Three Restaurants To Visit During Milan Fashion Week

A MILANESE ESCAPE, artist RICHARD GORMAN on his favourite FAMILY EATERY in Milan. If it is good enough for the head of HERMÈS, it’s good enough for us …

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I’ve shared my time between Dublin and Milan since 1986, and when in Milan I live in my studio where I paint. Living where you work is, I think, subtly different to working where you live. The purpose of the studio is to make things, and then I fit myself in around that.

I don’t cook anymore, so I’m lucky to have met a family of Sardinians – two brothers and a cousin – who run three restaurants, all of them on my street, the Via Fara. I eat in all three – Trattoria Il Paiolo, Trattoria Da Giovanni and La Fattoria – but Il Paiolo, the one closest to my studio, is my favourite. I probably eat there at least two or three times a week – it’s my unofficial office, where I meet everyone.

Gianni, who runs Il Paiolo, cycled from Milan to Beijing in his 50s, following
the Silk Road with a bunch of friends. He’s a character, an unreconstructed Italian man, who is old school, and likes to do things properly.

Il Paiolo serves simple Tuscan food – fish baked in salt, tagliata, squid ink risotto, homemade pastas – but it’s all about quality. Franco the chef goes to the local open-air market very early in the morning and buys all the best ingredients – the food
follows the seasons.

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It’s very much a family business, tight-knit, and they look after me well,
which I appreciate. Not only was I the one non-Italian, but also the only non-Sardinian at Gianni’s 60th birthday!

Making a scarf with Hermès recently, I was also working with a family business, a generous family, who were very civilised. It has been an interesting experience, a new process and a lovely way for a little of my work to reach an entirely different audience.

I have brought all kinds of people to Il Paiolo, including the head of Hermès when he came to Milan, and even he was impressed – he sent his team in when they were in town for the fashion fairs, so of course Gianni and his family looked after them just as well as they continue to look after me.

Il Paiolo, Via Fara, 20124, Milan, Italy.

ORLA DUKES

This article appeared in a previous issue of THE GLOSS Magazine, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Saturday March 4.

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