Penna is Chef Ken Lau’s latest Italian restaurant courtesy of LUBUDS group

The mastermind behind Penna, which falls under the LUBUDS portfolio, is local celebrity chef Ken Lau, who has garnered a promising reputation for his series of restaurants under the F&B group. Chef Lau has over 30 years of culinary experience and has worked at top restaurants such as The Verandah and, at The Peninsula Hong Kong, Chesa, Felix and Gaddi’s. This time, he employs his creativity in serving up homestyle Italian dishes with international culinary influences at Penna.

Let’s take a closer look at Penna’s signature dishes.

Roasted bone marrow with baked oysters (HK$298)

A few restaurants in Hong Kong are starting to pair beef and oyster, but this combination at Penna certainly stands out amongst the crowd. Whole bone marrow is roasted to a decent level of charring and caramelisation, with the baked French oysters exuding gentle aromas of sake and herbal butter. The idea of this dish is to first slather your toast with a generous amount of bone marrow and then add a baked oyster on top as the crown jewel, devouring it in one go. Glorifying an interplay of richness on richness, the lingering harmony of this combination on the taste buds is nothing short of explosive.

Roasted Italian escargots (HK$138)

We were next presented with a delicacy from France. The snails are profoundly flavourful given their marination in milk, shallot, onion and garlic, then cooked together with Italian herbs, brandy and heavy cream. The bed of mashed potato beneath the snails manages to soak up all the buttery, garlicky goodness – if only there were more! Unfortunately, the escargots were slightly overcooked, creating a mildly rubbery texture. Perhaps the pitfall of a heavy marination and cooking preparation means that the cooking time on the snails was prolonged – something to watch out for in future.


Roasted three-yellow chicken with chicken gravy (HK$168 for ½; HK$298 for whole)

Using local produce cooked in a Western technique is a trend in Hong Kong. In this preparation, the chicken is dry-aged for two days in order to remove any excess moisture from the skin so that it crisps up during roasting – in fact, this is also a very Chinese method of preparing poultry. The chicken was roasted to perfection, with both the thigh and breast regions remaining juicy and tender. The dry-ageing process also enables the chicken’s flavour to intensify, much like how dry-ageing beef works. To bind all this together, an intense chicken jus is served on the side, which is a concentrated mixing pot of chicken and vegetables flavours. 


Lobster-ricotta ravioli (HK$298) 

And of course there has to be pasta on an Italian menu! This lobster ravioli has a ricotta filling containing hints of basil and shallot to cut through the richness of the cheese. The ravioli skin was adequately al dente, and the lobster meat was springy and full of oceanic flavour. Rounding out the dish is a rich and lively lobster sauce. By serving the whole lobster shell including the head, we were able to mix some of the tomalley into the ravioli as a cherry on top to amp up those flavours, creating our own unique head-to-tail pasta dish. 


Confit duck-leg risotto with beetroot and gorgonzola (HK$268) 

A classic French dish that has Italian influences seeping through, this dish exhibits a joyful balance between crispy duck skin and tender strands of duck flesh falling off the bone. The spices and herbs penetrate sufficiently into the meat to create a flavourful bite each time. The risotto is creamy yet still full of body and character, while the beetroot is an interesting yet delightful addition to this traditional Italian dish. It’s appreciated that gorgonzola is part of the ingredients used to elevate the flavour profile of the risotto, but the cheese itself is somewhat lacking and perhaps could be strengthened a bit just to savour that salty punch in flavour. 


Located in one of the largest shopping malls in the Taikoo Shing area, Penna gives its rival Italian restaurants in the neighbourhood a good run for their money. The eatery serves up an array of authentic Italian dishes blended with some innovative ingredients and preparation techniques from other cultures. Another point of mention is that the portion sizes are quite substantial, which is in line with their intent of offering family-style sharing dishes. Having just opened a few weeks ago, Penna is one to look out for!

Where: Shop 314, 3/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing

For reservations: phone 2886 3378 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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️  ‍♂️ Full time food eater, part time wine drinker, sometimes a medical doctor.   Instagram: drfoodie_hk

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