The Marcopolo Hotel in TST is one of those sleepers, at least for lazy-ass island folks. It’s not somewhere usually talked about when it comes to dining with views, that accolade tending to go to Aqua/Hutong, the Intercon or Peninsula. But Cucina boasts some of the finest views of the harbour anywhere, along with genuinely excellent Italian cuisine from the affable Turin native Andrea Delzanno. All told, it’s worth a reassessment next time you have visitors in town.
Things didn’t start off auspiciously however, with a truly bad cocktail. It tasted of Sprite and not much else, so just as well there was the magical view behind it. Thereafter, however, dinner proved to be one of the best Italian meals in Hong Kong in some time. To the sounds of jazz funk and Curtis Mayfield, after good breads with the usual dipping suspects, came burrata from Puglia with Parma ham, Sicilian tomatoes and aged balsamico.
What a simple but brilliant cocktail of flavours and produce, all of Italy on a Plate. The burrata was almost liquid, in the best possible way. Serious sourcing at play with prime ingredients.
The pasta course on the carnivore side bought ‘Linguine ai gamberi rossi di mazara del vallo con la loro salsa ridotta e pomodorini freschi’, or linguine with Sicilian red prawns, shell reduction sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes. Now this was not a cheap plate ($368 à la carte), but nor should it have been. And it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the eye-watering price at Ee Da Lee from Harlan Goldstein, an astonishing $488. Which also has no million-dollar view of the harbour.
The deep water prawns Delzanno uses are caught in Sicily where they’re immediately frozen in nitrogen. He makes a reduction using the prawn heads (of course, where all the flavour is) and cognac, reducing it over six hours with garlic and chilli. It smells like a bouillabaisse and tastes even more of the sea. It is a brilliant plate of pasta and worth every cent.
From the carne, the eight hours sous vide Australian wagyu is cooked at 88 degrees. He marinates it in Barolo using an old recipe from Piedmont, albeit one infused with new technique, meaning the collagen melts perfectly. Along with the soft woodland hum of porcini, the acidity of the wine contrasts with the sweetness of the pumpkin purée underneath. It was another great plate. And no, that was not the photo I took.
To finish, there can be only one. Many tiramisu (there’s no plural) underwhelm, but not here. It may be sacrilegious, but an Oreo-like biscuit makes a welcome appearance to provide textural contrast and crunch, while the chocolate-covered rim is a nice touch.
Incidentally, a walk along the view outside revealed the Bruce Lee way, a new one on me.
So imagine our surprise on the MTR home then – who did we see, but the man himself. Only in HK.