Michelin-recommended Italian restaurant (and Foodie favourite) Castellana has recently relocated to Central. Its new location and decor reflect the refined, sophisticated Piedmontese cuisine offered at the eatery.
This northern Italian region of Piedmont borders France and Switzerland and is considered an important gastronomic capital, well known for its white truffles and Barolo wines.
In addition to the new location and look, Piedmont native chef Romeo Morelli now leads the kitchen, taking a creative, energetic approach towards traditional Piedmontese cuisine. He brings 28 years of experience and adds his own modern twists to the Traditional Piedmontese Recepi around the World tasting menu (HK$1,380/person for 4 courses or HK$1,580 for 6 courses). Wine pairings are also available.
The interior draws inspiration from the terroir and castle where the original Castellana is situated in Italy. Designed by JJ Acuna/Bespoke Studio, the restaurant comes complete with two entrances – one on Duddell Street for VIP customers, with an intimate chef’s table and and formal dining room, and the main entrance on Ice House Street.
The decor is inspired by Piedmont, with the carpets bejewelled with the seasonal colours of the region. Elements of the aged walls and lighting accents take direct inspiration from the castle. The original custom-made statement wine wall has been kept intact and brought to the new location from Causeway Bay.
Amuse-bouches: cured lardo sits atop a thin cracker flavoured with rosemary, sage and thyme. Next to this, there’s a small piece of raw prawn on burrata topped with shaved Amalfi lemon zest. Both bites are so simple, yet they impart powerful flavours. The lardo plays with polar-opposite textures, with the slightly chewy, fatty meat contrasting the crunchy, wafer-thin cracker. The subtle sweetness and soft texture of both the prawn and burrata are uplifted by refreshing Amalfi lemon.
Girello di vitello invecchiato: creamy Piedmontese burrata dresses ribbons of house-cured bresola made of dry-aged veal round. Red and green sorel, marigold petals and leaves, beetroot and rocket are carefully used as garnishes. The creaminess of the burrata evens out the saltiness of the bresola, and the fresh herbs and leaves add an earthy crunch.
Minestrone contemporaneo: minestrone soup is given a modern, light makeover by Chef Morelli without the use of meat. The yellow-hued broth is tomato focused, with thin shavings of courgette, asparagus, carrot and beet complementing the soup. Edamame and chickpeas add starchy elements, replacing the pasta that’s more commonly used in the traditional recipe.
Bottoni di aragosta blu: this is one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had in Hong Kong – a signature of Castellana. The large ravioli are stuffed with a generous amount of succulent blue lobster and topped with a very creamy, salty, buttery tomato sauce. The ravioli is cooked al dente, so it has a slight chewiness that balances the other soft textures of the dish. One to savour!
La Fassona a Torino: breaded Fassona veal fillet is cooked to medium rare, with a dollop of melted aged Taleggio cheese drizzled on the plate, which is then dotted with black garlic sauce. Dipping the crispy, tender meat into the cheese might not be for everyone, considering the pungency of the aged cheese; I found the Taleggio a bit too sharp for my liking, but I loved the saltiness it adds to the veal. The black garlic gives a smooth, slightly sweet ending and adds depth to the dish as a whole.
Castellana tiramisu: this deconstructed tiramisu was made in front of us at the chef’s table. Coffee “dirt” is dusted in the middle of the dish along with coffee gel and foamy whipped mascarpone cream. A thin, crunchy chocolate-coffee shell is dusted with extra cocoa powder before being placed atop the cream, which is decorated with orange blossom. This tiramisu won’t give you an intense sugar high. It’s very light on the coffee flavour (there’s no bitterness) and heavier on the cream.
Chef Morelli crafts refined Piedmontese cuisine at the relocated Casetallana. The modern yet warm and inviting look makes the restaurant feel more approachable compared to its previous location in Causeway Bay. Thankfully, Castellana’s classic Italian charm remains.
Where: UG/F & 1/F, Club Lusitano, 16 Ice House Street (another entrance via Duddell Street), Central
For reservations: phone 3188 5028 or book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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