This is a story of an ordinary girl who found unexpected love in an extraordinary dining experience.
We were recently invited for an artistic Italian journey at the acclaimed Grand Hyatt’s Grissini. While being led to a private room that was romantically lit with tea candles and decorated with fresh, colourful flowers, I immediately sensed a fairy tale unravelling.
A proposal was going to happen that evening – a proposal between me and the beautiful collaboration of two-Michelin-starred guest chef Nino Di Costanzo and Grissini Chef de Cuisine Alessandro Cozzolino. My heart had already said ‘yes’ a million times.
A creative yet humble talent who achieved two Michelin stars for Ristorante il Mosaico in two years and another two Michelin stars for his own restaurant, Daní Maison, Chef Di Costanzo has always been very welcoming and wants to invite guests to go on an artistic journey with him at his ‘home’.
Known as the ‘silent artist’ in the culinary world, Chef Di Costanzo’s creations, on the contrary, are pretty loud in flavour. His artistic flair was evident when the first appetiser, gambero rosso al mandarino con ricotta e frisella, rolled out.
Gambero rosso al mandarino con ricotta e frisella
The delicate coral-shaped red prawn tartare was not only impeccable looking but perfectly balanced with the rich ricotta cheese bits, tangy mandarin drops and crunchy frisella bread crisps.
Pettine di mare abbrustolito con guanciale, nduja e peperone
Chef Cozzolino’s seafood dish, pettine di mare abbrustolito con guanciale, nduja e peperone, was creatively interpreted too. The spicy notes of the salami and guanciale paste harmonised beautifully with the caramelised peppers – great flavours that complemented the crispy seared scallop.
Risotto Napoletano alla carbonara
The paradox of Chef Di Costanzo’s risotto Napoletano alla carbonara came as a pleasant surprise, when we discovered that he had replaced the risotto with pasta, giving the dish a consistent al dente texture.
Bocconcini di patate con frutti di mare, cacio e pepe
I found home in Chef Cozzolino’s bocconcini di patate con frutti di mare, cacio e pepe. Knowing that the gnocchi was made using the chef's traditional family recipe gave that extra warm, fuzzy kick in my tummy as I dug my way through the umami seafood goodness.
Agnello Parmigiana di melanzane
Chef Di Costanzo stumped us with his last main course for the night, agnello Parmigiana di melanzane. This beautiful piece of edible art consisted of:
1) A savoury block of lamb that was tenderly cooked for two days at 65°C, with a creamy aubergine Parmesan filling
2) An immaculately sliced, stacked and seared potato lasagne – someone’s got incredible knife skills
3) A petite escarole pizza that came in a crunchy pastry with a rich filling of anchovy and olive
4) Random streaks of tomato purée, basil purée and sticky gravy
Mousse ai tre cioccolati con sorbetto al passione frutto
The art fest ended when Chef Di Costanzo’s dessert, mousse ai tre cioccolati con sorbetto al passione frutto was served on a mirror. Three different kinds of chocolate (dark, white and milk), a deceiving double illusion and one refreshing passion fruit sorbet that packed a punch. I swear in that moment, I was infinite.
This creative collaboration between Chef Alessandro Cozzolino and Chef Nino Di Costanzo felt lofty and dreamy, but it was indeed real. This love, albeit short-lived, was tasty and will always be remembered.Book Grissini online
2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722, firstname.lastname@example.org