A family-style Italian fare with a Michelin-starred twist atop the Peak.
With the Peak Galleria – one of Hong Kong’s most iconic landmarks – having recently undergone a complete refurbishment, the updated venue has understandably drawn a slew of fine-dining eateries. The latest to open its doors is none other than FIAMMA, the sophomore SAR outing from renowned Italian chef Enrico Bartolini.
Boasting a staggering eight Michelin stars across five eateries, Bartolini is, in fact, the most Michelin star-awarded chef in his native country. His innovative techniques and high-end culinary wizardry, though, have been tempered for a more accessible, family-style offering in FIAMMA. “We want to take the best traditional recipes from all across Italy and give it a refined flourish,” explains head chef Paolo Olivieri, who also helms Bartolini’s other Hong Kong outpost, SPIGA, adding: “We want to allow diners to enjoy Italian family fare made with the very best of ingredients.”
Thus, FIAMMA’s menu eschews complex dishes for easily accessible Italian recipes. “We don’t want to overcomplicate the flavours,” says Olivieri, “Instead, we focus on a handful of ingredients per dish to ensure that each has its own turn to shine.”
Eager to test this theory, we began our tasting experience with two appetisers – Burrata E Pomodori and Tartare Di Bue Piemontese. Shipped fresh from Puglia in South Italy every few days, the burrata still had a fresh jiggle to it when it arrived tableside. Creamy and rich, it was enhanced further with the tartness of French heirloom tomatoes and earthy Taggiasca olives, with a powdering of basil crumbs and breadcrumbs adding an extra crunch.
“We want to take the best traditional recipes from all across Italy and give it a refined flourish”
The tartare, meanwhile, was a veritable feast for the eyes, being garnished with edible flowers, black truffle flakes and even a quail egg yolk for good measure. Its taste was equally enticing, with the meat – the famed Fassona beef sourced from Piedmont – surely rising as the star of this ensemble culinary cast.
Next to arrive was the Tagliolini Ai Ricci, Bottarga, Limone, with the freshly made tagliolini merging with grey mullet bottarga (roe) and Sicilian bottarga that bequeathed the dish with lavish oceanic accents. Heightening its appeal were the Japanese sea urchins atop the dish.
We then dove into another pasta dish, this time the hearty Tortellini Emiliani E Parmigiano. A classic italian recipe, the Italian-style dumplings were filled with a smooth blend of pork and beef, drizzled liberally with Parmigiano Reggiano fondue and a beef jus. Topped with crisp Parmigiano wafers for a welcome textural contrast, this creamy, meaty concoction was comfort food at its very finest, embodying a decadence that belies its understated appearance.
Scarcely pausing for breath, we then reached for the Burrata E N’duja pizza, freshly made in FIAMMA’s brick oven. The dough, we were informed, had been fermented for 24 hours to ensure a smooth, soft texture, and wonderfully complemented the chunky burrata cheese and pork N’duja sausage morsels on top, with the latter offering a delightful piquancy to the proceedings.
Finally, with scarcely any room left in our heavily indulged stomach, the dessert course – Cannoli – hoved into view. An iconic Sicilian affair, the crisp cannoli shells were stuffed with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling and sprinkled in turns with dark chocolate chips, pistachios and candied oranges. Sweet without being cloyingly so, once again, Chef Olivieri’s aptitude for finding the perfect culinary equilibrium was evident in this dish.
From start to finish, FIAMMA’s menu is a study in restraint. In place of the flashier, more ostentatious culinary offerings served by so many of the city’s Italian restaurants, the emphasis here is undeniably on paring down on unnecessary flourishes to ensure that each dish’s flavours and ingredients truly shine through. Pair that with its welcoming interiors and an extensive wine menu, and what you get is a venue that’s perfect for any family affair.
FIAMMA. Shop G02, Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road. (852) 2657 0800. email@example.com
Text : Tenzing Thondup