Jo de Vivre
WHEN in Hong Kong, stay at least once in a hotel that has an expansive view of one of the world’s most stunning and distinctive skylines. Even on gray and rainy days, the view is incredible from a Harbour View room at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, which is situated so close to the water it’s almost like being on a balcony right over it. The skyline is even more stunning at night; you certainly could sleep with the curtains open to fall asleep to that view.
If an overnight stay at the hotel isn’t doable, visit Cucina instead, the hotel’s Italian restaurant overlooking Victoria Harbour. Patty Taboada, Ezekiel Sullano and I were invited to lunch here with Samantha Poon and Angel Wong of the hotel’s communications team. Cucina is headed by Chef Andrea Delzanno from Piedmont in northwestern Italy, who has worked with Michelin-star chefs for most of his career.
We were pleasantly surprised by the lobster salad with duck liver terrine, smoked mayo, avocado and mango sauce, which didn’t come in a bowl of greens, but was a lobster that had been carefully removed from the shell and served maintaining its form. We were treated to more plump, sweet lobster on homemade tagliolini, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and vanilla oil. Both lobster dishes are seasonal and therefore only served in Cucina from time to time, but for an excellent seafood and pasta dish any time of the year, order the linguine with red prawn and fresh cherry tomatoes. This is one of Chef Andrea’s signature dishes, which specifically uses Sicilian red prawn. “I always prepare a very good reduction made with the head and coral of the same prawn. It is best to use Sicilian cherry tomatoes for the sauce, which is sweet and bursting with flavor.”
We each picked a different dessert, and each one was a small work of art both on the plate and on the palate: modern light tiramisu, chocolate molten cake that oozed decadent warm chocolate when speared into, and a delicate chocolate sphere that was melted at the table with hot chocolate sauce.
The entire culinary experience is heightened by attentive service that never lets your water glass go empty, and a panoramic view of Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers that never fails to impress.