Tsim Sha Tsui has a lot of hidden gems, and Cucina at Mark Polo Hongkong Hotel is a restaurant I’d classify under this category. I won’t lie – I usually avoid TST because I find it overwhelming, but going to TST on a weeknight is worth a try. The prices at Cucina are decent, the restaurant has a relaxing ambience and it’s located on the harbour. Who doesn’t love dining with a view of Hong Kong’s skyline? Cucina attracts a local crowd, mainly those getting off work and taking their clients out for dinner or families and couples.
For this special occasion, Cucina welcomes back guest chef Pasqualino Barbasso, who’s collaborated with Marco Polo’s team to create a menu filled with Neapolitan pizzas. When he’s not in the kitchen, he’s busy showcasing his gravity-defying pizza skills. Did I mention he’s a two-time acrobatic pizza world champion? Chef Barbasso has competed and performed in countries such as France, the UK, Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Singapore.
Slow-cooked beef short rib with Chianti mushroom risotto
Beyond the pizzas, a new menu of Tuscan dishes, available until 31 May 2019, is filled with a diverse selection of seafood, beef and chicken dishes. During our the tasting, our favourites were the seafood casserole Livornese style ($428) and the slow-cooked beef short rib with Chianti mushroom risotto ($788).
Seafood casserole Livornese style
These dishes are meant for larger groups and are shared family style, using Tuscan cooking techniques and incorporating imported Italian ingredients. The seafood casserole was a medley of clams, cuttlefish, mussels, prawns and scallops, all sitting in a warm tomato broth and served with thin, crisp bread. The short rib was tender and served on a bed of Chianti mushroom risotto, which was rich and comforting.
We also tried the panzanella salad ($308) and the all’astice pizza ($348), a special edition made by Chef Barbasso. The salad was delicious, filled with toasted bread, tomatoes, greens and large pieces of lobster. The dressing was light, creating a good balance amongst all the ingredients. On the other hand, the all’astice pizza didn’t use tomato sauce but was instead topped with mozzarella and lemon zest. The lemon amplified the sweetness of the lobster, giving a fresh, citrusy smell, reminding me of summertime.
The sweet forest pizza ($228) came as our final dish, using custard cream as the base, with mixed berries, whipped cream and icing sugar as the toppings. It was a bit too heavy for me, but it would be well-suited for those with a sweet tooth.
Sweet forest pizza
The dishes at Cucina utilise traditional cooking techniques, catering the ingredients to a local crowd. The portions are a good size, so booking with a larger party would be perfect so that more can be shared. While Chef Barbasso is only in Hong Kong for a short time, his special pizzas and the new Tuscan dishes will remain on the menu until the end of May.
6/F, Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST, 2113 0808, click here to book now
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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