Devouring deconstructed “carbonara” in a space cocoon is not a daily occurrence, but then there’s something boundless about the ambitions at The Stellar, the restaurant, cocktail bar and events space that has set tongues wagging at Granaio dell’Abbondanza, the former urban granary and army barracks transformed into a hub for coworking and socializing.
Taste the Future is the slogan here in piazza di Cestello. The mood is sedate on Monday lunchtime as we settle into the plush emerald-tone cushions in the puzzle-pattern wooden cage centrepiece, although we’re told that the place is packed most nights, despite the recent opening. Motivational messages embellish neutral canvases on the walls and stainless steel chargers are etched with constellations, offset with spring-like flowers in simple glass vases.
Paolo Parisi’s eggs, Laura Peri’s ducks and lardo di Colonnata: Tuscan chef Luigi Bonadonna (previously Chalet Fontana and Ristorante Santa Elisabetta, plus Michelin-star experiences with Luca Landi, Damiano Nigro and Antonio Guida) bases his food on the best local ingredients as the menu is changed completely every three months, but specials appear as and when produce becomes available to include seasonal variations: “What I love about Tuscany is the biodiversity in terms of ingredients, history and culture.”
While we’re chatting, two antipasti are served: a decadent chicken liver pate with a delicious cherry brioche, onions and vin santo jus as well as a delicately flavoured amberjack tartare, squid ink onion puree, polenta chips, pickled autumnal vegetables and beetroot foam. The quail self-sauced with its own egg and airy foie gras mousse has the intensity of a main course dressed up as a starter; it’s a standout dish that pairs with the austere private label Etna Rosso from Inessa, courtesy of the restaurant’s partnership with resident wine company Vino.com, whose offices sprawl across the first floor. Bonadonna’s My Carbonara 3.0 sparks conversation (we’ve been joined for lunch by food entrepreneur Gabriele Corcos). The pasta itself has been made using pecorino cheese, which melts into the sauce and the yolk is hard-boiled and grated on top, along with a wafer-thin slice of smoked pancetta. It’s utterly moreish— at this point, we’re doing the scarpetta, mopping up every last drop with the freshly baked bread—but the question of whether it warrants the carbonara moniker remains up for discussion.
“We’re not placing restrictions on what we do,” replies the chef when I ask, mid-bite, whether there are plans in the works to provide catering to the vast conference and meetings setup in the admirably restored basement. “The Stellar is a place where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and dinner; it’s a place that is open to everyone.” Indeed, the whole catering arrangement resembles a hotel without rooms.
The winsome restaurant also caters to the 400-plus in-house creatives with a Startup Lunch (nevertheless available to all), featuring nutritious dishes like salmon poke, cream, ham and pea gnocchi, and grilled octopus with potato mash for just over 10 euro, including a glass of wine for tipsy inspiration and coffee to recharge the grey matter.
Average spend 45 euro. Open Monday-Friday 8.30am-midnight; Saturday 5pm-midnight
Piazza di Cestello 10
+39 331 1358259