Two-Michelin-starred chef Massamiliano Mascia made a guest appearance at Shangri-La Kowloon’s Italian restaurant, Angelini, for a short three days, March 9th to 11th. Known for his preference of simple ingredients to create complex flavours, Chef Mascia made his Hong Kong debut an impressive one. (The review’s a bit long; here’s a quick summary of the meal.)
Chef Mascia created special lunch and dinner menus based on fresh local ingredients. Guests were able to choose dishes from the menu for a three-course, four-course, or five-course meal in both cases. Lunch cost HK$360, $430, and $560 respectively, while dinner cost HK$880, $980, and $1080 respectively. I had a reservation for lunch on Tuesday, March 10th; online booking showed the tables were full, but we could get a reservation by calling.
The entrance to the restaurant is at the end of a hallway of conference rooms on the Mezzanine floor of the hotel. The well-lighted restaurant has large windows facing Victoria Harbour, and the tables are placed fairly close together, no more than two meters apart. The chairs are fairly large and comfortable, and the guests seem to be relaxed. The guests also are a louder and more varied crowd, with the majority of the walk-ins dressed neat but casual.
Bread was served after we placed an order, with two delicious sauces: a sun-dried tomato sauce, and spread-like mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. All three types of bread served were delicious both with and without the dips, but the balsamic dip was definitely a concoction I had to finish.
The first course involved raw sweet shrimp, something much more common in sushi than in Western cuisine. Its sweetness was complemented by the flavourful bacon – bacon that was not very salty and had a good smokey taste. The “pea emulsion” was thick and delicious but didn’t taste all that much like peas; instead it was a little like a cream of pea. Every piece came together in a smooth combination of flavours.
Next came a sweet roasted scallop. It sat on a nest of cooked spinach, which did not taste like anything special, but the potato cream and the crispy leeks were nice. The leeks were fried in olive oil, and tasted more like the olive oil than leek (which was not a bad thing).
The third course, ravioli, came with a Parmesan chip wedged into each piece. Though there were only three pieces of ravioli, the ricotta was heavy and quite filling. The flavours blended perfectly with the olive oil drops on the dish, but without the oil the ravioli ricotta came across a bit salty. The spinach bits in the ravioli gave the pleasant texture of a soft leafy crunch, with just a hint of a green aroma in each bite. The ravioli skin also was consistent and easy to eat.
Then came veal cheek, so tender that the meat came apart with no effort. The polenta (which the serving waitress called ‘mashed potatoes’) was cheesy, made with Pecorino di Fossa (sheep’s cheese). The texture of the polenta actually did not feel cheesy or sticky – the Pecorino was simply very pungent and almost overwhelming. The veal still held its own, and balanced out the taste of the polenta.
The dessert course of the meal, ‘Flan al Cioccolato,’ was translated as “Chocolate Flan” in English. This was not the flan we expected, not a pudding or a custard. As it turns out, Italian flan is chocolate lava cake. The crust of the brownie-cake was a good soft-crunch texture. The candied raspberries and raspberry sauce that came with the “flan” was very flavourful without being overly sweet. The pear sorbet on the side was delightfully peary.
Coffee was served after dessert, with a choice of a latte or espresso. It came with a buttery almond and pistachio biscotti, smooth enough to be eaten without being dipped.
We did order a bottle of dessert wine near the end of the meal. There were six total wine options, with two whites and three reds all chosen from vineyards near Chef Mascia’s hometown. The wine we chose was sweet and easy to drink even though the alcohol level by volume was on the higher side.
Service was great, for the most part: the host and managers were very courteous and responsive. Chef Mascia came out to greet each of the tables near the end of lunch service. The one thing the waiters could have improved on was the water-pouring: when pouring from bottles, they poured too quickly and let a bit of the water splash out of the cup. It felt a bit careless.
Overall, Angelini and Chef Mascia provided excellent food and an enjoyable experience. I am inclined to return to Angelini to try the food prepared by their regular chef.
|Bread & dips||5/5|
|Emulsione di piselli, gamberi e pancetta croccante (Shrimp)||5/5|
|Noci di cappesante arrostite, crema di patata allo zafferano e porri croccanti (Scallop)||4/5|
|Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci, crema di parmigiano reggiano all’ olio extravergine d’ oliva (Ravioli)||4/5|
|Guanciale di vitello cotto a bassa temperatura con ragu di funghi allo scalogno (Veal)||5/5|
|Flan al cioccolato con sorbetto alle pere (Dessert)||4/5|
|Menu Cost ($$$$$)||4/5|
Emulsione di piselli, gamberi e pancetta croccante
Green pea emulsion, prawns and crispy bacon
Noci di cappesante arrostite, crema di patata allo zafferano e porri croccanti
Roasted scallops, saffron flavoured potato cream and crispy leeks
Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci, crema di parmigiano reggiano all’ olio extravergine d’ oliva
Homemade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and spinach, parmesan cheese cream with extra virgin olive oil
Guanciale di vitello cotto a bassa temperatura con ragu di funghi allo scalogno
Slow-cooked veal cheek, mushroom ragout and shallots
Flan al cioccolato con sorbetto alle pere
Chocolate flan with pear sorbet
Caffe o Te
Coffee or Tea
Albana di Rogmagna, Passito Colle del Re, Umberto Cesari, 2004
HK$168 per glass, or HK$680 per bottle
64 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, HK
Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner: 18:30 – 23:00
Reservations: (852) 2733 8750