars in Italy. Once inside you will be impressed with the beauty of TALEA. The cool colors of the walls and backbar will remind you of the slick Belé, the bar stools and chairs are gorgeous (and comfortable), and of course the cocktails are pure eye candy. TALEA also features an outdoor wooden deck, the perfect setting for a romantic evening or for a quick cigarette break with your friends.
At TALEA, Filippo Sisti and his team are striving to give customers a memorable experience akin to that of a high caliber Michelin star restaurant. To achieve this feat, TALEA brings together world class hospitality led by the friendly floor manager Petra Dolci, a captivating ambiance, and some truly wild yet pleasurable cocktails. One of Filippo's goals is to challenge the preconceptions of his guests, focusing on rare ingredients and unique flavor profiles. The backbar only features 15 or so bottles, allowing the odd ingredients and novel preparations to become protagonists at TALEA. Filippo and his bartenders Federico Lombardi and Simone De Angelis have developed a staggering 200 preparations for their initial list! Further adding to the originality of TALEA, Filippo will serve his drinks seasonally but in reverse: until December using winter ingredients and after December using summer ingredients.
Sisti's drinks are completely original and he has taken his liquid kitchen concept well above and beyond what he was doing at Carlo e Camilla. Below are my highlights of the progressive drink list.
An alluring fresh and sour drink from the list is El Choncho with gin, peach water, pineapple tepache, carot leaf liqueur and chutney of fermented fruit.
My favorite drink on the list is the herbaceous and nutty Saving Grace with tonic cordial with aromatic herbs, fenugreek liqueur, blended scotch whisky, lemon and a bouquet of wild herbs.
Ghost of Classic with Farmily amaro infused with carob molasses, balsamic of rhubarb (filtered and cooked with caramel), bourbon infused with smoked pecan nuts and sour cherry egg (sweet quail egg cooked in cherry juice and citric acid) is a smooth and savory revisited Old Fashioned.
The spicy and seductive Arrested in Shanghai with forest compote, lemon, wasabi curd, kithul treacle, Plantation 3 stars rum and sweet ice with mango citronette.
The perfect breakfast Colazione al Fäviken with celery milk, gooseberry juice, bergamot flower liqueur, cream of burned cocunut and vodka. The name of the drink was inspired by the famous restaurant of Magnus Nilsson that can only be can reached after a 4 hour skidoo trip!
The floral, tart and refreshing Bubusette-Te! with long squash juice, sea bacon infusion, Verjus, lemon, tequila, and dried flowers and spirulina on the rim.
My new favorite Bloody Mary variation, the Bloody Gazpacho with pickled gazpacho, Padrón pepper relish, marmalade of yellow datterini, lemon, tequila and tuile fumé.
other beautiful drinks AT TALEA
Surfing bird with rum Plantation dark, jackfruit jam, astragalus liqueur, rouge bitters infused with patchouli.
Good Morning Earth with a beet and coffee extract, mezcal infused with verbena and Earl grey tea, vermouth with Chinese dates and wine with radish leaves served inside a frozen beet.
What's Up In Amsterdam with pisco, gin, foam of banana and saffron yogurt, camote syrup, tamarind juice infused with fennel.
Tiki Gladis with coconut milk infused with lime leaves, rum Plantation bianco infused with blackberries, tropical relish, durian orgeat and a crispy flavored rim!
Winnie goes to Talea with pollen mustard, Belgian endive extract and manzanilla, lemon, gin and beeswax.
At aperitivo time, customers can enjoy Snorky, a vase created the ceramist Caterina Amato which can be spun around allowing you to grab the various fingers foods from its stems. Customers will find things like goji berries, toasted pumpkin seeds, corn seeds and other oddities. In addition to Snorky, a charming half tree trunk is served to guests with pre-skewered baby carrots, tomatoes, celeriac and other nutritious appetizers. Last by not least, a pot of smoked potatoes with a side of horseradish mayonnaise, my favorite dish of the appetizers.
There are also a few small food dishes prepared in collaboration Giulia Ferrara of Belé. I tried the massive and fresh burrata while my friend Burri had a tasty raw beet.
The talent and passion of Filippo Sisti will leave you in awe, as will his wondrous yet accessible drink list that evoke new and gratifying emotions. I can't wait to see TALEA when it's fully operational with the secretive Vivarium, a kind of chef's table set to launch in September, serving a 90-minute tasting menu consisting of 5 cocktails paired with food dishes.
The drinks at TALEA are avant-garde, and as such may not be for the entire spectrum of cocktail drinkers. However, one guarantee is that your visit will be memorable, thanks to Filippo's hospitable team and the multi-sensory drinks and environment at TALEA.