Saturday, July 24, 2021

Borgogno Dinner

I couldn’t recall having been to Cipriani before, so I supposed that’s part of the reasons we signed up for the wine dinner at the restaurant the other day featuring wines from the Borgogno Winery right in the heart of Barolo.

With this members-only restaurant owned and operated by the same group which runs the China Club right upstairs, there’s no surprise that there’s the same traits of classic design in both venues, located in the old Bank of China Building on Des Voeux. I love its no-fuss décor as I walked out of the elevator, completed with the lounge area in the front, bar on the side and the dining area further back – nothing fancy, just resembling a classic trattoria that one would run into just about any town in Italy. 

Dinner started straight away in the private room at the back as soon as everyone arrived and settled at their tables, with just the usual introduction of the wines, the terroir, the winery, etc etc. We didn’t stop by Borgogno Winery last time when we were in Piedmont, but it certainly left an impression as we literally parked next door and walked by the building a few times during our stay there (and fetched a few bottles home). And the dishes we had this evening worked along well with a few bottles that were poured. 

We started with Fritto Misto, and that’s right after the bowl of snacks of fried zucchini served before dinner. Done in the classic manner with squids, shrimps and vegetables, battered, deep-fried and eaten with a gentle squeeze of lemon juice, it worked well with the crisp Riesling produced by the winery. Next course was beef carpaccio, said to be invented by Guiseppe Cipriani, the Venetian hotelier and the namesake of the restaurant, with the thinnest slices of raw beef served with a creamy dressing a.k.a. Cipriani sauce. Simply delicious. 

Linguine with Red Prawns was another famous dish on their repertoire – well, it’s hard to go wrong with such nice Mediterranean red prawns, perfectly cooked and served with the pasta tossed in the sauce with all the essence from the prawn shells and tomalley. It’s such comfort food. Moving on to the mains was another straight forward dish, the braised beef cheeks served in red wine sauce. It’s always a good dish to go with the Barolo (where they would use the same wine to braise the meat and to drink with the dish). No dessert this time, much to my disappointment (as I have been craving for a nice gelato for a while), and the cheese plate was forgettable to be honest. 

But it’s the wines that we came here for this time. After the simple but easy-drinking Riesling, we moved on with the “No Name” Nebbiolo for the beef carpaccio. Said to be made with the same batch of grapes used for their single terroir Barolo, this bottle was of lighter bodied yet with nice red fruits and some tannins. I loved Barbera as much as I liked its more revered cousins, and this one in 2018 vintage was quite nice, with plenty of red fruit notes and rounded. We saved the pair of Barolos to go with the beef main course, with two bottles being 13 years apart. We started with the 2016, nice and smooth with some black fruits and hint of earthiness – need some more time I reckon, especially compared to the 2003 Riserva, came of age for sure. More earthy than fruity this one, but still with good length, and definitely helped with the bottles kept in good condition. That capped a nice and easy evening with simple home-style food, decent wines, and each other’s company after a long day at work. 

When? June 22 2021
Where? Cipriani Hong Kong, 12/F Old Bank of China Building, 2A Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Beef Carpaccio alla Cipriani
2018 Giacomo Borgogno Era Ora Langhe Riesling DOC
2016 Giacomo Borgogno “No Name” Langhe Nebbiolo DOC
2018 Giacomo Borgogno Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOCG
2016 Giacomo Borgogno Barolo DOCG
2003 Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva DOCG

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