Monday, September 20, 2021

Rational Choice

It could be because I have been missing traveling too much, but the décor at Radical Chic up on the top floors of ICC reminded me of the legendary Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan that we went some years ago, with the “scarily bright”, aesthetic white wall with eccentric mix of artwork hanging around and the spacious, minimalist dining area. I had that feeling the moment I stepped into the restaurant after riding up the elevator to Level 101 of the building, and turned out the style of cooking was similar too, with Chef Andrea Tarini taking on traditional Italian cooking with a contemporary touch. 

What a pity I missed the gorgeous sunset by the time I reach the restaurant for a dinner tasting recently, with the great view from the highest vantage point in all of Kowloon being one of the selling point of the restaurant, but luckily I arrived just in time for the first course to be served so I didn’t miss one bit of the tasting menu being offered. The first course of red prawn looked like a piece of art, with three decent-sized red prawns slightly seasoned and served raw, with caponata “ice-cream” served in the center. It’s less smooth than the name of the dish suggested but with excellent flavor. I don’t recall having “Frog Legs” in an Italian restaurant before, but it was a neat dish, with a few pieces of the leg battered and deep-fried, and served with a sweet “tomato marmalade” in the middle with a touch of tanginess. 

“There’s no dairy involved in the making of the zucchini soup”, we were told as our third course was served. And yes I was impressed with the smooth, airy texture of the soup sans any cream or milk or butter with just the purest vegetable flavor. Good with the squash flower fritter served alongside too for the extra layer of texture. The seafood risotto was another signature of theirs, with the risotto base cooking with a seafood broth giving it a milder flavor, and a combination of seafood was laid neatly on top, so every spoonful felt like a separate dish form the milder baby squid all the way to the richest bite from the caviar. It was much enjoyable without the overbearing taste. 

The “carbonara” was the only dish I didn’t like as much, with the dish presented as round shaped Cappelli del prete pasta with egg and ham filling. Nothing wrong with being creative, but I thought it was slightly too heavy on the salt. The beef main dish was probably the most straight forward of all, with two pieces of Japanese Omi Wagyu beef, slightly grilled on the pan and served with roasted bell peppers and “Italian BBQ Sauce” on the side made with balsamic reduction. The meat was fatty and tender. “The best cherry sorbet you will ever taste” was what our host promised, well, while I wasn’t 100% sure whether it’s true, but it was a very decent palate cleanser course, with the sweet sorbet served on top of the slightly caramelized cherries. The “Deconstructed Tiramisu” was served as the name suggested, with each component randomly gathered around the large rounded porcelain plate. I love the rich and firm texture of the whipped mascarpone. 

I continued with a decent flight of Italian wines as I did throughout the week, with the exception of the champagne being served as aperitif. The white with some skin contact (2019 Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio) was the most interesting one, with lots of minerals and stone fruits and perfect for the seafood dishes. Couldn’t go wrong with a Brunello for the meat and the medium body worked fine with the milder beef flavor (than say, a big slab of Italian breed Fassona steak). 

I am still not sure about the "Radical" part in the name, but let's just say it would be a rational choice to come back some time, perhaps for an early meal so I could catch that gorgeous sunset I have missed this time around. 

When? September 9 2021
Where? Radical Chic, Shop B1, Level 101, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon
Menu Highlights? Risotto di mare
Champagne Laherte Freres "Ultradition" Brut NV
2019 Vie di Romans "Dessimis" Pinot Grigio, Friuli Isonzo DOC
2018 Bucci Verdicchio Classico dei Castelli di Jesi DOC
2012 Franz Haas Manna IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti
2016 Nada Fiorenzo Barbaresco DOCG
2013 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

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