UPDATE: W52 is now closed
Wyndham Street isn’t the longest road in Hong Kong, but it sure has a ridiculous number of restaurants and bars along it. Rest assured, you’d never starve or go thirsty. I’ve been meaning to get myself over to W52 for yonks, (the interior always looks very inviting when one is queuing outside of Tazmania Ballroom on a Saturday night), but eating my way through all these places takes a while!
Sassy first visited W52 a few months ago, so I was excited when I was invited to sample their new Spring a-la carte menu one lunchtime.
As you all know, I adore Italian food, and I’m constantly struck by the plethora of ways Italian food is created and presented and this menu certainly offers some refreshing new dishes. Unfortunately, Executive Chef Francesco Berardinelli was away so I wasn’t able to have a chat with him, but his PR lady, (with whom I dined), did leave me with a quote of his that gave me an insight into his creations: “..you can see all the ingredients on the dish, see the taste and the flavours”, (or words to that effect!).
As I settled into my seat, we were given the customary bread basket which included the squid ink bread- lovely and warm with a subtle squid flavour, it was a great way to whet the appetite.
For starters, we had the Carciofi- crispy stuffed artichoke hearts with Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh herbs. Although not a new dish, I was told that I absolutely had to try it, and I’m very glad it was ordered as it was gorgeous. A relatively simple dish, it was packed with flavour, with the refreshing taste of the artichokes bursting through the crunchy cheese topping- a winner.
The next two antipasti dishes were the Melanzane- eggplant slices wrapped around buffalo ricotta cheese nestled on fresh pea puree and Polpo- bruschetta with grilled octopus, potatoes and Sardinian Mullet Bottarga roe. The Melanzane was delicious and quite addictive, shame there were only three on the plate! What I loved about it was the vibrant colour of the green pea puree and the preservation of the veggie taste, same with the artichoke hearts. The seasoning throughout all the dishes was very light so that none of the flavours were obscured. The Polpo was also superb. The octopus was grilled excellently, crispy on the outside and the right kind of chewy on the inside.
I couldn’t wait for the main course. My dining companion had ordered Gnocchi di Patate – fresh potato gnocchi with a Mascarpone and vanilla sauce and toasted hazelnuts to share, and the Astice al Burro – Boston lobster with endives and an artichoke butter sauce.
I was quite curious about the gnocchi. I personally think gnocchi is quite a difficult dish to get right, and on so many occasions, I start eating it and then I’m full within 5 minutes as it’s so stodgy and completely smothered in a sauce too rich to balance out the carb-tasticness of the gnocchi. So, for this particular dish, I was intrigued indeed. Vanilla sauce on pasta seemed to be a bold move but was it a good one? Yes it was. I was blown away by the dish, and to be completely honest, I wished I had a whole plate to myself. The gnocchi was surprisingly light, the sauce wasn’t as rich as I anticipated and the vanilla cut through cleanly to compliment the dish. I thought the toasted hazelnuts were a great touch and somehow that added to the deliciousness of the gnocchi. Heavenly!
The Boston lobster was immense. We thought we were sharing one, but they ended up giving us one each! Not that I was complaining, but I was starting to get pretty stuffed at this point, so this was my Mount Everest to climb. An elegant, yet humble looking dish, with muted colours, (don’t be put off by the murky green artichoke butter sauce) the lobster was cooked to perfection and had a wonderful meaty chewy texture. The endives were a great and simple compliment to the lobster, which needed no extra side dishes.
Almost unconscious from the food, we still had dessert to look forward to and on the cards were the Panna Cotta alled Mele Verdi- Panna cotta with green apple Granita and green apple salad and the Tiramisu.
The Panna cotta was fantastic. I’ve never had one with a green apple compliment and it was amazingly refreshing and not too sweet. The Tiramisu was also a triumph. A classic dish that can sometimes be weighed down by too much liquor, W52’s version was scrumptious and not too strong. The coffee flavour was not too overwhelming so even those of you who aren’t coffee fans can enjoy this dessert.
I left W52 thoroughly impressed. I loved my lunch, the service was impeccable, and the atmosphere coolly laidback. I will definitely be back for more of the gnocchi and to attack the lunch buffet one day.
Even though it is sweltering in HK now and we’ve skipped right past spring, let W52’s menu refresh your palate with its dishes. If anything, the spring colours of the ingredients will cheer you up!
W52 52 Wyndham Street, Central
6768 5252 www.w52.com.hk/