Hong Kong: Italian Chef Opens Italian Restaurant in Harbour City

Food and Beverage

An acclaimed Italian Chef opens a stylish Italian restaurant in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district. Michael Taylor is invited to the Opening Night launch party followed by a media dinner a few nights later. His verdict?

How times have changed! A few years ago, anyone craving Italian food in Hong Kong had basically 2 options: Spaghetti House or Pizza Hut.

And given those 2 options, I would often go without Italian food – or cook it myself. I lost interest in eating at Italian restaurants in Hong Kong the first time I was asked by my server if I’d like Thousand Island Dressing or Barbecue Sauce on my pizza.

Say what?

Fast forward to 2014: the dining out scene in Hong Kong has totally changed. You CAN now get good Italian food in this town, and some of it is downright inspiring.

La Locanda Opens in Tsim Sha Tsui

Take La Locanda, which recently opened in Harbour City in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district.

Chef Giancarlo Perbellini – a “product of generations of chefs, cooks, and bakers from Northern Italy” – heads the kitchen, and if the media dinner we were served last week is any indication, the standard of Italian cuisine in Hong Kong has just been ratcheted up a notch.

This is food the way Mama used to cook it – assuming, of course, that your mother was Italian …

“We have memories of tastes and smells that take us back in time to when we were kids and we delighted our senses with dishes prepared by our mother, grandmother, or othr women of that time,” Chef Giancarlo says.

“My intention is to make my customers fel the same emotions, even with modern techniques and approaches. It’s a challenge that only the passion for my work can stimulate.”

Yummy Dishes

We are served so many yummy dishes that I quickly lose track, but I don’t remember not liking any of them. Here are a few of the highlights …

I’ll start with the small things. The bread sticks are impossibly light and crispy. They arouse more conversation – and excitement – than some of the more substantial dishes.

The Caprino Pizza with paper thin bread soaked in oil and chives is to die for. There is soft cow cheese and mozzarella on top. I especially like the yummy soft cow cheese – a bit like Philadelphia Cream Cheese – so unusual to find this on pizza, and so absolutely delightful.

I’m not sure about the Insalata Novella, a seasonal salad with pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola Dressing.

Pears in salad? But much to my surprise, the pears, which are very thinly sliced, work perfectly.

The Lasagna made with spinach pasta sheets with beef ragu and Parmesan sauce is perfectly cooked. The Merluzzo in Scapece – black cod fish, fried zucchini with mint, and mashed potatoes – is yummy.

But my favourite is the Filetto Alla Rossini, or veal tenderloin with foie gras, truffle sauce, spinach, and mushrooms. Veal and foie gras? A marriage made in heaven!

Lucky me! The woman sitting across from me is a vegetarian so I get two servings of the veal! (And she gets my share of the calamari.)

Where 

La Locanda Italian Cuisine, Shop 402, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 2785-9600.

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