Kessler Zink

Historically certified:
Quality from Rheinhessen

Early in 1955 a private winery was founded on historic ground: the Dohlmühle estate is mentioned in documents since 1390. Once it has been an ancient mill – today the business is to deal with more delicious liquids that spring water. Buildings and properties have changed their purpose and are part of the winery and vineyards now.

Since 1990 the Stütz family is owner of the Dohlmühle estate. The family does not only produce their own fine wines on acreage of 35 hectare, they also operate modern wine cellars and a bottling plant. In their work they combine approved old fashioned methods with innovative techniques of wine-making – thus the family has good reason to take an optimistic look into the future.

The wine:
Kessler Zink Pinot Noir

2006     Pinot Noir Redwine – Semidry, QbA, quality wine red

A full-bodied, red wine with an intensive taste and the complex character of fruity and aromatic German red wines.
Grape variety: Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir)

This red wine has an intensive smell and taste of dark fruits, blueberries, and black currants. The sweetness is well balanced and indulge the tannins of the Pinot Noir grapes. A very nice red wine for red wine-lovers who enjoy also a little bit of sweetness.

Serve with a temperature of 18°C, with roasted spicy food like lamb-chucks or grilled beef.

For more information, please visit: http://www.kessler-zink.de

“SEVVA”


Located in prime city real estate is the stunning SEVVA a top Prince’s Building Central Hong Kong.  This place turn heads all the way around. It has one of the best if not the best sky terrace to have drinks and take in the breath-taking skyline of Hong Kong.

No doubt it is one of the grooviest address to hang out and a sublime place to have dinner. Remember those days when you turn up to a restaurant and your table is not ready, they get you to sit by the bar and wait. “This aint NO bar at that restaurant”. You feel the vibe as soon as you walk in. There are four areas to this magnificent establishment.  An A La Carte on the one end, casual dining on the other,  a chill out area inside the restaurant  for drinks which leads out to this colossus amazing sky terrace. With Djs spinning up the tunes twenty five floors up, it’s kinda surreal as most fun are usually on ground level.

What i enjoy about SEVVA is that it has an awesome atmosphere.  “A buddy of mine told me It is pretentious”. For me it was packed with professionals whom dress well, like to impress and loves this sort of lifestyle entertainment. It is so appealing to have another form and level of entertainment in H.K.

After some wine, conversation and a little dance , it was time to hop back in for our dinner. The service here is excellent and I guess it comes together with the whole package. For starters, I had the SEVVA Special Salad which consists of Organic Mecslun Greens, Artichoke Hearts, Avacado, Endive, Tea-Smoked Quail Eggs & Salt n Pepper Tofu and the Demitasse of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It comes in a little cute cup. Salads are of perfect portion, just enough so you could still pile in your mains & deserts. For main, my Pasta Named Desire with King Prawn & Crab Roe Spaghetti with Champagne Crème Sauce was simply sumptuous. For deserts go for the sorbet and the little orange cake, its simply irresistible.

A dinner for two at SEVVA could cost you HK$ two grand but hey why not if you got the dosh. It is a fantastic place to impress your dates and SEVVA is a kind of restaurant where proposals have been proposed.

If you are just looking for a groovy place to have drinks this summer, style guru Bonnie Gokson is serving a host of new summer cocktails just in time for the arrival of ‘Sex and the City 2’ .
 
The new range of flavours have been created by Ms Gokson and New Yorker Joseph Boroski, a renowned ‘mixologist’ who blended exotic drinks on the actual TV series of ‘Sex and the City’.

Starting at HK$135 per glass or HK$520 for a pitcher (serves 4 people), the summer cocktails include refreshingly unique blends of fresh fruit and their nectars with organic mint, wholesome raw sugarcane and dashes of wines or spirits.
 
The Concubine, living up to its name as gentle and fragrant with a touch of the exotic East, blends a hint of vodka with tea olive blossom syrup, crushed lychees, muscato grapes and lemon juice, shaken in ice. Drizzled with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineapple & Vanilla Batida is muddled pineapple and its juice with a hint of gula melaka and Tahitian vanilla essence, served on rock ice.
 
Guava Mojito mixes white rum, guava, sugarcane, lime, mint and a dash of soda on rock ice. Strawberries & Champagne Mojito charges the classic rum cocktail with crushed strawberries & lime, creme de raspberry and icy cold champagne.
 
The special sangria blend in the original SEVVA ‘Sex in the City’ cocktail includes rosé wine adorned with a slice of lemon, twist of orange peel and strawberry adding a decadent edge to SEVVA’s unique recipe of fun, fashion and friends. It’s the ideal drink to be enjoyed on the terrace with views over sparkling Central on hot summer nights. 

I adore SEVVA. There are many rooftop, terrace and dining establishments with this style of concept but i have not been to one which blends so nicely together.

AS Bonnie Gokson describes as ‘the DNA’ of Hong Kong – traditional regional Asian cuisines intermixed with Western fine dining, coupled with her own travels and experiences. She says: “This is my contribution and passion to the city that I love.”

Prince's Building 25th Floor, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong

T +852 2537 1388

By Andrew Kim
 

Cafe Kool – Kowloon Shangri-la


Too Kool for Kowloon

Who said hotel dining couldn’t be fun? Any restaurant that can boast six kitchens, a plethora of chefs running around to do your bidding and a metre-tall fountain pumping out real liquid chocolate has got to be worth checking out, even if it is hedonistic. Am I right?

Another great gimmick at Café Kool are the plasma TV screens in the two private dining rooms. You can actually change the channel to view the kitchen staff prepare your meal! But like I said it’s a gimmick, and if you really want to know how your food is being cooked, all you have to do is present your plate to a member of their staff  whom all wear Adidas sports shoes and they’ll whip a pasta dish, a selection of sushi or an Indian delicacy!

So, anyway, if you’re familiar with Kool’s equally cool sister Café TOO, you’ll know it’s no ordinary buffet. OK, so you get your usual salad counter and seafood station, but you also get some pretty special stuff over at the Asian and Western kitchen not to mention Déli Kool if you want take out. Prawns are taken fresh from bubble tanks, Indian breads arrive from huge copper tandoors, and a one-and-a half-metre tall clay pot produces some magnificent traditional Chinese tonic soups. Basically, if you have ever read a review about a buffet before and they tell you ‘there’s something for everyone’, don’t believe it until you try Kool.

Elsewhere in the hotel, Japanese outlet Nadaman is quite frankly it’s stunning. If you can get a group together, either friends or preferably colleagues (that way the boss pays), book out one of the private rooms – you are in for a treat!

Café Kool
Mezzanine Level, Kowloon Shangri-La
64 Mody Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2733 8753
Website: www.shangri-la.com

Written by AK

STEAK HOUSE winebar + grill

Steaking A Claim

STEAK HOUSE winebar + grill

After a quarter of a century, the Steak House has finally undergone a transformation. And, as its advertising slogan tells us, the management thinks it’s a job “well done”. On initial inspection they do indeed seem to have upgraded significantly. The wine bar is unrecognisably different and far less stuffy and anonymous than the previous version. Less marked in its changes is the adjacent dining room.

It is perhaps the overall setting that gives off the whiff of revolution. From the near immaculate service and the stylish staff uniforms, to the clean and to-the-point menu, Steak House offers exactly what you’d expect it to. Given that the hotel where the restaurant is housed caters for vast quantities of Americans (a tad less than half its guests), it seems only obvious that this outlet should represent a ‘home-from-home’ scenario. The only thing that differs is perhaps the lack of American beef, but that is hardly the fault of the menu designer.

A mandatory trip to the gargantuan salad bar will get the juices flowing. And then it’s serious decision time. Ribeyes join quality t-bone, prime rib, striploins, filets, wagyu and chateaubriand, hailing from Argentina, Canada and Australia. Different sizes and style are on offer, and can be complemented with more mustards, sauces and condiments than you could ever hope to try. The chef then does his magic over Hong Kong’s only charcoal grill.

If you’re not up to the task at hand, there are also the “Apart from Beef” and “From the Sea” departments to consider. Your preferences aren’t quite over until you’ve selected a knife from an impressive array of weaponry.

There’s no other way of explaining the desserts other than to say that they are over the top but great. If by any strange quirk of fate you still have some room to spare and you have the quickest metabolism in Kowloon, there are on offer the largest cakes, puddings and pies this side of the Pacific. Heads WILL turn and faces WILL stare at you in disbelief. Requests for doggy bags are always granted.

 “Wines from Hungry” was the curious item on offer as feeling hungry isn’t a typical sensation after a meal here. Portion sizes should carry a warning label without flinching to much on the price tag!

STEAK HOUSE winebar + grill, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
(Male singlets strictly forbidden)
Tel: (+852) 2721-1211

Written by James Moore
 

Azienda Vitivinicola

The starting point for the production of a fine wine is the use of materials of the highest quality. Here at San Lorenzo we know the care taken in the cultivation of the land by the hands of knowledgeable men who have collaborated with us for years.

We utilise the most technologically advanced systems on our estate to press the grapes, ferment the juice and to control the temperature at each phase.It is for this reason that our wines are of optimum quality.

The path towards the production of a high quality wine is a difficult one to follow especially where the investment required to further improve the quality is sometimes very high. However the persistence, patience and dedication of our family allows us to achieve notable results.

We put great faith in Abruzzesi wines and have a great deal of love that emerge from our estate.
Enzo Galasso

ALDEBARAN
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Classification: DOC. Type Of Wine: Red Grape Varieties: 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Prod. Area: ABRUZZO; Tenuta Casa Bianca in Castilenti –Te- Altitude: 250/300 metres above the sea level Y per Hectare: 8 tonnes Training Sys.: Spur pruned cordon Planting Dens.: 5.000 vines/hectare Harvest Period: October Vinification: The grapes are destemmed and crushed; pre-fermentation at low temperature, maceration on the skins for 14-20 days. Sensory char.: Persistent nose, intensely fruity; Full and fruity structure. It is a gentle and spontaneous wine, whose tannins, not aggressive, are sweet and velvety; great aroma tic persistence. Temperature: 18 – 20° C

 

 

 



MUFFATO
Bianco dolce

Classification: IGT Type Of Wine: Sweet white Grape Varieties: Sauvignon Prod. Area: Tenuta Casa Bianca in Castilenti -Te- Harvest Period: First decade of November Vinification: The morning fog encourages the development of Botrytis Cinerea (noble mold) that reduces the water content in the grapes, causing a bigger concentration of sugars and aromas. After a soft pressing , the must ferments in barrique and aor 14 months.ges f Sharpening: Bottles in special climatized areas Sensory char.: the noble mold reduces the content of water in the grapes and it concentrates the sugars and the aromas, giving the Muffato San Lorenzo a harmonic and unmistakeable taste. A light gold colour with an aroma that recalls peaches and honey. A dessert wine, well structured and very harmonic

For more information, please visit: http://www.sanlorenzovini.com

Bodegas Felix Callejo


Bodegas Félix Callejo
is located in Sotillo de la Ribera (Spain), at the heart of the “Ribera del Duero” Denomination of Origin. From its birth in 1989 as an answer to a long family tradition, the venture has thrived thanks to the enthusiasm and drive which the Callejo family has dedicated to it.

With more than 100 hectares of planted vineyards, Callejo is made from the Tempranillo or Tinta Fina variety of grapes. Their vineyards in Sotillo de la Ribera are located at 850 meters altitude on small southerly- oriented slopes. Lime-rich soil of ideal texture, from the Miocene era, together with the characteristically mild climate of the area create the ideal conditions for the growth and development of the vines.

The harvest period, lasting approximately 15 days in October, is the first step in the production of wines. Painstaking care and attention is given to the vines throughout the year, and the harvest is carried out in a similarly meticulous fashion.

There are various steps in the selection process. The first of them is in the vineyard. The grapes are transported to the bodega in boxes after being picked by hand. The second stage of selection takes place in the reception area, where a conveyor belt is used for the selection of bunches. The third and final selection takes place after the grapes have been picked off the raceme, using a vibrating table . From there, they continue to the bodega and to the stainless steel vessels to begin the fermentation process.


FELIX CALLEJO 2005
Selección de Viñedos
de la Familia

Information on the 2005 vintage

The winter began as the coldest of recent years and with very low rainfall. Good levels of temperatures in spring with occasional spells of rain brought about even shooting of the vines. The summer was dry and very hot, causing early ripening of the grapes. Yields were low due to the small size of the berries, which however contained very high levels of polyphenols. The harvest began at the end of September after a very good month for the phenolic ripening, thanks to low night temperatures. The vines and the grapes were in perfect health.
Production Bottled in April 2007. 19,500 bottles of 0.75l. 350 bottles Magnum of 1.5l.
 


GRAN CALLEJO
Gran Reserva 2004
Information on the 2004 vintage

Favourable weather conditions with a cold winter and rainy spring, bringing about a good start to the growing season for the new shoots during May and June. A dry, hot summer with evenly spread rainfall favouring good ripening of the grapes, with no water-deficit stress for the vines. The harvest was begun at the beginning of October with excellent quality grapes and without rain.
Production Bottled in February 2007. 6,030 bottles of 0.75l.

For more information please visit: http://www.bodegasfelixcallejo.com

Rockpool Sydney


Dinner on the Rocks

There are some restaurants that rely solely on their name to market themselves and some that require back-up from the reputation of their chef or owner. In the case of Rockpool, one of Sydney’s more established fusion eateries at 14 years old, the names Neil Perry and Rockpool are equally well-known and synonymous with good food.

The refurbishment has seen few changes in terms of quality. The restaurant, located on The Rocks, began as a fine-dining restaurant serving high quality Australian produce with an Asian influence, predominantly serving seafood. The style of cooking has remained along the same lines over the years however, the dishes have certainly become more sophisticated with time.

The restaurant continues to win awards and maintain its high standing, which Perry and business partner Trish Richards believe is attributed to their motto: ‘the cornerstone of good cooking is to source the finest produce’ and that they ‘set out to do everything to the best of our ability today, then try even harder tomorrow’.

Current menu favourites are: Stir-fried Lobster and Kangaroo Island Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom, Water Chestnuts, Hand-cut Noodles and Red Curry Sauce; Southern Rock Lobster Tagine with Stuffed Quince and Cous Cous; and Poached Cape Gooseberries with Ricotta Fritters and Ice Cream.

Rockpool,
107 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney.
?Tel: (61) 2 9252 1888
E-mail: enquire@rockpool.com
Info: www.rockpool.com

By AK

La Fourchette


La Fourchette has taken over where La Cité used to be, a revamp we appreciated compared to the earlier outdated dishes from its predecessor. The newcomer meets the present times defined as a ‘modern French bistro’ and is ready to satisfy the urbanites passing through Pacific Place. I am not too sure whether the nationality is very accurate when the French menu is diluted from accommodating international dishes including Vietnamese and Italian specialities. One thing is for sure, you will leave feeling as satisfied as after enjoying a hearty meal in France.

La Fourchette is divided into three areas that make this venue versatile and varied. One can go to the Bistro Moderne for lunch or dinner, but also to La Cave for a drink after work or to recharge your batteries at La Terrasse after you shopped till you dropped. Each section has its own distinct display and menu depending on your mood or appetite. La Cave proudly exhibits the only ‘enomatic machine’ in Hong Kong; this wonderful piece of engineering allows the serving of wines by the glass inhibiting the oxidation of the open bottles. A mouthwatering spread of sweet and savoury home baked pastries, sandwiches and other exquisite morsels are on the La Terrase. The heart of La Fourchette, though, is in the Bistro Moderne occupying most of this establishment and where we savoured our wholesome meal. Patrice Gabet, the executive chef, came over to share his advice when it was clear the diverse menu was somewhat bewildering. The talkative Frenchman helped us choose what we were about to taste.

His recommendations started with a broad selection of appetizers including Crab cakes, Salmon rillettes and Vietnamese fresh Spring rolls. The small warm cakes were crisply fried and gave way to the subtle fresh crabmeat centre. The salmon rillettes were original and more delicate than the original pork classic. The Vietnamese rolls on the other hand, were less memorable especially the fresh version as the rice wraps weren’t bound tightly and the filling fell apart before I had a chance to take a bite.
The stars of the evening were the mains and each plate that landed on the table was a feast before our eyes. The saffron-infused risotto topped with a fiery red lobster exposed, tantalized our taste buds as it looked like sunshine on a plate. The meat dishes of the neatly arranged duck confit and the seasonal venison were superior than most, especially the latter that was hearty and cooked medium as requested. Drizzled with the tangy berries which complimented the gaminess of the meat, this was a well-balanced combination of tart and rich flavours.

The mouth-watering desserts concluded our meal; the must-have is the mango mousse. A tropical element came through this sweet custard-like serving although it is arguably a fusion effort, surrounded in bath of sweet fruity syrup with Chinese dextrous fungi, a popular remedy in alternative medicine. I must confess I tasted and then ignored the unusual fungi dressing. The dessert assortment included a fruit tart accompanied with a supersweet green tomato jam, as well as an tasty unusual looking black sesame crème brûlé with a perfect texture and familiar yet new flavours.

Worrying about the afternoon ahead after such copious feast we considered two options. One was to head home and enjoy a good healthy siesta, the other one was to have a reviving espresso coffee. I opted for the later and was delighted with my choice. I don’t think I have had a better espresso in Hong Kong than the cup served here: rich, strong and delicate, it was coffee essence at its best. My guest had an innovative hazelnut coffee, which left her sipping happy. The nut was grounded and dispersed in this beverage (not sunken at the bottom) which didn’t just leave a sweet and smoky flavour but a welcome bite to each sip.

Review by AK

La Fourchette Garden Court, Pacific Place, Hong Kong  Tel 852 2252 8830

The Press Club


Sip a martini or two at The Press Club – a modern spin on traditional Hellenic Cuisine

Enter The Press Club and you can smell the aroma of cooking floating through the air from the open theatre kitchen. The ambience is warm and comfortable. I am seated at the head of a long row of white tables looking down the length of the room. At the very far end I can see a man sitting at the opposite head and I feel like a queen hosting her banquet. Greek fare is laid out before us.

Most of us take food for granted. However, this is not the case for George Calombaris who has been dedicated to the kitchen since he was 18. Whilst we were discovering our ripest teenage years, Calombaris barely saw daylight as he slaved under London’s top chefs. But the egocentric competition in the kitchen finally encouraged him to return home to Australia and start his own venture based on strong family values, loyalty, inspiration and most importantly, The Customer. Opening in 2006 The Press Club immediately became one of Melbourne’s most innovative restaurants and the benchmark for fine Greek cuisine.

After dining with The Press Club you will start to understand the meaning of family as it is strongly imbedded into Greek tradition. Calombaris, who is an Australian of Greek/Cypriot origin, takes pride not only in his kitchen but also his staff. Many of The Press Club team have been together from the beginning and you can see this in the way they work the floor. I might have suggested bringing a translation dictionary for the menu had the staff not been so well informed. Not only did they have the background knowledge of each dish but they used the correct pronunciation. I was impressed.

When speaking with Calombaris on the topic of family, I discover that even his mother (who continues to live in Cyprus) has a role in the kitchen making the ‘Soup of Trahana and Mastic’. The base of the soup is made from wheat that his mother dips in sour milk and leaves out to dry. The wheat is then sent back to Australia to be boiled into the stock of Trahana. Oil from the mastic plant found only in Chios is added to the stock along with yoghurt, which is then whipped into a light foamy soup that, in part, resembles Greek lemon chicken soup, but without actually containing any chicken or lemon. The Press Club is a restaurant of passion that brings only the finest ingredients from across the world to delight our tastebuds with a truly Hellenic experience. The soup was accompanied by a soft, dry, and slightly earthy French white from Jura, Jacques Puffeney Arbois 2004.

As consumers we don’t realise the genius that lies behind the development of a great culinary experience. The effort that goes into making a meal – which we simply slosh down in a matter of minutes – is truly amazing.  When you realise this your appreciation of food will change forever. Calombaris’ Calamari Makaronatha with cauliflower cream and shaved avgotaraho is a dish of thought and consideration (avgotaraho is dried fish roe that is rolled flat and shaved to a thin paper). Like a science class full of trial and tribulation before achieving perfection, the dish took time and patience to correct. The calamari has been placed inside a vacuum-sealed bag, and then into a steaming bain-marie where it is left to simmer for 6 hours undisturbed until perfectly tender. Once cooked, the calamari is shaved into thin strips to resemble pasta, otherwise known as macaroni or ‘makaronia’. The accompanying wine was a white from Greece, Skouras Moschofilero 2007.

‘Inspired by mum’ was an interesting dish that offered clean earthy flavours of mountain tea smoked beef matched against the richness of a coddled egg and hand-cut chips fried in olive oil. Perfectly crispy on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside, the chips are a revelation to the world of potatoes. The fun part is that if you’re keen you can dip your chips in the soft yolk of the egg, just like the toast soldiers mum used to make. The wine: Yves  Cuilleron ‘Sybel’ Syrah Rosé 2007, Rhone Valley, France.

Of the main dishes, the Roasted Barramundi was the shining star, accompanied by a glass of Curly Flat Chardonnay 2006, from the Macedon Ranges, in Victoria, Australia. The wine was chosen for it’s fine example of a common Australian drink ‘the chardy’, accompanying a typically Australian fish ‘the Barra’. The flesh of the Barramundi was perfectly tender under a crispy skin. The fillet was drizzled with in a warm olive and cherry tomato vinaigrette. A small jar of fresh taramasalata came as a condiment to the fish. The taramasalata is white in colour as it should be naturally – none of that pink coloured stuff you’ll find on the supermarket selves – and is made using a mix of fish roe and potato as opposed to bread.

The last dish before dessert was a Pikilia of Rabbit, which literally translates to an assortment or inclusion of every part of the rabbit, from the crispy belly, roasted ribs, and tender liver, to the loin – stuffed with ouzo and wrapped in a honeydew jelly. The loin was bursting with a familiar flavour that I was unable to put a hand on. I believe the ouzo had something to do with it. I am fond of dishes cooked in ouzo as the liquor infuses a unique essence that is not exactly aniseed as we think it should be. The ouzo imparts a slight sweetness, it is a flavour that to me still remains indescribable. We drank a delicious Cos “Cerasolo di Vittoria” Nero D’avolo Frappato 2007 with the rabbit, one of my favourite red grape varieties from Italy.

The wine list proved to be excellent, as did both the food and the service. I must add, that if you choose to visit The Press Club only for the dessert I think you will find yourself sufficiently satisfied as a burst of textures and flavours play across your tastebuds. The Chocolate, Tarragon and Raspberry Cloud is a combination of hot and cold, mousse and foam, cake and chocolate, it is all there in correct proportion. The drink: Alvear Soiera 1927 Pedro Ximenez, San Emilio, a dark sherry, which to me had the taste and aroma of a rich Port.

After the meal a round of Mastica was sent around the table as a digestive. It took me back to my time spent in Greece sitting around a Taverna table late into the evening after a long boozy lunch. Celebrating life with only the best food and drink. It was tonight that we dined on the Symposium menu. The technical efficiency of the kitchen and quality of produce are exceptional, creating taste sensations worthy of dreams.

Now 30, Calombaris has numerous awards (Best New Restaurant in Victoria 2008, Best New Restaurant, and Chef of the Year) and three restaurants to his name (The Press Club, Maha and the recently opened Hellenic Republic on Melbourne’s Lygon St, Brunswick). This year The Press club was awarded two chefs hats and while we speak Calombaris is on his way to Canberra to claim yet another award. The young chef has become so talked about in such a small space of time that Global Food and Wine Magazine voted him as one of the top 40 chefs of influence in the world. The competency and excellence of the award winning head chef is evident in every dish and I am already planning my return to eat a la carte. Kali Orexi.

Written by Martyn-Zyznikow

The Press Club Restaurant & Bar
72 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia Tel 03 9677 9677
http://www.thepressclub.com.au
 

The Mistral

Breathing Easy In TST

A breeze is flowing through Tsim Sha Tsui East. Once cut off from where the more traditional dining areas
position themselves in Kowloon, the MTR subway has injected new life into the neighbourhood. Freestanding restaurants and bars have popped up and even attract a crowd, while hotels – which for years had the place to themselves – have had to get their houses in order to compete. At the forefront of the revolution is The Mistral, a “modern” Italian restaurant appropriately named after a Mediterranean seasonal wind. At the base of the InterContinental Grand Stanford, on the surface not much as changed. Listen a bit closer and there is a new energy about the place.

Gone is the Puccini and Verdi, replaced by music more this century. Chef Claudio, a youthful and exuberant Italian, is another breath of fresh air. “Everything’s changed since I took over a year ago,” he confided, as he presented me with a plate of carpaccio intriguingly stuffed with lobster . Filled with the kind of confidence you might expect from a Sicilian to behave, Claudio patrols his open kitchen like a man who’s happy with these changes. The paste yellow-and-blue fabrics, combined with the
painted plates adorning the restaurant’s walls, do much to cheer up what is effectively a windowless basement cellar. A chef can do little to change that, however.

The kitchen is his terrain and the scampi with prawn- and langoustine moussestuffed tortellini, his wonderfully-colourful statement. When a restaurant attempts to reinvent itself, there’s always a risk that it loses some of the fundamentals. Far from blowing hot air, the menu still promises some old favourites. The rack of Sicilianstyle lamb with a powerful olive tapenade ($340) is deliciously tender and Claudio’s
take on a tried and tested Mediterranean creation.

If you don’t fancy the traditional formality of a five-star hotel Italian, Mistral offers the white-linen tablecloths without the fine-dining pomp. The immaculate service and food are as good as you’ll find for the price in Hong Kong. So you can breathe easy.

Review by James Moore

The Mistral
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, 70 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel 852 2721 5161