Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rustic Treasures

Food and travel guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek gives us her next scoop on fantastic restaurants around town and travel tips. Contact her at
While Grissini at the Grand Hyatt offers the most decadent of decors for Italian fine dining, its porcini mushroom promotion from September is all about the rustic simplicity of the delicious fungus. The day I went they were flown in fresh that day and so chef de cuisine Andrea Fraire presented a selection of dishes with porcini prepared in various ways. Fraire is relatively new to Grissini and Hong Kong and is a young and personable chef, coming to check up on us before or during each course to introduce the dish and see how things were even though he was busy with a dinner in a private room.

He has an amazing culinary pedigree, previously at Michelin-starred Thomas Keller's French Laundry in San Francisco and Juan Marie Arzak's Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.
Fraire was so excited about having the fresh porcini and his enthusiasm shows clearly on the plates. To start we had beef carpaccio and porcini with parmesan shavings dressed with smoked extra virgin olive oil. Fraire explained the oil was put in the kitchen's smoker for 45 minutes to add a smoky flavour but to be honest I didn't taste or smell anything different. The carpaccio was very fresh and the raw porcini was sliced lengthwise.

Next up was oven baked whole porcini seasoned with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. It came to the table wrapped in aluminium foil and then ceremoniously unwrapped, immediately releasing the strong rosemary scent into the air. The porcini here was cooked whole and was very meaty, simply seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and so good.

We also loved the porcini and barley soup, a very hearty dish that's perfect for fall. The vegetables were all finely diced and again seasoned with rosemary and a thin slice of crispy Tyrolean speck or bacon. This was ideal comfort food.

In terms of pasta, the homemade tagliatelle with porcini came with oven roasted tomatoes and Tuscan pork sausage. We tried to focus more on the porcini roughly chopped though they were overpowered by the bits of sausage and cherry tomato.

Finally the baked Atlantic turbot fillet was also cooked in aluminium foil along with thick chunks of porcini and potatoes. Fraire came to reveal the dish and the fish was perfectly cooked and beautifully complemented by the porcini and potato. More great autumn flavour on a plate.

We barely had enough room for dessert, but the poached peach with sorbet and proscecco was a perfect refreshingly light finish.

2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
1 Harbour Road
Wan Chai
2584 7933

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