August 8, 2014

Quando, Giando, quando

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For various reasons which are fair or unfair, certain parts of Hong Kong are treated as culinary "deadzones" by my pea-sized brain.  I just simply don't think of those areas whenever I'm looking for a place to eat.  This, of course, comes from habit which is ever-shifting with the times.  There was a period during the earlier part of my life in Hong Kong where I frequented northern Wanchai a lot - and spent a considerable amount of time at the Grand Hyatt.  Those days are long gone with the departure of certain friends, so nowadays I rarely find myself in that neighborhood.

So it's not surprising that I never had occasion to dine at Giando, since its location at Fenwick Pier is even more awkward than even the Grand Hyatt.  When a friend - who is obviously a big fan of the place - found out, she promptly organized a lunch so we could catch up.

I have a big dinner tonight, so the original plan was to keep it light and order only one pasta dish.  But the set lunch looked reasonably priced, and I did want to try out something else, so we all decided to go for it.  The two ladies whose company I had the pleasure of enjoying also wanted to share a starter together.

Burrata di bufala con insalata di pomodori misti - yes, this is what fresh burrata should be - creamy and semi-liquid inside the solid "bag".  The marinated piece of eggplant was OK, but what stole the show were the Italian tomatoes.  These were soooo incredibly sweet that I seriously wondered if the chef had soaked them in a bowl of sugar water.

Insalata di gamberi, anguria e pomodori - the shrimps were bigger than I expected, and also a lot crunchier than expected.  In addition to cucumbers and tomatoes, the cubes of watermelon made this a very summery dish.  Nice touch with the basil and pistachio.  Was there a sprinkle of oregano, too?

Rigatoni all'amatriciana - how do I resist anything made with guanciale?!  Of course I can't, so this was chosen over a couple of other very attractive options.  Loved the tomato and pork cheek, but the pasta was a little inconsistent.  Some of it was fully cooked, while others ranged from being a little al dente to borderline undercooked.  Still enjoyed it, though!

Sorbetto alla pesce - the Italian peach sorbet was really smooth and nice.  Perfect ending to my lunch.

I was a little more stuffed than I had wanted to be, but I couldn't complain too much.  Perhaps I can find my way back here a little more often and run through their pasta selection, as the ladies seemed to have enjoyed their choices.  But what really might make a difference for me could be the Mercato by Giando downstairs that sells all sorts of yummy stuff... and I promptly went to pick up some Italian tomatoes like datterino on the vine.  I immediately realized why Wilson Da Jam said that he would go broke if he didn't stop shopping there...

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