December 7, 2014

An Italian in Hong Kong

Pin It

One of my favorite winemakers is back in town, and once again I had the good fortune to enjoy his company.  My friends invited me to lunch at Gradini, a relatively newcomer that is just literally a stone's throw from my office.  I was initially scratching my head at the decision to take an Italian to have Italian food in Hong Kong, but... whatever.  I was just happy to tag along!

Although it wasn't 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Marchese Lodovico Antinori seemed pleased with the venue.  He remarked that the decor seemed to be that of popular Roman restaurants in the 1950s or 60s, and seeing waiters dressed in white jackets seemed to reinforce the look this place was going for.

We took the brunch menu, which had us start with antipasto e panetterie.  I decided to be a good boy and only grabbed a small selection...

The asparagus was sprinkled with black pepper and pretty decent.  Nothing out of the ordinary for the salumi.  The mushrooms were OK.  The baby octopus salad was so-so, as was the prawn.

Lombo di agnello gratinato alle erbe - my friend didn't want to eat too much, and for some reason I ended up getting half her order of lamb chops.  Execution-wise these were pretty good, as the lamb was still pink inside - although I was a little surprised by the puddle of pink liquid collecting on my plate as I left the chops untouched for a while.  The herb crust was reasonably tasty, but most importantly, there was plenty of lamby fat.  I greedily picked up the bones with my hands and attempted to strip them clean of any remaining fat and tendons...

Linguini alla pescatora - I love a good seafood pasta, so this was a no-brainer.  Interestingly this came with clams (no shells), what seemed to be bouchot mussels (with shells), and prawns.  A couple of the prawns tasted a little off, which was a shame, because the sauce and everything else was certainly very delicious.

For dessert I got greedy as I wanted to taste through the small selection of cakes.  The custard of the lemon tart was nothing to write home about, but it tasted fine.  The coffee mousse cake was a little mild, but also tasted fine.  The chocolate fudge cake tasted fine, but was much too dry.

I was a total scatterbrain today and forgot to bring the key to my office, so I wasn't able to fish out a bottle I wanted drink with Lodovico.  Instead we had just the one bottle that my friend brought...

1983 Cristal - nose was slightly mature and oxidized, but still very vibrant for its age.  Initially pretty acidic on the palate, but this improved as temperature went down.  Ripe on the palate with orange marmalade, later on salty plum (話梅).  Beautiful.

It's always good to see Lodovico.  I may never understand why he's taken a liking to me, but I'm not gonna complain too much!  I look forward to our next meeting, and hope that it will be in Europe for a change.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map