Slivers of pleasure

| Cara Chen 18 Oct 2019

As the leaves start falling from the trees, the truffle-hunting pigs and dogs are out in force to stock up on the luxurious seasonal treat.

Contemporary Japanese restaurant Zuma in Central is offering a new six-dish menu until December 8 to celebrate the white truffle harvest.

The meal starts off with two appetizers, both inspired by a Spanish dish known as mar y montana - meaning "sea and mountain."

For the seared toro with caviar, wafu sauce and hana hojiso (HK$680), head chef Oscar Luzon de Arcos uses sweet miso to create a balance between the robust caviar and tuna, with the delicate white truffle aroma.

The aonori toast with sea urchin (HK$360) has a playful texture that is both crispy and smooth, hot and cold. The effect is created by layering kombu seaweed cream, daily-delivered urchin from Hokkaido, and white truffles shavings on homemade toasted brioche.

"These two one-bite starters are definitively moreish with only a hint of white truffles," said de Arcos, adding that "the best is yet to come."

The chef's favorite wild mushrooms kamameshi rice with white truffle butter (HK$880) is pure bliss. The dish features meaty morchella, crunchy shimeji, creamy roasted rice and, most importantly, fresh white truffle shavings, which have an intense mushroom flavor.

"I added the lighter shimeji to this strong dish to make the taste and texture more complex and interesting," said de Arcos.

De Arcos also recommends Japanese wagyu tataki, truffle ponzu (HK$720), and 400g black Angus rib-eye steak with soy and black pepper (HK$1,180), which is deliciously indulgent.

For dessert, a white truffle and cheese pancake souffle with caramelized pecan crunch and lemon sorbet (HK$390). The dessert offers a variety of textures, with soft and creamy souffle, crunchy caramel and delicate white truffles.

"You can find such dessert only in Zuma as this one is tricky to make," said de Arcos. "That's why I've been working in the same restaurant for seven years."

Over in Causeway Bay, Castellana is collaborating with the two-Michelin starred chef Marco Sacco to bring in a new Traditional Italian Piedmont menu until mid-January.

The menu features classics such as veal with tuna, capers and anchovies sauce, and oberto fassona beef and foie gras, as well as new dishes such as lake fish soup, salmerino trout with carmagnola bell pepper sauce, and a truffle ravioli stuffed with castelmagno cheese.

Castellana offers the truffles in either a seven-course long taster (HK$1,580) or a four-course short taster (HK$1,280).

If you enjoy the pairing of white truffles and good wine, La Petite Maison in Central offers eight new white truffle dishes.

Their sommelier selects pairings from the restaurant's French wine list according to the characteristics of each dish.

Guest favorites include a soft and creamy burrata a la truffle blanche des marches (HK$898) paired with a fruity medium-bodied NV AR Lenoble Rose Terroirs rose champagne (HK$188 glass or HK$1,050 bottle).

Another is the hearty, creamy golden dish linguine maison a la truffle blanche des marches (HK$988), perfectly paired with a 2007 Barolo Rivera (HK$360 glass or HK$1,480 bottle).

At the bar, truffle lovers can also order the Delicatesse (HK$110). A twist on the Old-Fashioned, the autumnal cocktail is a mix of Diplomatico Riserva rum, East India sherry, nut bitters, truffle honey and date balsamic vinegar.

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