Photo Credit: Ulterior Epicure
Who would have guessed that fungi would be amongst the most coveted items in the global culinary sphere? Whether black truffles from the Périgord region of France or white truffles from Alba in Italy (the most expensive in the world), truffles are rare luxury foods with a very short growing season and a unique harvesting method: sniffed out by trained dogs or female pigs. The restaurants below are featuring divine black truffle dishes and menus – we can almost smell the intense earthy aroma from here…
1) Assaggio Trattoria Italiana (Wanchai): Chef Alessandro Mordini has sought out the best of the best aromatic black truffles from central Italy (Marche, Tuscany and Umbria) to use in his Black Truffle Temptation menu, available from now until mid-February – or until the truffles run out. This à la carte menu features seasonal ingredients and slow-cooking methods to complement the earthy truffle flavour. Dishes range from mixed bean and lentil soup with spelt quadrucci pasta and black truffle ($98), to potato and pumpkin gnocchi in pioppini mushroom sauce, Tuscan Pecorino cheese and black truffle ($148), to hanger steak in a shallot, red wine and black truffle sauce served with polenta and roasted pumpkin ($248). In addition, diners can top up any dish from the restaurant’s standard à la carte menu with shavings of black truffle priced at $40 per gram. Go on – you know you want to…
Assaggio’s potato and pumpkin gnocchi in pioppini mushroom sauce, Tuscan Pecorino cheese and black truffle
6/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2877 3999
2) Messina: From now until 6 April at both lunch and dinner, diners can mix and match with Chef Francesco Greco’s winter black truffle menu, opting for four ($880), five ($980) or six courses ($1,080) – or just go à la carte. Chef Greco has sourced the truffles from Norcia in Umbria, Italy, and he promises that they are at their peak intensity in the winter. Highlights include Granny Smith-marinated amberjack with Spinosini artichoke and black truffle ($180), Setaro linguine with Brittany lobster, black truffle and Sicilian tomato sauce ($450) and grilled Fassone Piedmontese sirloin with seasonal mushrooms and truffled potato ($420).
Messina’s Setaro linguine with Brittany lobster, black truffle and Sicilian tomato sauce
5/F, Harbourfront Landmark, 11 Wan Hoi Street, Whampoa, Hung Hom, 3746 2733, messina@KOdining.com
3) Grissini: Available from now till the truffles are no more, Grissini Chef Andrea Fraire has crafted a menu bursting with black truffles from the Périgord region of Southwest France. Fassone Piedmontese beef carpaccio with black winter truffle, artichoke and Parmigiano-Reggiano ($450), “40 egg yolks” carbonara with black winter truffle ($430) and Acquerello risotto with 24-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, pork demi-glace and black winter truffle ($460) are amongst the pungent, fragrant offerings. Grand Hyatt Sommelier Nicolas Deneux has selected a range of global wines to match with these dishes for the ultimate truffly experience.
2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722
4) Grand Hyatt Steakhouse: Also at one of our favourite hotels on the Island, Grand Hyatt Steakhouse Chef Patrick Shimada has come up with a unique culinary duo, pairing oxtail and black truffle. These dishes are available only till the end of January, however, so it’s time to get booking. Chef Shimada says that the strong flavour of the Australian Wagyu oxtail is the ideal complement to fresh black truffle, and his slow-cooked dishes include braised oxtail ravioli with pan-fried foie gras and black truffle ($380), oxtail casserole with mushrooms, winter veggies and black Périgord truffle ($460) and braised stuffed oxtail with parsnip purée and black truffle jus ($580). They sound like sophisticated comfort foods for sharing on these chilly January nights.
Oxtail casserole with mushrooms, winter vegetables and black Périgord truffle at Grand Hyatt Steakhouse
M/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722
5) FoFo by el Willy: This Spanish restaurant is also getting in on the truffle action with Chef Alex Fargas’ menu bursting with black truffles from Aragon in eastern Spain. On offer are seasonal five-course ($688 per person) and eight-course ($1,088 per person) degustation menus, as well as à la carte dishes. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to truffle heaven with Chef Fargas’ premium truffle “bikini” (the world’s best grilled cheese sarnie), priced at $110. We’re definitely intrigued by the chef’s dessert; he’ll be serving up scoops of homemade black truffle ice cream, accompanied by mascarpone mousse, crispy brioche and warm crème anglaise ($155). Because the winter black truffle season is so brief (which makes this delicacy even more special), FoFo’s truffle dishes will be available only until the end of the month.
20/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, 2900 2009