The Grissini weekend brunch ($710 per person, with optional upgrade supplements) will leave you satisfied and glutted.
Overlooking Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour, Grissini’s convivial, modest and homey ambiance makes it the perfect place for a laid-back and chillaxing weekend brunch. The interior is unpretentiously elegant with wooden rustic arched doors, encaustic tiles and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows. The clean artistry resembles the philosophy of the Italian meal we had that day — simple, humble and with nothing overly fancy or unnecessary.
The meal started off with the amazing Grissini (breadsticks). They’re served warm, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They are filled with buttery flavours, which we found very similar to Japanese Shio Pan, texture and taste-wise. The balsamic vinegar was of high quality. It was thick and sweet, and didn’t actually taste sour like normal vinegars. We also requested butter, and were impressed with the quality. It was whipped butter, resulting in a creamy and smooth finish. The Grissini was addictive, as you can tell from all the breadcrumbs on the table in my food photos!
There were six appetisers for sharing, making sure you get to try all of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
1. Ostriche e friarielli (Oyster with pickled turnip leaves)
The flavours of oyster were on the mild side, slightly briny with subtle hints of the ocean. The pickled turnip leaves elevated the dish by adding some acidity and textures to the oysters. It would be even better if the oysters could be plumper.
2. Alici marinate all’ amalfitana (marinated anchovies)
The marinade of lemon, mint and chilli, balanced the fishy and salty flavours of anchovies. I don’t normally eat silver-skinned fish but, surprisingly, this was acceptable for me.
3. Capocollo di martina franca (Capocollo Ham)
Capocollo ham is similar to the more commonly-known prosciutto. They’re both whole muscle salume, except that capocollo is taken from the pig’s neck, and prosciutto from its hind leg. We loved the ham for its leaner meat, aromatic flavours and the slight crisp on the sides.
4. Carpaccio di ricciola (yellowtail carpaccio, eggplant, anchovies colatura, lemon balm)
The yellow tail was fresh, and its high fat content resulted in a creamy and buttery texture. The amber-coloured, briny and savoury colatura (similar to fish sauce in Asian cuisine) added in extra umami and complexity to the dish.
5. Vitello tonnato (milk fed veal, tuna sauce, caper leaf)
The veal was slow cooked, resulting in a fine-grained and velvety texture. The thinly-sliced veal shavings, which tasted mild and delicate, were slathered in the bold and creamy tuna sauce. The punchiness of capers gave the dish a Mediterranean twist with a savoury depth.
6. Burrata e pomodori (burrata and cherry tomatoes)
What could go wrong with this combination? The cherry tomatoes were super fresh. It is unfathomable how such a tiny little fruit could house the ample amount of sweet, bursting juices. The lush, oozy cheese curds of the burrata were cased within a spongy elastic layer. The fine and fresh ingredients brought this classic and simple dish to a whole new level.
Uovo, Asparagi bianchi e parmigiano (Soft boiled free-range egg, white asparagus, parmesan foam, baby spinach)
I was impressed with the next course – extremely rich and luscious flavours of Parmesan with its signature piquant, nutty notes, in a sauce that was foamed to make it lighter on the palate. The egg was cooked by sous-vide, similar to onsen eggs, giving the yolks a silky creamy consistency, and the whites a light gelatinous texture. White asparagus, which is grown without sunlight to give a sweeter aroma, and it is less grassy than the green ones. Together with the parmesan wafer, they added some nice crunch to the dish.
1. Pollo piemontese cotto in pentola d’argilla (Roman clay pot baked chicken, morel mushrooms, potatoes) – shared between 2, supplement $170
This was an amazing dish. Being cooked in a an enclosed clay pot, it ensured that all the liquids of chicken are retained. You could see how plump the chicken was. The flesh was smooth, tender and succulent, even for the breast. The morels and potatoes also soaked up all the excess juices. The entire dish was infused with so many flavours, from the sweetness of vegetables, earthiness of morels and the savoury chicken.
2. Spaghetti all’astice (spaghetti, Atlantic lobster, piennolo tomatoes, basil) – supplement $120
The cold-water Atlantic lobster was fresh, with firm, bouncy meat, and a sweet briny flavour. Piennolo tomatoes were used as the sauce base. Different from normal cherry tomatoes, their shape is slightly elongated with a tip on the top, and they gave the sauce surprising fruitiness and a bright acidity. Grissini was not stingy on the portion at all. Each bite was filled with thick luscious sauce and mouthfuls of lobster meat.
3. Pappardelle allo zafferano (homemade saffron pappardelle, wild boar ragout, rapini leaf)
This dish sounds very exotic with the use of wild boar, but in fact it is widely used in recipes in Tuscany. Boar is a healthy option of meat, and the flavour lies somewhere between venison and pork. The boar in the pasta was treated perfectly without a strong gamey taste. Rapini leaves are somewhat like Italian broccoli, and carry an assertive and slight bitterness. The pasta was cooked al dente with a nice bounce.
1. Tiramisu all’amaretto
The meal wouldn’t be complete without Grissini’s signature tiramisu, made with expresso coffee, lady finger biscuits, mascarpone and amaretto. The flavour of the almond liqueur was so distinct and prominent, that it gave me a slight burning sensation on the throat! It was an intense, divine dessert.
2. Coppa Al Limone (lemon confit, limoncello custard, lemon foam, lemon ice cream, lemon shortbread)
The tanginess and acidity of this dessert fully tantalised our tastebuds. It was a revitalising refreshment, and served as a nice cleanser for the palate after all the food we had. The lemon shortbread was crumbly and gave the cream-based dessert some nice crunch.
3. Pastiera napoletana (sheep ricotta, orange blossom)
Compared to the other desserts, I found this a little underwhelming probably as I have never been a fan of orange-flavoured desserts. The tart crust was also a little too dense and doughy for my liking.
Coffee, tea and chocolates
Not featured in photos were the amazing lattes and cappuccinos my friends had. The Grissini coffee was on the light-roasted side, with mild nutty flavours and minimal acidity.
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong , 1 Harbour Road, 2584 7722