A stunning view has the remarkable power to elevate the dining experience to new heights and, on a clear day, it doesn’t get much more stunning than the seascape that opens up from Perla, on the 101st floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon.
A Review of Perla
Perla is in the new incarnation of what used to be Radical Chic, sharing the same floor at ICC with establishments such as Odysée, The Sky Boss and Inakaya. Despite the stunning views from its corner windows, Radical Chic faded quietly into the sunset earlier this year.
Undeterred, the Castellana group behind Radical Chic lost no time in replacing it with yet another Italian concept, Perla Restaurant, in July, and installed Chef Fabiano Palombini in its kitchens. Palombini’s name might be familiar to some: he was Castellana’s head chef and he spent a lightning four months at Hollywood Road eatery Kontrasto before it was unceremoniously closed.
So it was with a little feeling of déjà vu that I walked through the doors of Perla Restaurant for this tasting. The décor remained almost the same as it was in Radical Chic. Chef Palombini is also a man committed to the tried and tested, as I discovered when the generous selection of amuse bouches arrived – the majority of them were recognisable from my review meal at Kontrasto.
There is an a la carte menu but we settled for the six-course Above the Sea Degustation Menu (USD 1,680/HKD 13,178); as the name suggests, it was mainly seafood with only one course of meat. We started with the cured striped jack with the cucumber, green apple and horseradish adding some refreshing zestiness to the fish.
Perla prides itself on the simplicity of southern Italian cooking and reliance on the actual freshness of the ingredients; it is well illustrated in the presentation of the food, with the morsels of seafood arranged on white plates before soups, broths and pasta are mixed in.
The Brittany blue lobster came with three pieces of the crustacean, with crunchy seaweed atop and a spoon of caviar surrounded by peas in the middle, before a generous clear wild mushroom broth is poured over it. This was followed by the Aquarium soup which comprised five pieces of seafood, including prawns and mussels, presented in a white soup plate and subsequently drenched with a bisque.
Palombini’s signature dish Virtu, one of the best items on his Kontrasto menu, has followed him across the harbour and makes its appearance at Perla, albeit a smaller version. Here, the dish is also presented in two parts: the first is four pieces of seafood – including sea urchin and lobster – on a plate and the five different types of pasta served on the side. Given that the pasta was the best part of Virtu, this would appear to be better served as a sharing plate.
The Kuromame wagyu with Swiss chard came at a supplementary charge of USD 580 (HKD 4,550) and looked a little lonely. However, the beef was perfectly cooked, charred on the outside and pink and tender on the inside. We ended the meal with strawberries and peaches on a meringue – nothing fancy, but hit the spot.
Those who enjoyed Palombini’s cooking at Kontrasto will surely revel in the familiar comfort and tradition of Perla where you’ll find your favourite dishes as you remember them.
— Cured striped jack
— Kuromame wagyu
The 101st floor of the ICC is undoubtedly one of the more coveted dining spaces in Hong Kong. The tables retain the same arrangements as before – they are comfortably spread out offering a good level of privacy. Almost every table in the restaurant offers an unfettered view of the harbour stretching out miles into the distance. On a clear day, the bright orange glow of the sunset is a stunning sight. The restaurant also has a private room for those who require even more privacy. It also has a lunch set menu and an extensive wine list and also offers a wine pairing menu.
Price for two:
HKD 3,400 excluding drinks
Shop B1, 101/F, International Commerce Centre,
1 Austin Road
Tuesday – Sunday: 12nn – 3 pm, 6 pm-midnight
This story first appeared here