Atelier Renata

Atelier Renata (Marseille)

© Atelier Renata

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In these times of wild inflation, there’s a new Robin Food to the rescue, delighting the palates of the rich with the food of peasants… A self-proclaimed cucina povera spot that serves €55 set menus? Our pension plan was side-eyeing our appetite, that’s how excessive the oxymoron felt. Once you’ve made it past the granny smith apple green door and a handful of steps, the aromas wafting out from Atelier Renata (named after owner Erika Blu’s grandmother) nevertheless hinted at a great Italian dinner…. This self-taught Roman-Venetian chef who’s lived across Italy before setting up shop in Marseille (Jogging, Camas-Sutra) now serves sentimental food in this former artist studio that’s been made over into a cozy dining room with a Persian rug, jars of sauce on shelves, family photos, a range cooker and a grand piano – around which people gather to sing at the end of the night. The other evening, sent out to the lone communal table: a lovely revisited maritozzo with whipped burrata and stracciatella, topped with salt-cured anchovy; palourde clams stewed in a tomato broth that’ll have you licking the plate clean; clementine-marinated cime di rapa swirled among a delicate purple potato purée with scamorza, all sweetened by the addition of orange blossom; homemade cappelletti in thick chicken broth with bone marrow and Parmesan – or, for the vegetarians, a once-in-a-lifetime pasta dish – perfectly al dente tubettini cooked directly in the tomato sauce made from preserved summer tomatoes and topped with a few anchovies and capers, enlivened by a good twist of the (verbena) pepper mill; and to round out the meal, an excellent millefeuille prepared by the pastry chef Alessandra Natelia (ex-Pierre Hermé), who also works front-of-house. The king is dead, long live cucina povera! // Gwen Jacquère  

FEELING THIRSTY? A dozen natural, transalpine wines: Lautizio, a fruity red by the Umbrian winery Collecapretta (€7 a glass), Saignée, a deep rosé from the Sicilian winemaker Aldo Viola (€53 a bottle), Gagà, a briny Venetian white from Santa Colomba (€38), a Tridentine pet’ nat’ from La Cantina Furlani (€33)… 
PRICE: Set menu €55. 

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