An Italian restaurant called Cucina

 

Buon compleanno!

A birthday lunch at Cucina at the Marco Polo Hongkong, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It was the annual natal day escape and Hong Kong was as the destination. A visit was in order after seven years plus PAL’s seat sale and winning a hosted stay at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel were the sprinkling of sugar to the whole package.

One of the three restaurants of Marco Polo Hongkong is Cucina. The contemporary restaurant with a stylish bar, open kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas set against a backdrop of the spectacular Victoria Harbour is a menu that has tickled the palates of food aficionados, and earned a reputation as a go-to Italian resto in the culinary capital.

 

Marco Polo Hong Kong's Cucina Italian Restaurant
Cucina & the view of the Victoria Harbour

 

On my first visit to Cucina I remember having a feast. A second bout was most welcome, and thanks to Samantha Poon, Marco Polo Hotel’s Director of Communication, I didn’t wait too long.

From the menu, we were having the signature dishes and as a bonus, the chef himself accompanied each dish as it was served.

Chef de Cuisine Andrea Delzanno’s roots is from the Piemonte in Italy. At age eight he knew he wanted to become a chef.

“Like most Italians he learned cooking from his grandmother. I was watching her make pasta in her kitchen when I was small.”

 

Chef de Cuisine Andrea Andrea Delzanno
Cucina’s Chef de Cuisine Andrea Andrea Delzanno says, “Use the best ingredients, you will make a difference.”

 

He describes his dishes as simple yet flavorful using the fresh available ingredients.

“Use the best ingredients, you will make a difference.”

A dish topped with shaved fresh truffle is so easy to fall in love with. The Seared Hokkaido scallops with organic Italian scrambled eggs on toast with white truffle from Alba, was one of them.

 

 

The light and flavorsome fare was a delightful way to kick off a feast.

 

Cucina Marco Polo Hong Kong's seared scallop, scrambled eggs with truffle
A great way to kick off a feast. Seared Hokkaido scallops with organic Italian scrambled eggs on toast with white truffle from Alba

 

For my entrée, I was picked a pasta dish—the Linguine ai gamberi rossi di mazara del vallo con la loro salsa ridotta e pomodorini freschi (Linguine with Sicilian red prawns, shell reduction sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes).

 

Cucina signature dish- Linguine with Sicilian red prawns, shell reduction sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes
Pasta fantastic. A signature dish – Linguine with Sicilian red prawns, shell reduction sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes

 

Using stock made from shells of fresh prawns sourced from the southern part of Italy, baked, boiled for about six hours, and reduced to achieve the right consistency and flavor, gave the dish its rich, distinct seafood flavor.

“We make our pasta,” shared the chef.

Samantha had the Guancetta di manzo wagyu cotta lentamente su pure’ di zucca, porcini e salsa al Barolo (Slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek on pumpkin purée, porcini mushrooms and Barolo red wine sauce) countless times, but she wanted me sample a bit of it so she ordered one.

 

Cucina Marco Polo Hong Kong's signature dish- beef cheeks
A cheeky encounter with this signature dish. Slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek on pumpkin purée, porcini mushrooms and Barolo red wine sauce

 

The Australian beef cheek, slow cooked 88 degrees for eight hours, and vacuum bagged overnight.

“The beef cheek is full of collagen. Once you cook slowly and gently in that amount of time, the collagen becomes soft and very sticky. So it’s very, very tender, melt in your mouth. The texture is totally different,” said Andrea.

It took several tries before he achieved the right texture for the dish. Eight hours was the magic length.

I don’t eat meat but on food tasting times I will. However, the dish was truly delightful that I had more than “just one bite”.

Sam wanted me to try a fish dish. It may not be a signature dish, but it’s quite a popular one on the menu—the Branzino del mediterraneo intero al forno all’ olio, limone ed erba cipollina (Baked whole Mediterranean seabass with lemon, oil and chive).

 

Baked whole Mediterranean seabass with lemon, oil and chive at Cucina, Marco Polo Hong Kong
An 800-gram of seafood goodness. Baked whole Mediterranean seabass with lemon, oil and chive

 

The seabass was an 800-gram of seafood goodness! It’s a size to share, but with so much food on the table for three people, it will be difficult to finish.

“It’s a perfect size to keep the fish moist and juicy. A smaller one will be dry.” Said the chef.

 

Cucina's seabass deboned
Deboned & ready to eat

 

No birthday party ends without a cake, and mine came in the form of a chocolate ball. The chocolate bomb revealed its ice cream core after hot chocolate was poured melting the ball.

 

Cucina Maro Polo Hong Kong" Chocolate Bomb dessert
A bomb to end a fabulous birthday meal. Cucina’s chocolate bomb

 

With nice people to share it with, it was good to the last drop of chocolate.

 

Cucina's dessert gone
Yes, it was good to the last drop

 

The long birthday lunch came to an end, and this one marks another memorable feast in this Italian restaurant called Cucina.

Grazie.

 

Lunchmates at Cucina
In good company. The birthday day was spent with Karen Tam, Harbour City’s Asst. GM for promotions & marketing & host, Samantha Poon, Marco Polo Hong Kong hotel’s director of communications

 

Cucina is on Level 6of Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, No. 3 Canton Road, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com & www.jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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