One sunny afternoon found me at Lupa, a spacious 5,000 plus square-foot restaurant in Central Hong Kong. Lupa is owned by my old friend Sandeep Sekhri, so it’s a special lunch invitation from his wife Rosy and him. I look around at the rich interiors and am particularly attracted to the patio which has a green vertical garden and ambience that makes me want to spend a little more time in the place. The place impresses me with its buzzing energy and most people are having the buffet, which has everything from pizzas to pastas.
I’m looking forward to the meal as I’ve heard a lot about the food. About their extensive Italian menu and I’m determined to make the most of it. Since I’m a special guest, I am served on the table, the select dishes, the signature specialities. Lupa is by Chef Mario Batali and what interests me most about the meal is his concept of Italy in New York. Mario has an impressive portfolio of restaurants in New York, LA, Las Vegas and Singapore. I have dined at his Del Posto in New York, and needless to say the anticipation is high!
For starters it was Caprese which is Italian buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomato and basil, followed by Burrata which was a delightful combination of creamy cow’s milk cheese with grilled vegetables. And then it’s a sinful Frittellediricotta, melt-in-the-mouth Ricotta fritters with mixed mushroom and black truffle. Last starter was the Carpaccio di Tonno, Bluefin tuna carpaccio with sun dried tomatoes, olive pesto and candy ginger for the sweet surprise touch, a personal favourite.
The service is attentive and unobtrusive, and they are good at recommendations. I am told that the wine list of Lupa ranges from affordable to very premium and they serve wine by the carafes that are ideal for two on a date. Nice! If you are here for just wine with your beloved, you can pair it with some great cheeses and meat platters, or if like me you are here for a satiating lunch, what I’m eating comes highly recommended. It’s pasta time and here’s what I feasted on. Tonnarelli al granchio, square spaghetti with spicy crab and fennel, what a feast of flavours it is! Next is the Tortelli di burrata which is tortelli stuffed with burrata cheese, eggplant pesto, sun dried tomato and pine nuts.
Can I eat any more? Not really, but the heart wants more! So it is Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci which as the name suggests is ricotta cheese and spinach, tomato sause and parmigiano and last but not the least is the Tagliatelle al porcini, tagliatelle (a type of flat Italian pasta) with porcini mushroom and taleggio sauce. By the time dessert arrives I am feeling rather full and happy, but then which Indian foregoes dessert? So it was a lovely platter of lychee mousse, chocolate semifreddo, pistachio macaroon, vanilla panna cotta with mango, passion fruit sorbet, wine chocolate and mint crème brulee. No I couldn’t finish all of them, nevertheless tasted all and my senses were doing a merry dance in dessert heaven!
Lupa by Mario Batali,3/F LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road,Central Hong Kong, 2796 6500