Why “Il Cudega”

Who or what is Carlo Cudega?

…in the 18th century Milan was badly lit, so the upper classes would have a servant called “il Carlo Cudega” accompany them with a lantern in order to make light at night.
The name derives from the greek odegos, the name given to servant that accompanied clients with the umbrellas in case of rain and to gentleman taking girlfriends home after theatre.

Il Cudega is first of all a thought, a little sparkle in the head of a few people always passionate – for pleasure and for work – about the good food and drinks of the Italian land of Lombardy.
In a sense we aim to be the great grandchildren of the two great character from Lombardy, Gianni Brera and Luigi Veronelli, that with their ground-breaking book La Pacciada Mangiarebere in Pianura Padana (Mondadori, 1973) led to the rediscovery of the food, drink and popular culture of Lombardy and of the Po Valley.
This thought is the grandson also of all the people that still nowadays produce outstanding food according to the timeless tradition of this land, between the Alps, the hills and the Po valley, and that through passion and hardship can make us taste in their cheeses, prosciutti and salami, the unique flavour of their land, their culture and their commitment to tradition. In time we hope that will be able to give attention to all of them.
All the parents of this thought are committed to research, select and promote the produce (and relevant producers) and the dishes, that, through the expert use of the raw materials, the timeless recipes and techniques, are able to select, transform and offer to the world what comes from the land of Lombardy.
It can happen that someone in our circle of family, friends and city dwellers, by tasting a salame, cheese or a risotto gets surprised and excited: it’s a sign that we have hit the target, that even in our commodified society, the palate can differentiate; everything else – mind and heart – follows.

Only time will tell how this “child” will grow up to be: it could remain a small gathering of friends, or it could grow up to be a meeting of many more people, friends of this (child) thought that eating and drinking well helps to live a better life (even if only a little bit), and that, as Gianni Brera wrote, “many of the recipes invented in Lombardy are world class”.
From today the paternity of this thought is shared between the friends of “il Cudega” and of “La Confraternita del Cudega”, that will be the advocates of this tasting initiative and of the promotion of some of these extraordinary products.
From tomorrow, through different initiatives, the paternity of this thought can be shared with everyone. We particularly welcome any request, proposal and recommendation.

Luca e Giovanni

OUR FOOD
We are a typical restaurant in London. At il Cudega you will be able to taste food produce and wine that will highlight the excellence of the Lombard cuisine. You will discover very little known wine producing areas (like Oltrepo’ Pavese e Valtellina) and unknown exiting new dishes like Raspadura (soft Grana Padano from Lodi), Slinzega (special type of Bresaola from Valtellina), delicious goose prosciutto from Oltrepo’ Pavese, Risotto Giallo Saltato (saffron risotto fried into a thin layer) and so on.
il Cudega is also about the re-discovery of the dishes and tastes from our distant childhood. From the ‘Risotto Giallo alla Milanese’ that reminds Luca of waking up every Sunday morning with the smell of his Nonna’s soffritto, to the delicious taste of Zabaione (a dessert made with egg yolk, sugar and Marsala wine) that Giovanni used to eat as a 10 years old, we want to il Cudega to propose what is really special to us.

The Deli
Other than the typical restaurant in London, the deli area will offer most of the food that is available for consumption on location, plus classic Italian food staple like pasta, panettoni, olive oils, biscotti, cakes and so on.

Families with kids
Il Cudega will aim to cater for local families as well, by having a very affordable kid’s menu during breakfast, lunch and merenda (teatime snack for kids). Giovanni is married with two kids, and have been living in the East End for the last 20 years, and therefore very aware of the lack of eating places in the local area that are sympathetic to families with children.

Slow Food
A lot of the food and wine that will be offered to il Cudega’s clientele will be originating from small Slow Food producers. It is therefore also our long term aim to became a place of food/wine excellence by being a “condotta Slow Food”. Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. It was founded in 1989 in Italy.

” L’AQUA FA MAL, LA BEV DUMA’ LA GENT DE L’USPEDAL “

Water is bad for you, is drank only by people in hospital

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ADDRESS
Railway Arch 358, Westgate Street, London, E8 3RN
OPENING TIMES
Sunday to Tuesday
10am to 6pm
Wednesday to Saturday
10am to 4pm & 6pm to 10.30pm