Despite strength of numbers and appearances to the contrary, there aren’t that many Italian tables in Hong Kong that for my money would stand up and be counted in Italy. Giando and Otto e Mezzo spring to mind, but a couple of recent dining experiences have added to the list. Cucina in the Marcopolo Hotel is one, in a review to come, but indisputably joining that list is chef Andrea Accordi at the Four Seasons.
The hotel’s Executive Chef, Accordi has serious props – he was the first chef to win a Michelin star in Eastern Europe, while at the Four Seasons in Prague. A taste of his forthcoming special menu in The Lounge proved these points and more, with cooking from the very top drawer using, as you’d expect, only the very best ingredients.
After some perfect tomato focaccia, the first case in point was in their antipasti plate. Amongst the finest salumi, the Culatello, that dry-cured classic, had been soaked in wine overnight and came with pickled mushrooms. The best part? Following chef’s suggestion and adding a silky slice to an unusual flaky Italian bread. It looks and feels more Indian than Italian, but with the heat of the oven it melts the fat in the pork. Sensational.
‘Capesante borlotti e fichi’, bought cedar wood-grilled scallops, borlotti bean foam, black fig and anise. The wood smoke came through the sweet scallops, while an unadvertised seafood sorbet was the perfect counterpoint to the figs which tasted of Italian sunshine.
Next was ‘Gnocchi di patate al basilica astice cavolfiore’, in other words potato and basil gnocchi with blue lobster and cauliflower. One of the prettiest plates of the year, vibrant colours perfectly in harmony. This being the Four Seasons, naturally only Italian potatoes were used in the little green basil parcels of joy, while the sauce with the lobster was ethereal, the cauliflower purée the definition of smooth.
The Sicilian white matched perfectly with its jasmine notes at the end, alongside pear and green apple.
The main event bought another demonstration of the innate sexiness of the Italian language with ‘Branzino Carciofi mandorle di noto’ – or fish. Fish is unfair, this was roasted sea bass with artichokes different ways and Noto almonds from Sicily and nuggets of candied Sicilian lemons.
A selection of cheeses from renowned cheesemaker La Casearia Carpenedo from Treviso in Northern Italy was exemplary, notably one fermented in wine, while the fruit bread and home-made compotes provided the perfect platform.
To finish a flawless meal, a chocolate dessert featuring what we were reliably informed is the world’s best chocolate. It’s Italian, Amadei, here their ‘number 9’ sculpted into textures alongside liquorice, hazelnuts from Piedmont and a brilliant Sambuca ice cream.
Andrea’s special menus – à la carte is also available – run from September 16 – 24.