Image 1: Palace of Venaria (Reggia di Venaria Reale)

Image 2: Sunday morning, we arrived at this 17th century royal residence and now part of the UNESCO Heritage.

Image 3: It is quite a large palace, similar size as Versailles.

Image 5: Two hours weren't enough to explore everything here, but we had a more important exploration!

Image 6: "Sweet New Style" is the name. We found the sign near the entrance of the palace. We rang the doorbell, went through the gate, entered a small doorway, up the elevator...

Image 7: ...and into a totally different world. What could be better than to end a historical palace visit with an innovative regional fine dining!

Image 8: Chef: Alfredo Russo
Tasting: €90 (9-course) €70 (7-course)
À la carte: About €25 first course and €30 main
Closed on Sunday dinner and Monday, and a few weeks in the summer and Christmas.

Image 9: Spacious dining room with lots of natural light.

Image 11: Chef Alfredo's signature is everywhere and he comes out to greet every guest as they arrive.

Image 12: Our server placed a long metal box filled with olive and tomato crackers and interesting deep fried Italian pasta of various shapes on our table!

Image 13: Then a tray of bread: plain, brown, fried, onion, rosemary, etc.

Image 14: And even four types of butter! Plain, salt & pepper, green onion, and anchovy. Impressive!

Image 15: First course, an Oyster Ice Cream!

Image 16: This was great stuff! One of the most unique ice cream ever and cleverly served on its shell.

Image 17: So far, Chef Russo set a very high innovative tone for the meal. It made this Tomato Eggplant Terrine looked rather simple!

Image 18: Then things got a bit too ordinary - red mullet with artichoke underneath. Nice flaky flesh though!

Image 19: Fork-tender veal tail with herb sauce. The last few courses were flawless in terms of ingredients and flavours, but I just expected more a twist to the meal!

Image 20: A cube of rabbit meat garnished with fried onion accompanied by red onion ice cream. The ice cream had a strong deep flavour but I was confused - was this supposed to be a cold dish or a hot dish? The meat became cold by serving it beside an ice cream and the ice cream was melting fast because of the warm meat!

Image 21: Onto pasta - a beautiful nest of al dente spaghetti on pesto sauce with mussel on top. Simply delicious!

Image 22: One of the signature dishes of Chef Russo, "white pasta" with parmesan mousse. The plating resembled to lasagne, but it was actually alternating layers of fine pasta and egg yolk covered by an airy parmesan mousse. A very rich and cheesy course!

Image 23: More pasta tasting - A classic ravioli with white truffles. You can't go wrong with white truffles on pasta! Excellent!

Image 24: For main course, fassone beef neck with tomato. Again, simple but tasty!

Image 25: Piedmontese fassone beef is famous for being lean and tender but flavoursome at the same time!

Image 26: An intense coffee granita as a quick refreshment before sampling a variety of desserts.

Image 27: Starting with mint panna cotta, mint ice cream, mint mousse and caramelized mint. Absolutely a great dessert - light and refreshing!

Image 28: Sweet grape mousse - another amazing light dessert. The deep tangy-sweetness was spot on!

Image 29: Now a stronger dessert. Covered in a foamy sweet sabayon with moscato...

Image 30: ... with a mixture of gingerbread crumbs, raisin, and chocolate at the bottom.

Image 31: Our final dessert -- Chocolate Coffee Ball.

Image 32: I think the chocolate sauce was supposed to be much hotter in order to melt the thin chocolate sphere!

Image 33: Hiding inside the sphere was a bitter coffee ice cream with biscuit at the bottom. An incredible powerful dessert to end our meal. We did enjoy the progression of the desserts!

Image 34: Wow, a wide selection of tea...

Image 35: ... and sugar!

Image 37: With 7 types of bread, 4 types of butter, 30 types of tea, and 4 types of sugar, I knew it wouldn't be a weak petits-fours!

Image 38: Overall, though I did expect a more inventive cuisine, it was an enjoyable meal and it's hard to beat such a magnificent location.

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