20th April 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s historic Hollywood Road has welcomed a new addition to Central’s dining scene, KONTRASTO. This Italian restaurant is the embodiment of epicurean finesse and the culmination of Italian-born chef Fabiano Palombini’s 35 years of leadership experience honing his skills at celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, North America and Asia. As the first joint venture with LUBUDS for Palombini, KONTRASTO presents gourmands with technical precision and creative interpretations of Italian cuisine.
The Esperanto word for “contrast,” KONTRASTO signifies both the unity and diversity Palombini brings to Hong Kong’s dining landscape. Palombini’s personal cooking philosophy and KONTRASTO’s ethos are inspired by the past, innovation in the present, and sustainable growth for the future. The restaurant’s tasting menus, available for both lunch and dinner, feature a selection of seasonal and signature dishes that represent the epitome of technical precision and decades of knowledge.
The dinner tasting menu, Benvenuto, takes diners on a culinary journey from the high mountains to the sea. The six- and eight-course options (priced at HK$1180 and HK$1580, respectively) begin with a play of flavours that includes Caviale, a cold dish made with cured egg yolks served with a selection of premium Kaviari Oscietre Prestige Caviar, and ends with Babà, a traditional South Italian pastry.
KONTRASTO spares no effort in implementing sustainability practices. The restaurant is a proud partner of Zero Foodprint Asia (ZFPA), a Hong Kong-based non-profit organisation dedicated to funding local growers to implement regenerative farming practices to help combat climate change and minimise the environmental impact of the industry.
Situated in the heart of Central, KONTRASTO is elegant and minimalist in style with an open kitchen, dining area, and four private rooms, while floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the vibrant urban tableau outside. KONTRASTO also offers considered wine pairing programmes, curated by sommelier Leo Fernando, and a 260-strong list of premier drops from Italy, Germany, and Austria.
We were extended an invitation to sample a six-course tasting menu, where the delectable entrees were prepared with meticulous attention to taste and presentation. The dishes showcased the quality and freshness of ingredients, with herbs and spices being used subtly yet effectively to enhance the depth and complexity of flavours.
The Scampo, a succulent langoustine tail paired perfectly with zucchini and brown butter cauliflower. The dish is well-balanced, with the sweetness of the langoustine complemented by the earthy flavours of the vegetables.
For those who enjoy sweetbreads, the Sweetbread dish (Animella) is a standout. The spicy glaze adds a nice kick to the dish, while the medlar and broccolini sauce provide a lovely contrast in flavour. The morel adds a nice depth of flavour to this already complex dish.
One of the highlights of the menu is the Virtū, featuring mixed pasta and mixed seafood in a flavourful jus. This dish is a true testament to the chef’s culinary skills, with each component cooked to perfection and combined harmoniously. The seafood is fresh and perfectly cooked, while the assorted pasta is al dente and deliciously coated in the jus.
The Spaghettone with pecorino sauce and powdered guanciale (Gricia) is a simple yet incredibly tasty dish. The flavors of the pecorino cheese and guanciale are perfectly balanced, and the pasta itself is cooked to perfection. Gricia is a classic pasta sauce in Italian cuisine that originated from the Lazio region of central Italy. The sauce consists of guanciale (cured pork jowl), Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, and sometimes onion or garlic. It is typically served with spaghetti or rigatoni.
The Brittany turbot dish (Rombo) is another standout, with the fish caramel adding a delightful sweetness to the dish. The fennel and lemon add a lovely freshness, while the capers leaf provides a nice contrast in texture.
Lastly, the Kuromame A5 dish (Wagyu) is a true indulgence, with the tender and flavorful wagyu beef paired perfectly with caviar and red beet bull leaf. The flavors are indulgent and opulent, owing to the meat being cooked for an impressive 72 hours.
The Crema Caffé dessert is a coffee lover’s dream. The coffee gel is smooth and creamy, with a strong and delicious coffee flavourr that is perfectly balanced with the sweet mascarpone. The meringue adds a lovely texture and sweetness to the dish, making it a well-rounded and satisfying dessert.
Overall, every dish on the menu is delicious and well-executed. The chef’s skills are evident in each dish, with a perfect balance of flavors and textures. If you’re looking for a memorable dining experience, KONTRASTO is definitely worth a visit.
Address: G/F, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road Central
Tel: +852 2728 7278
Whatsapp: +852 9685 5922
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm (last order 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6pm -10pm (last order 8.30pm)