Last night, a small group of media and lucky patrons of Manresa and The Bywater gathered inside Campbell’s Manresa Bread for a sneak peak at what Santa Cruz resident David Kinch of three Michelin-starred Manresa will be serving at his forthcoming restaurant, Mentone. The team, which includes executive chef Matthew Bowden, is eyeing a winter for the Aptos restaurant, which focuses on the Italian-French cuisine of the Riviera, and specifically, the town of Menton.
Kinch, donning an ascot and leather vest, split his time between the dining room, where he chatted with customers and friends, and the kitchen, where he consulted with Bowden on the five-course pop up menu. Overall, the food was fresh and unfussy; elevated home-cooking utilitzing local and seasonal ingredients. Pricing at Mentone will be reasonably-priced to match, with pizzas and pastas in the $15-$22 range. It will feature a full bar with Italian and California wines and Mugnaini wood-fired pizza oven.
The dinner started with fresh-baked gnocco fritto, a puffed, fried and hollow savory dough, with pristine proscuitto for stuffing. There will be three different types of custom-made charcuterie on the restaurant menu, including a Mangalitsa culatello that is 22 months old.
Gnoccho frito with charcuterie at Mentone pop up at Manresa Bread in Campbell. (David Spiegelman)
A bright red “Ciuppin” broth came next. Served in an espresso cup, the fish-based tomato broth featured hints of coriander and cumin laced with pernod and vermouth. It was a stunner — perfect for those cold Aptos days — and will be the base for the restaurant’s cioppino, which will incorporate abalone and crab at market price. The third course, Pissaladiere, a Provencal dish akin to pizza but with a thicker crust, featured the traditional toppings of briny black olives, anchovies and caramelized onions. Loved the flavors but it was a bit on the dry side. It will be priced under $10.
Pissaladiere with olive, anchovy and onion at Mentone Pop Up at Manresa Bread in Campbell. (David Spiegelman)
For the pasta course, they served Trenette al Pesto. Similar to linguine or fettucine, the handmade pasta was tossed in a traditional bright green pesto with a hidden dollop of avocado puree at the base of the dish. But it was a classic Chicken Fricasse that had everyone oohing and ahhing. The chicken thigh, with perfectly crisp skin browned in olive juice and maybe a bit of sherry, was accompanied by turnips, Castelvetrano olives and pureed potatoes.
Chicken Fricasse with olives, turnips and potatoes was among the tasty dishes served at the Mentone pop up Thursday at Manresa Bread in Campbell. (Photo: Kelly Bylsma)
Check back for updates on the casual, family-friendly restaurant. Staff at the pop-up told us the restaurant may open as early as January. Mentone will feature a full bar with Italian and California wines a and Mugnaini wood-fired pizza oven.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle