‘Burrata,’ ravioli and other heavenly reminders of Italy—in Hong Kong | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Spaghetti Martelli
Spaghetti Martelli


Had I tasted just the burrata at Angelini that rainy Monday afternoon, I would have been perfectly content. While I had previously tried burrata in other restaurants, they were nothing like this one in Angelini.

A sphere of immaculate white cheese, it was laced with streaks of pesto sauce and bits of olives, giving it the appearance of a snowball lost in a forest of green trees. Its delicate texture yielded into stretchy white wisps when sliced with a knife.

Inspired by Apulia, a region in Italy famous for its milky, superb cheeses, this burrata was a blend of two kinds of cheeses—a creamy mozzarella and the buttery stracciatella, the new darling of the cheese world. Surrounding it were wedges of organic red, orange and green tomatoes that were crisp, juicy and dripping with sweetness.

The flavors were so fresh that I had to remind myself that I was actually in Hong Kong, not Italy, Angelini being the award-winning restaurant of Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel.

Emphasis on freshness

“It’s the first Italian restaurant in the Kowloon area,” said Patsy Chan, the hotel’s director of communications. Opened in 2005, it has won numerous awards, including being named one of Hong Kong’s 100 Top Tables by South China Morning Post for four straight years, and one of Hong Kong’s “greatest eats” in 2015-2016; and receiving a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor China, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 in 2014-2015.

The awards shouldn’t be surprising, considering what goes into the making of each dish. “Almost all our ingredients are flown in fresh from Italy,” said chef Alessandro Angelini, who himself hails from Rimini in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. The olive oils originate from various regions of Italy, the tomatoes are from Sicily and the pasta is handmade fresh daily.

The emphasis is on freshness, Alessandro said, whose 20 years’ experience includes working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Venice, London and Los Angeles, as well as stints in Jakarta and Myanmar.

Although the burrata was a study in textures and flavors, Alessandro’s philosophy is that of minimalism and simplicity. “I don’t use too many types of ingredients in one single dish. I like to take a lighter and healthier approach to Italian food,” he said.

Playful interpretation

The focaccia he served us was one likely example of this approach. Warm, crisp and lightly scented with rosemary, it was Italian bread at its finest. Then, too, there was the branzino, sea bass from Tuscany roasted in oven-proof cellophane with a reduction of white wine and clam juice. The minute the paper was cut open, a heady aroma filled the air.

The ravioli alla carbonara was a playful interpretation of a classic favorite. The carbonara, instead of being ladled as a sauce, was actually used as the filling for the ravioli. A strip of darkly crisped bacon added contrasting texture to its pillowy softness.

Also on the menu: raw Sicilian red prawns with avocado, green apple and yoghurt sauce; spaghetti Martelli, with generous slices of lobster, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves; and slow cooked shoulder of lamb with spinach cream, buffalo ricotta, lemon and bell peppers.

In addition to the à la carte menu, Angelini offers two tables groaning with a hearty buffet of appetizers: assorted cheeses, marinated artichokes, Parma ham, pasta, zucchini salad, baby clams and grissini. Light eaters would probably find this spread satisfying enough.

Quiet corner

Located in a quiet corner of Shangri-La’s mezzanine level, Angelini seems to have acquired a loyal following. That rainy Monday afternoon, nearly all the tables were full. Two of the patrons were regulars, Patsy said. They dine in the restaurant almost every day.

Perhaps part of its appeal is the scenery. Not even the incessant rainfall could obliterate the magnificent view of Victoria Harbour, its shimmering waters and the distant mountains beyond. In the evenings, said director of sales and marketing Sonny Ang, Angelini’s enormous picture windows allow diners a ringside view of the beams of light projected by the laser shows on the harbour.

On the excuse that no meal is complete without a sweet ending, my companions and I chose the path of least resistance and succumbed to the desserts: a satiny panna cotta topped with cubes of ripe mango, tiramisu made of mascarpone cheese and milk chocolate, its top dusted with cocoa powder; and a macaron and a chocolate biscotti.

Like the burrata that started our meal, the desserts were a blend of complexity and simplicity, their flavors fresh reminders of all that is Italy.

Angelini Italian Restaurant: Mezzanine, Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Call (852) 27238686

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.