Castel di Sangro

Research-driven minimalist Italian cooking


On the Pass

Niko Romito

Simple but effective: Reale places huge emphasis on the world of plants, with a cuisine style that looks to leave guests in awe – succeeding with nearly every mouthful. The food is the result of profound technical research: for each ingredient, all possible nuances are dissected to find the optimum potential for its combination. The minimalism on the plate belies the complexity of flavour at play. With dishes like ‘Carrot’, ‘Courgette’, and ‘Cauliflower’ (depending on the time of year), there is much more beyond their modest names.

Don’t skip the bread: The same attention is devoted to bread. At Reale, it’s not just as an accompaniment, but an individual course in its own right. Over the years, chef Niko Romito has carried out lengthy studies on fermentation, flours – ancient Saragolla wheat is the secret here – and dough’s molecular composition. The result is a bread that has become the benchmark for its category.

What’s on the plate? Dishes, such as the lamb with sheep milk and cinnamon sauce, are designed to challenge the palate and senses. Its course of a singular broccoli leaf, served simply with an anise sauce, demonstrates the power and scope of Romito’s minimalist vision and scientific precision.

Traditional setting, modern technique: Housed in a 16th Century monastery surrounded by greenery, Reale is the beating heart of the Niko Romito ‘system’, a laboratory where research is carried out every day to create new dishes, as well as to offer continuous training for the restaurant staff.