The views are truly spectacular, if somewhat dizzying, the interior spick-and-span, sleek and luxurious, the feel and atmosphere buzzed with a touch of new and unseasoned. What is this place I speak of? None other than The Ritz-Carlton at ICC.It’s taken me almost a year to get myself over there, but I finally made it. It’s swish inside, as to be expected, the staff obliging and smiley, and as I rode the lift and nervously glanced at the escalating floor levels and getting slightly paranoid about any movement I felt, I couldn’t help but marvel a little at the sheer scale of this hotel. Boasting the highest bar in the world (Ozone, on the 118/F), is no mean feat and even if you have no intention of staying or dining there, I’d say it’s worth a fly-by visit.
The day I went, I was off to have lunch at their Southern-Italian restaurant, Tosca, on the 102nd floor. The impact of the decor is quite dramatic, with high ceilings, water fountains (to reflect the water theme of the restaurant), chandeliers and velvet seating. A nice touch is the open kitchen, something that seems to be de rigueur in Hong Kong.Neopolitan Chef Vittorio Lucariello, has brought a classical menu with traditional Italian ingredients, to Tosca and has ensured that 90% of the ingredients are sourced from Italy, down to the flour. We had an epic lunch to look forward to, as it was recommended that we try all of Chef Vittorio’s Signature dishes, plus an additional antipasti of Fassone beef carpaccio, asparagus, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil gelato.
Both Chef Vittorio and The Ritz-Carlton’s Executive Chef Peter Find, were kind enough to swing by our table and enthusiastically explain the dishes, which were all quite complex with their ingredients. Post dish break-down my palate had a chance to sort out the myriad of flavours offered in some of them!
To start we had a lovely looking amuse bouche of mozzarella, sun-dried tomato and anchovies and Chef Vittorio presented us with a single rigatoni with a delicious pork, tuna, and chilli sauce, which had a very distinct Southern Italian taste.The beef carpaccio, with olive oil gelato, asparagus foam, asparagus puree, anchovy sauce and honey mustard dressing was aesthetically interesting, but difficult in practicality to dish out. The carpaccio looked like a thin, flying saucer of beef, with toppings. The intriguing parts were the accompanying gelato, foam and puree. The olive oil gelato was sweet, palate cleansing. But I found the sweetness intensified at the end and didn’t have a strong enough ‘olive oil’ taste. My favourite was the asparagus puree but the foam’s taste was too delicate and indistinct and was quickly overwhelmed by the gelato.The roasted pigeon was succulent, and the foie gras so intensely rich, that it was a little too much for me, (shocking I know), but the Campari jelly helped to cut through the heaviness.The Tagliolini with red prawns had a wonderful texture, the prawns perfectly. They were a bit liberal with the salt but the little tomatoes in the tartare were wonderfully warm and sweet, giving a lovely balance.
Was this the end of the meal? Absolutely not. We charged on and welcomed the tender lamb chops with an excellent, crunchy pistachio crust and a Jerusalem artichoke mash. I felt that this dish almost seemed to cater more for Asian tastes, as the accompanying French beans had a Cantonese flavour to them.Our last main dish was the Mediterranean Sea bass. The top half of the sea bass was fantastic, but the bottom half was a tad overcooked. The spring onion fondant was overwhelming, masking the gentle taste and texture of the fish, which was a shame. I wasn’t sure of the intention with the spring onion but I do think it is overpowering for this dish.Luckily there is a separate stomach for dessert (wishful thinking), as we had the Baba’ (citrus sponge cake), with cherry custard, pine nuts praline and malaga gelato. The rum raisin ice-cream was scrumptious and the sponge full with tangy syrup.The signature dessert is the Tiramisu, made with illy coffee, Italian eggs, (giving it a more yellow colour) and homemade crumbled cookies. It was not too bitter and all sorts of chocolatey goodness which paired well and penetrated the creaminess. In short, it was incredibly indulgent as a dessert, as it should be.
Chopstixfix rating: 3/5
Tosca, 102/F, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2263 2080
You can also read this review on Sassy HK.