Spiga ★★★★1/2

I’ve been looking forward to my visit to Spiga ever since I visited the venue for a party on their terrace a few weeks ago. It’s huge space and home to a venture brought to Hong Kong by the Dining Concepts group.

Spiga hails from North Eastern Italy, home to Italy’s youngest 2 star Michelin chef Enrico Bartelloni and Hong Kong is his first overseas endeavour. Billed as a tribute to Italian cuisine, Spiga has a premium menu with a range of classic Italian dishes and fine dining options. Many dishes feature in the original venue, so you can get a chance to taste a piece of Italy in Hong Kong without too many air miles involved.

With so much choice on the menu and limited capacity to eat, we opted for Chef Enrico Bartelloni’s tasting menu. It’s served for the whole table so your dining partner will have to forgo the pizza they may have been planning to order! We also opted for the additional wine pairings. Each dish came with a carefully selected wine and a sommelier on hand to give you an introduction to each – a nice touch. With impeccable service, warm earthy tones and a vintage interior, the scene for the meal was well set. The tastes proved to be equally special.

We had a wonderful start, courtesy of a rich and creamy soft potato soup. This was no ordinary soup though, a lightly seasoned taste with bursts of flavour from little pockets of salmon roe, capers and chopped parsley. A hint of lemon added a well rounded citrus tang to balance the creaminess. Fine dining at its finest.

We were given instructions on how to eat our next dish. I would certainly have got it wrong otherwise. It’s not obvious as it entails eating the whole prawn – legs and all. It was carefully trimmed with the shell removed and deveined of course, and actually rather tasty.

The Sicilian Red Prawn was served half fried with tamarind sauce and a small side bowl of chickpea soup. We were advised not to dunk the prawn in the soup, it was to follow. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind and I can only assume other patrons may have done so! Half of the prawn was raw – the flesh was sweet with a soft juicy texture while the fried legs added a satisfying crunch.

The tasting course doesn’t have the ubiquitous mid-meal Italian pasta but it does have a risotto. Cooked in a beetroot reduction there was just a hint of sweetness to the rice. The best part was the  Gorgonzola cheese sauce topping, it was just as I hoped- the strong pungent cheese adding a wonderful aroma and taste.

The exquisite preparation and presentation of the first three tasting dishes set really high standards for our main dish. The presentation was again aesthetic, yet it didn’t quite live up to expectations. The meat was undeniably well cooked – tender with a crispy layer of fat, yet there was little of the expected savoury meaty taste, lacking seasoning. The accompanying Dijon mustard millefeuille potato was better, a crispy side to the main.

For dessert, we opted to choose from the main menu to get a bit of variety and were recommended to sample the “idea de cafe”. I don’t speak Italian but it’s fairly obvious what it translates as: literally “the Idea of Coffee”. However, it turned out to be a cake with beetroot! Ok, it tasted of coffee too and was a delightful combination accompanied by a sweet orange sorbet and crumbled biscuit. I won’t even try to translate the Italian name of our other dessert, but it was a blend of chocolate foam and hazelnut ice cream and a wonderful finish to a divine meal. Alla prosima!

Address: 3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Tel: 2871 0055

Word by Neil Bowen

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