The One With Goccia – Italian Finest Redefined

After the disappointing debacle that was The Fat Angelo’s, I was all but given up hope for Italian food in Hong Kong. Now before you bash me on the head saying that, hey that’s very narrow minded of you, let me remind you that you are talking to a guy who can’t tell the difference between baguette and foccacia, and have an aversion to any tomato-based pasta.

But that is all about to change.

Goccia

Goccia is a charming restaurant located right at the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. Occupying two floors, the ground floor was a dimmed cavern of cosy seats for those who would like to kick back after a long day at work with some drinks and friends. On the upper floor is a welcoming wide space (it’s a wonder what great interior design can do to prime real estate) for discerning diners looking for good Italian food.

Goccia

It was the latter to which I ascended to one weekday night for a spot of food and wine pairing meal. Now I won’t pretend to be a wine expert. Certainly I am a total noob when it comes to pairing your wine with food.

And that is also about to change.

Food #1: Sardinian Smoked Swordfish Roll With Fennel & Mini Ratatouille

Goccia

Smoked fish. At the best of time I eat this under duress. No, I don’t hate it, but I don’t think smoked meat taste good. But that’s because I was none the wiser to pair it with the right food. The smoked swordfish was fresh, heavy in taste and salty, as expected. That was balanced with some ratatouile – sourish stewed vegetable like zucchini, seasoned with black pepper. The crunchy fennel gives the combination some interesting texture.

The trick is to combine all this and balance it precociously on a piece of crunchy cracker. The result? A perfectly balance of flavour for your palate. I am now a convert of smoked meat.

Wine #1: Prosecco Di Valdobbiandene Col de’Sallici

The heavy combination of the swordfish assemble can then be “rinsed” with the fruity, slightly sour champagne. That brought out an even stronger flavour of the fish, a sensation that was hard to describe for the newbie in me.

Food #2: Spaghetti With Sicilian Red Prawns & Cherry Tomato In A Spicy Tomato Sauce

Goccia

I frown upon tomato-based pasta, coz I think it tasted weird and I do prefer the creamy variety. So when I was presented with this plain-looking spaghetti, I was apprehensive. Tenderly I took my first bite… and I was surprised. The base was slightly spicy but in what I could only describe as an “elegant” way. Instead of overpowering you and make your eyes water, the spice gently tease your taste buds, highlighting the taste of the red, crunchy Sicilian prawns.

Because of the location of Sicily, the prawns retain a certain exquisite taste of salty sea water, which was complimented nicely with the spicy, tomato base. I relish the prawns – succulent, fresh and crunchy, the way prawns should be. Everything in this dish – well, with the exception of the basil, hah – was imported from Sicily, for that perfectly Italian experience.

I realised that, before this, I just had not meet the right tomato-based Italian fare yet. And now I have.

Wine #2: Castello della Sala Bramito – Chardonnay Antinori

Coming from a history of some 700 years, this white wine has a very delicate, fruity taste, with a touch of olives (I was told that’s a signature of Italian wine). Its lightness brought up the fiery aftertaste that was the spaghetti. Now let me repeat that – spicy food and white wine. Have you heard of such a combi? Yet, it worked, perfectly in sync with each other.

Another thing I have learned is never, EVER eat pasta with beer. Beer, for all the good it can bring, destroys the flavour and texture of even the best Italian food.

Guilty as charged, I concurred wholehearted, while swirling that chardonnay and savouring that last bit of Sicilian prawns.

Food #3: Fillet of Red Gurnard With Florentine Panzanella & Fish Reduction

Goccia

To prepare for this fish, the fish was first cooked for three hours. Then the red gurnard was cooked in its own sauce. The result? A surprisingly tender yet crunchy but of fish goodness. It’s a wonder what fish reduction can do.

On to the panzanella – chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, with a touch of basil. This was my first time to try this Florentian fare. An interesting addition to the gurnard dish.

Wine #3: Sabazio Rosso di Montepulcino

This red wine was named after a monk from the abbey of Montepulciano who headed the wine revolution in the Middle Ages. It has a medium body, a little spicy and fruity, and was paired with the third dish of the night as not to overwhelm the fish. My fellow diner commented that it was indeed a “brave pairing”, positively a white-wine-styled red wine.

Dessert Platter

Goccia

To round off a night of such hearty meals, a platter of equally delicious desserts were in order! White chocolate cigar in mint and vanilla, hazelnut ice cream, tiramisu and strawberry cheesecake. Comparison were swiftly made and my fellow diners and I were dithering over which was the best. No conclusion came to mind – it’s a job hazard for food bloggers, I tell you! – but we were some happy campers.

A word about the restaurant. Goccia was helmed by the charmingly qucik-witted Chef Fabrizio, whose culinary skills in all things Italian were on display that night.

Certainly, the best of Italian food redefined. I will be back.

Click here for more photos from the night.

Note: This was an invited tasting session, a sneak peak for the Festival of Wine 2011

Goccia Ristorante Bar Terrace
G/F & 1/F, 73 Wyndham Street, Central
21678181
Website


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Comments

  1. Fan of Goccia says:

    Goccia! My fav restaurant in whole of Central. Would give a left leg to get a one-on-one time with the gorgeous chef!

  2. Guest says:

    Champagne, white and red all in one night? Awesomesauce. Can I use all my tokens at Goccia?

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