Giando has made the move to its dream location on trendy Star Street, and chef and owner Gianni Caprioli is intent on making it a must-visit destination. With the new addition of Chef David Tamburini to help re-introduce Giando to the Hong Kong dining scene, the keyword here, as it has always been, is fresh. Fresh produce, fresh ingredients, sourced from boutique Italian farms, just the way Italian cuisine should be.
Eggplant in “Parmigiana” style, with Parmesan, fresh tomato, and basil
Octopus and Lemon Scented Crushed Potato Salad, Sicilian Olives & Capers
It's no secret that I am a big admirer of Chef Gianni and his work, and my visit to Giando was no exception. Our 9 course meal began with an Italian classic, Parmigiana di melanzana. It arrived smoky and rich from the barbecue grill and with a tangy tomato purée on top, and was an excellent execution of a staple dish. The following octopus dish was tender and, coupled with salty olives, thinly-sliced and firm veggies, and fluffy lemon-infused mashed potatoes, it was a refreshing bite.
Fried baby calamari and zucchini bites were also passed around the table at this point (no photos, I'm afraid), served with a mild tartar sauce with complex flavours, and frisée to offset the deep fried aspect of the dish.
Ravioli filled with smoked cod fish in lemon butter and capers
Having never tried raviolis stuffed with fish, this next dish was a novelty. Light and fresh, with a dense cod fish and cheese filling and a delicate, soft ravioli casing, here we see the chefs stretching their culinary muscles. The lemon butter provided that extra zing to round up the flavours.
Hand-Twisted Pasta with Mixed Seafood and Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce
Allegedly the only kitchen in Hong Kong that serves up handmade twisted pasta, this dish was soft and tender, and with a lightly sweet and savoury taste overall. The tomato sauce was herby and tangy and the minimal chunks of seafood served as a secondary accompaniment, but this one's all about the handcrafted pasta.
The beetroot risotto with Gorgonzola provided a fresh perspective on risotto-making and was delicious and cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so, with a lingering aftertaste of celery pesto.
Pan-fried Italian Seabass Fillet, Lettuce Cream, Olives, Capers and Raisin
With a crusted, crispy skin and a soft fillet, the seabass was a guaranteed hit. The lettuce cream was surprisingly flavourful and mild enough to accommodate and tone down the saltiness of the fish. The raisins were a nice touch and added an additional sweetness to the dish.
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mediterranean herbs and zucchini salad
Changing it up at this point in the tasting, we were served our last mains, a lamb chop grilled to a juicy, blushing red, to showcase the variety of the menu (as if my slowly bulging belly needed a reminder). The zucchini was unimpressive, but the herb-infused meat was fatty and tender, and melted on the tongue.
Chef Gianni's homemade gelato with assorted toppings
Gianni's homemade gelato with assorted toppings
And probably no meal under Gianni Caprioli's helm would be complete without his homemade gelato. It was the perfect cool-off before sending us back onto the muggy summer heat. Organic and fresh, the vanilla gelato was smooth as a dream and we got to have a little bit of fun playing with our toppings. As you can see, I just indiscriminately slathered mine in whatever toppings were available (assorted berries, strawberries, and honeycomb) and doused it in chocolate syrup, and it was delicious.
Chef Gianni has always been a passionate advocate for using quality, fresh, and culturally-relevant produce in his recipes and caring about his boutique producers, and it shows in his food, especially when he recounts the origins of every single ingredient used. It's inviting and immersive, and having the opportunity to learn the background behind his dishes creates a much more intimate relationship between the dinner and the diner. Schedule a visit for a special occasion, or go for brunch (starting at $288) on the weekends at a price tag that isn't going to make your wallets weep (but that's totally dependent on the deepness of your wallet and there's no judgment here from me, obviously).
9 Star Street Shop 1, G/F Tower 1 Starcrest, Wan Chai
Tel: 2511 8912