PASSIONE is a new Italian that vows to bring a perfect blend of traditional and modern recipes prepared with only the freshest ingredients. With rustic wooden panelled walls, warm lighting and a combination brown and beige furniture, the décor at PASSIONE is minimalistic yet elegant, and creates a perfectly cosy environment well suited for great long conversations.
If you don't already know, our First Bites events are for foodies eager to get ahead of the curve and want to try the newest restaurants in town. We were offered a five-course tasting menu last week that allowed us to taste all the best that PASSIONE had to offer.
We started off with a unique dish of smoked swordfish and onion gelato, which was a perfect showcase of PASSIONE’s inventive nature. While this combination is odd at first thought, the light, savoury touch of the thinly sliced swordfish had a particular affinity with the gelato. Although the main flavour ingredient of the gelato didn’t really shine through, it was soft and silky, and wonderfully refreshing as an appetiser.
Smoked swordfish with onion gelato
Next up was the Parma ham ravioli in a butter sage and green asparagus sauce. These delicate pasta pillows were packed with flavour, with a very smooth filling. The sage butter was light and creamy and accentuated the richness of the Parma ham.
Parma ham ravioli in sage butter and green asparagus sauce
While we indulged in the ravioli, we watched Chef Marco demonstrate how to make our next course of risotto with caperberry and hints of coffee and caviar served with Baccalá. We marvelled at Chef Marco's attentive nature as he slowly stirred the rice till translucent, without breaking the grains. The caperberries and dots of caviar really brightened up the deep flavours of the coffee risotto and complemented the salted cod.
Coffee risotto with Baccalá, caperberries and caviar
The next course of sea bream was served acqua pazza style, which was light and fresh with the natural flavours of the fish shining through. Certainly one of the highlights of the evening was the grilled Iberico pork with leeks, tomatoes and celeriac purée served with apple and fig Mostarda. Served medium to medium rare, our foodies were certainly a little baffled at these pink fillets that resembled the appearance of steak. The smooth and tender texture of the pork was immensely different from the leathery, chewy finish you often get with pork chops. Highly recommended!
Despite being super stuffed, we couldn’t resist the allure of the classic Italian dessert, the Chocolate Salami. Made with dark chocolate and studded with crushed cookies and roasted nuts, the chocolate wasn’t overly sweet and blended well with the flavour of the rocky road.
While Italian eateries are pretty much ubiquitous in Hong Kong, there aren’t that many that excels at both contemporary recipes and dishes that stick close to their Italian roots. PASSIONE is commendable because it caters to both those that want to be adventurous and also those looking for some good old fashion Italian comfort food.
PASSIONE, 3/F, Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine's Bazzar, Causeway Bay, 3523 1955
Written by CF Ng