Imbued with a subtle, post-industrialist atmosphere that speaks to the surrounding city's history, the restaurant has settled into a former printing house in Turin, Italy.
BY ELLIOTT BUELER
Architect Fabio Fantolino understands that resurrecting a historic structure requires a thread-the-needle balance. “I found it challenging to enhance the personality of the space without disturbing its original soul,” says Fantolino of the abandoned printing house that would become Dash Kitchen, an upscale lounge-pub in Turin, Italy’s vibrant San Salvario district.
The space had plenty of soul, and even a skeleton; what it lacked was a body, so owner Massimo De Cristofaro turned to native son Fantolino to usher in its rebirth with the charge of preserving the past. “I saw a blank canvas, without limits and boundaries behind the little door facing the square,” says De Cristofaro. “I know Fantolino’s work and gave him complete freedom.”
A graduate of the prestigious architecture program at the Politecnico di Torino nearby, Fantolino knows the city, both its tumultuous history—a boom-and-bust cycle that saw companies like Fiat and Michelin come and go—and recent strides to embrace a post-industrial identity shaped by creatives. So when he was asked to stake Dash Kitchen’s place in Turin’s renaissance, he knew harnessing the city’s kinetic energy would be key. “The biggest and most known metropoles are important sources of inspiration for me,” he says. “Their designs evolve continuously, and everything changes quickly.”
To avoid becoming a flash in the pan amid Turin’s frenetic landscape, Fantolino considered every surface and material when creating the design. While the original brutalist approach takes center stage across walls and columns, its rawness is contrasted with elegant black-and-white Rosso Levanto marble, which marks passage to the more intimate areas. He extends the juxtaposing themes by using chrome fixtures and unloading his entire pallet of furniture finishes, including assorted velvets and black leather in the Alcantara lounge chairs and sofas. In less adroit hands there’s a risk of it all coming off as a stylistic cacophony. In Fantolino’s, the result is something that, for him, approaches a complex sort of perfection, thanks to the equilibrium between brutalist aesthetics and refined reinterpretation of the ’70s.
While much of an architect’s work is destined to go unnoticed, Fantolino’s hope is that patrons who come for the beer-infused ceviches and carpaccios or to sample the extensive craft brew selection leave appreciating that every detail was thoughtfully considered, from the building’s history to the chef’s innovative thinking. After all, the fate of the restaurant’s soul rests on it. Fantolino and de Cristofaro hope to see that soul grow to become an old one.
Dish by Alessandro Ferrero
INSPIRED BY DASH
The restaurant’s harmonious merger of an industrial aesthetic with sophisticated décor is reflected through all facets of this carefully executed dish, which pairs unlikely cooking methods and presentation styles to create a recipe worthy of any brutalist appetite.
The Mediterranean red shrimp are prepared using two equally complimentary cooking methods: steaming and frying. The former is a traditional method of preserving an authentic flavor, while the latter, a way of enhancing taste and texture. Hues of tender wild herbs evoke the supple velvets and Alcantara-upholstered furniture, while the beer-battered ochre coloring pays homage to the interior’s walnut finishes. This dish’s herbal ingredients balance the weight of the battered shrimp, just like the heavy architecture is offset by elegant design touches at Dash.
Peel the Mediterranean red shrimp, removing all of the carapace except the tail. Steam the shrimp until the flesh turns white. At the same time, carefully prepare the batter by stirring an egg with barley flour, salt, pepper, and Oyster Stout beer.
Dip the shrimp in the batter and then in boiling oil, frying them until golden (approximately three minutes on each side). Remove the fried shrimp from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Chlorophyll of wild herbs
Blend the wild herbs with cold water, at a proportion of one part herbs to two parts water. Filter the mixture with a fine mesh strainer.
Stirring continuously, move the mixture to a pot and bring the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the heat, and as the mixture begins congealing (at around 149 degrees to 155 degrees Fahrenheit), filter it through a cloth laid on a strainer over ice. Let the liquid filter slowly, and pick up the remaining chlorophyll with a spoon.
Alessandro Ferrero is the executive chef at Dash Kitchen.
8 Mediterranean red shrimp
9 tbs barley flour
1/2 glass Oyster Stout beer
Wild Herbs Chlorophyll
500 g wild herbs
1000 ml water