It's been a while since I last saw the Specialist and the Alcoholics, and she pinged me a couple of weeks ago to try to schedule a dinner. Apparently Chef Angelo Aglianó has come back to Hong Kong and recently opened up Locanda dell'Angelo, and as she had been a fan of Angelo's, she wanted to give it a try. I had paid a few visits to Angelo during his years in Taipei - both at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon as well as his own Angelo Aglianó Restaurant. I had been wondering as to his whereabouts after the latter restaurant closed when he wasn't getting enough traction in Taipei. Now I know.
Da Jam had just visited the restaurant last week and published his review, so I had been warned about a particular dish to avoid. I dutifully relayed his message to the Specialist, and picked out what I wanted to try before I stepped foot in the restaurant tonight.
The restaurant is in the same space as Dai Siu Yeh (大少爺), a cha chaan teng (茶餐廳) I used to frequent during the years I lived in Happy Valley - since I lived on the very same block. The layout is very different now... Instead of having the kitchen all the way in the back, it now takes up half of the narrow space at the front of the restaurant. This means the dining space is one long and narrow strip, and can only accommodate tables of four that are tight on space near the entrance. For a bigger party like ourselves, we ended up being put in Siberia - all the way at the back. This kinda sucked for us, as it became a little tough to get the attention of the staff. We were also right next to the air conditioning vents, so at times yeah, maybe it did feel like we were in Siberia...
I arrived a couple of minutes after the appointed time, and the rest of the gang were already chowing down on some starters... The carpaccio di manzo classico con rucola e Parmigiano, salsa leggera alla mostarda was fine.
Oh and this is where we get our WTF moment of the evening. One of the bowls still had a lobster claw left untouched, and somehow our over-eager manager figured that we must not want it anymore. We stared in stunned silence as he nonchalantly whisked it away. It took a couple of minutes for us to get his attention again to tell him that we wanted it back. Sigh... If you're in service - even if you were working in a casual cafe - you NEVER, EVER take plates away from a customer without asking first.
Then came our second round of dishes, with three primi piatti:
I gave the Specialist a choice of 4 wines that I could bring from my limited stock in the office - knowing full well that she would scoff at 3 of them - and wasn't the least bit surprised when I was asked to bring the
1975 Massandra Rose Muscat - having tasted some of Massandra's dessert wines before, I knew that this was gonna be deathly sweet. At 24.3% sugar, this has easily 50% more sugar than something like Yquem... Pure honey and sugarcane, with a hint of savory notes like salty plum (話梅).