Inspired by the energy of London’s small food markets, META is a new culinary concept in Milan, spearheaded by the “twenty-something entrepreneurs” Ludovico Leopardi and Leo Schieppati. Just like its name, a portmanteau of the words ‘merging’ and ‘taste’, META sees the joining together of five temporary food outlets under the one roof. Cuisine-lovers who step inside META this month will discover the street-food restaurant (named Uovodiseppia) by Michelin Star chef Pino Cuttaia; the Young Rice diner, whose mission is to cook rice in innovative ways; an experimental food outlet, called Rare, where cooking methods include infrared technology; the Gusto 17 ice-cream shop; and Orsonero Coffee – one of Milan’s most popular espresso shops.
Located at Via Bonvesin de la Riva in Milan’s Zona Risorgimento, META features eight street-facing windows. It’s an outlook that was made famous by the old restaurant of master-chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who is credited for transforming the peninsula’s cuisine and training some of Italy’s best chefs. Inside the building, META’s open space is overlooked by the kitchens of the restaurants and accompanied by the retail room that houses Orsonero Coffee.
Orsonero Coffee at META in Milan by David/Nicolas
Zooming in on Orsonero, the interiors of the coffee spot were imagined by Beirut-based firm David/Nicolas, made up of design duo David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem. The award-winning team has created a vibrant atmosphere that plays up the contrast between the dark timber panelling and the neon batons on the walls, together exuding an overall sense of warmth.
The bustling space is made even more dynamic by the sweeping lines of the cafe’s service counter. Crowned by a thick polished-steel top, the counter lures in customers on the hunt for their daily brew. They gather in close to the glimmering espresso machines that are signed by high-end Italian manufacturer La Marzocco.
A cult-status coffee shop in Milan thanks to its many alternative extraction methods, Orsonero Coffee is managed by Canadian barista Brent Jopson. He’s a pioneer of Milan’s “Third Wave” coffee movement and, together with his team, offers customers specialty coffees as well as viennoiseries by day. Of an evening, the cafe shifts to serving aperitivo, including craft beers sourced from local micro-breweries.
But the innovations presented by Orsonero and META at-large aren’t just about the bricks-and-mortar retail format. The new-age food court is joined by a high-tech delivery platform, accessible via both app and web-browser, enabling users to place a single order from different outlets in one go. The delivery service relies on electric scooters, zero-impact packaging and cutting-edge sustainable practices, positioning META as a one-of-a-kind food collective that’s on a mission to reshape Milan’s culinary scene.
Crowned by a thick polished-steel top, the counter lures in customers on the hunt for their daily brew.