Piemonte has been in zona gialla (yellow zone) for a couple of weeks now, which has been an excellent Christmas present as I’ve actually been able to do a bit of exploration in and around Bra.
Although there are some fabulous restaurants here, there’s very much a focus on regional cooking and at this point I need a little break from carne cruda, vitello tonnato and panna cotta. When Giorgia suggested Poormanger, we (Shiho, Haven and I) were thrilled. A unique restaurant that appeals to everyone’s dietary restrictions (vegetarians, vegans and gluttons alike), I was excited to give it a go!
Poormanger’s mission is simple: reinvent the potato and breathe life into it by using amazing Italian ingredients. Each giant potato is seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and then that’s where the fun begins. From cheeses to meats to greens to crudo, there’s not a stuffed potato on the menu that won’t intrigue you. In fact, I had quite the difficult time choosing just one potato. Despite contemplating ordering two, that would have been a lot of food!!
I’m going to be honest when I saw the salsiccia cruda di vitello di Bra, rucola e grana on the menu, I felt a little warm and tingly inside. That’s my new home sweet home. But while I was fond of seeing my town being represented, I decided to let Bra keep serving me raw sausage and let Torino serve me something more exotic.
Ultimately, my hunger got the best of me and I ordered something that spoke more to comfort than excitement, but it was unreal regardless. Next time, however, I would love to try the Tomino al forno, speck e fichi secchi caramellati al balsamico. The strong, sharp flavour matched with smoked speck and sugary, glazed figs sounds like a potato paradise that I want to get lost in. This jacket potato has my name on it and I can’t wait to try it next time!
But, that’s not to say that I wasn’t completely obsessed with what we did order! A range of healthy and heavier fare, each jacket potato was almost better than the next!
Porri, crema di zucca, nocciole
Creamy, dreamy and a vegan lover’s dream, I loved the aesthetic of green leeks against the vibrant orange colour of the sweet potatoes. PLus, the toasted nuts added a fabulous level of texture and crunch
Ragù alla bolognese, besciamella e grana
Essentially this was a lasagna stuffed inside of a potato, which was incredible! The definition of comfort food for the soul, the freshly made ragù had so much depth in flavour and the creamy bechamel seems to make each bite of this potato melt in my mouth. Absolutely una bomba!
Carbonara con crema al tuorlo d'uovo, guanciale croccante, pecorino e pepe
An extremely decadent choice, this isn’t a potato for the faint of heart! Salty, crispy guanciale perfectly offset the richness of the egg yolks. If you closed your eyes I bet you couldn’t tell that you were eating potatoes instead of a plate of pasta.
Burrata, valeriana e crema di pomodori secchi
This was one of the lighter options, but by no means was it at all lacking in flavour. In fact, it might have just been my favourite bite of the day! Cutting into that fresh Italian burrata, milky goodness oozed into the potato and made the dish all the more luxurious while the fresh greens and acidic tomatoes helped create the perfect equilibrium. Truly, insanely delicious!
While Poormanger has a fantastic dessert menu including crowd favourites like panna cotta and tiramisu, I think I have quite the business opportunity for this brand (contact me Poormanger lol!) and that’s introducing a dessert potato. Just think, a sweet potato stuffed with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with marshmallows just like a sweet potato pie!
Although I was too inspired with my own sweet potato idea to order something sweet, I did end our super satisfying lunch with an espresso. It was at this point, when I discovered Poormanger’s signature sugar packets that read: “A potato a day keeps the doctor away.” Amen.
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Have you ever been to a restaurant like this? Definitely give it a go if you ever find yourself in Torino!