‘Tis the season has come to mean Christmas; the holidays; whatever the last months of the year mean to you and yours. But ’tis is, too, the season of sniffly noses. ‘Tis the season of hairy crab. And ’tis the season for, deep breaths, white truffle.
Native to the forests of Alba in Piedmont, white truffles, much rarer than their darker-coated counterparts, are often referred to as “Diamonds of the Forest”, “White Diamonds of Alba” or, as christened by epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “Diamonds of the Kitchen”. While we’re at least several plane rides away from Italy, there’s no shortage of the Piedmontese delicacy here in Hong Kong in these latter months of the calendar year. And here’s where to indulge.
If there’s a single restaurant in the vicinity of Hong Kong that cannot retire from a white truffle-shaped menu during the delicacy’s short-windowed seasonality, it’s Castellana – it’s Piedmontese! A five-course homage, Castellana’s seasonal menu traverses through dishes that include Battuta di Fassona e tartufo bianco, tender Fassona beef simply seasoned with salt, pepper, Ligurian olive oil and a generous shaving of the tuber in question; Capesante al tartufo bianco, marinated raw scallop topped with the Piedmontese luxury; Ravioli di castelmagno e tartfuo bianco, homemade, Castelmagno cheese-filled and white truffle-garnished; Grachio dell’Alaska e tartufo bianco, Alaskan king crab leg laden with sweet butter, corn puree and, again, white truffle; and Castagna al tartufo, a sweetened chestnut purée inspired by Piedmont’s classic Mont Blanc dessert topped with whipped cream and – do we still need to say it? – white truffle. Truffle, truffle, truffle, truffle, truffle. Say it five times, fast.
Castellana, Club Lusitano, UG & 1/F, 16 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3188 5028
LPM Restaurant & Bar
LPM Restaurant & Bar’s signature house-made rigatoni, linguini and gnocchi are already good as is. Perfect as is, even. But we certainly wouldn’t say no to a blanket of white truffle so very decadently shaved atop these already-perfect pastas, especially if they’re truffles hand-selected by chef Maurizio Pace and his team. Neither will we say no to truffle-garnished burrata, or truffle-garnished eggs. Drool.
LPM Restaurant & Bar, Shop 1, 1/F, 23-29 Stanley Street, H Queen’s, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2887 1113
For the majority of the year, Zuma’s decadent spread typically points due north towards a distinct Japanese inflection. Not when Alba white truffles are in season, though. Through December 23, it’s a truffling affair at Zuma with dishes inclusive of thinly sliced seabass drizzled through with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe; langoustine smothered in kataifi with shiro shoyu truffle butter; Zuma’s signatue sushi selection garnished generously, of course, with truffle shavings over top – and more. The luxurious black- and white-coated tubers also make cameo appearances in the menu’s dessert, a White Chocolate Truffle Molten Cake, and truffle-infused cocktails specially concocted to complement.
Zuma, Level 5 & 6, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3657 6388
Over at Aqua, it’s a decadent-on-decadent affair with an entire four-course menu dedicated to Alba white truffles. Starting with a seared wagyu roll and white asparagus salad, followed by white truffle risotto with pickled chanterelles and porcini dust; wagyu sirloin, truffle amaretto soy, turnip lily bulb purée with shaved Alba white truffle; and, for dessert, chef Andrea Mura’s very special “Alba White Truffle Harvest”, a white truffle and chestnut mouse dressed with a blanket of cacao soil to recreate a classic truffle-hunting experience in Piedmont. Spoiler alert: you’re going to have to dig. And a Johnnie Walker Black Label-based cocktail named Toryufu Sour, infused with white truffle and topped, too, with a delicate sliver of the same Piedmontese delicacy, to wash it all down.
Aqua, H Zentre, 17/F, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3427 2288
If you find yourself in the heart of Tai Kwun, following the wafts of truffle-tinged aroma will undoubtedly lead you right into Cantina‘s hallowed halls. There, indulge away in table-side shavings of truffle with Jerusalem artichoke velouté with the Piedmontese tuber; white truffle risotto with langoustines and porcini dust; and, star of the show, a grilled veal fillet with porcini mushrooms and white truffle. For dessert, only a truffle-and-white-chocolate mousse with chestnut ice-cream will do. And if you’re still hankering for the Alba delicacy post-dessert, simply walk the three steps it’d take to saunter over to The Dispensary and swig back a Viva La Truffle cocktail – creative bar director Lorenzo Coppola’s seasonal, earthen take on a classic Old Fashioned.
Cantina, Police Headquarters Block 01, Tai Kwun 10 Hollywood Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2848 3000
Part of Caprice’s ultra-luxurious Menu Connaisseur experience, the Loire Valley hare soup, made indulgently from every part of the hare including the bone, is topped with hazelnut and Alba white truffle shavings as a sybaritic final touch. And if you’re craving for more of the earthen Piedmontese delicacy, fear not: a sliver of Fourme d’Ambert toast, topped with blue cheese, foie gras and, you guessed it, white truffle shavings, is served right alongside the soup. And still, if you’ve really developed a tuber-shaped fixation, the Piedmontese garnish can also be requested shaved on other dishes – just ask.
Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3196 8882