We’re well into summer truffle season, when the black Périgord truffles cultivated from June through August in Australia pop up on menus around Hong Kong. Brought to some of Hong Kong’s top chefs and restaurants this year by food distributor Waves Pacific, in partnership with Australia’s leading truffle producer, The Truffle & Wine Co, these prized “black diamonds” are strutting their stuff around town on some irresistible menus.
The truffles from down under are cultivated every year in the soft, rich soil and cool temperate climates of western Australia — it’s winter for them, after all. Less expensive than their European counterparts, they boast the same fragrant, earthy aroma and intense meaty flavour, lending depth to everything from creamy pastas to Wagyu beef and even desserts. Here’s where to get a taste of these treasured tubers around town before the season comes to an end.
The dish: Piedmont hazelnut truffle mille crêpes
Price: HK$178 à la carte, HK$1,498 plus 10% surcharge for full 5-course menu; Call +852 2152 2872 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
The seasonal menu from chef Daniel Calvert at chic French bistro Belon is an ode to the winter truffle, with an exciting menu of à la carte dishes decorated with the prized ingredient. Available individually or as a 5-course tasting menu, the exquisite degustation includes foie gras drizzled in sauce “périgourdine” (a French truffle sauce), fresh corn polenta with winter truffle, and pigeon pithivier with fig and amaretto. The desserts are just as enticing: popcorn ice cream with truffle, as well as a luxurious Piedmont hazelnut truffle mille crêpes, featuring wafer-thin crepes layered with shavings of black truffle for a sweet and savoury combo that will leave your taste buds tingling.
Belon, 41 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2152 2872
The dish: Marsala wine ice cream, chocolate sponge and winter black truffle
Price: HK$148 à la carte, HK$888 for 5-course tasting menu
Prepare for an epic Italian feast at Giando, where the aromatic tubers are shaved on everything from homemade ravioli to Wagyu short ribs in an indulgent 5-course tasting menu. Start with slices of amberjack carpaccio with Italian yellow peaches, shallots, and truffle; move on to fresh handmade ravioli stuffed with potatoes and pork cheek; and end with the slow-cooked Wagyu short ribs, bathed in a rich anchoviy sauce with more earthy truffle shavings.
The savoury portion of the meal is a delicious lead-up to dessert and the real star of the show — homemade marsala wine ice cream with a light chocolate sponge and a showering of truffles. Chef Gianni Caprioli impressed us with his white truffle ice cream dish back in November, and we have no doubt this one is going to make just as much of a lasting impression.
Giando, Shop 1, G/F, Tower 1 Starcrest, 9 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2511 8912
The dish: Sautéed potato gnocchi with fresh mousserons, pinenut and spinach cream, black truffle
Price: HK$368 à la carte, HK$808 for full 7-course menu
Chef Shane Osborn’s modern European temple, Arcane, is celebrating the summer truffle season with a menu that shows off the various applications of the tuber — as well as the chef’s distinctly international background. Known for his creative and often unconventional flavour combinations, chef Osborn takes full advantage of the truffle’s versatility to pair with everything from soft polenta with charred corn and asparagus to creamy Pont l’Eveque cheese. Make sure to leave plenty of room for the main event — fluffy sautéed potato gnocchi tossed in a creamy pinenut sauce with tender mild mushrooms and shavings of raw truffle.
Arcane, 3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2728 0178
The dish: Chopped Irish Black Angus beef with parmesan pickled walnuts
Price: HK$1,498 for 7-course menu, matching wine flights start at HK$348 per person
The earthy, smoke-infused dishes at Sai Ying Pun restaurant Rhoda are a natural pairing for the prized ingredient dug up from the forest floor — evidenced by the mouthwatering menu head chef Nate Green has conjured up in honour of truffle season. Black Périgord truffles get the star treatment in dishes such as beef tenderloin with cauliflower and young broccoli, and truffle and vanilla cheesecake paired with seasonal fruit.
While Rhoda is best characterised by charcoal and flames, we’re eyeing the beef tartare as one of the must-try items on the menu: featuring premium Irish Black Angus beef mixed with sharp Parmesan and pickled walnuts, topped with generous lashings of black truffle. If the tartare is every bit as good as the signature ox heart tartare on Rhoda’s à la carte menu, diners are in for a treat this summer.
Rhoda, G/F, Upton, 345 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2177 5050
The dish: Sprouts, morcilla, egg yolk, truffle
Australian head chef Aaron Gillespie of 22 Ships is no stranger when it comes to the western Australian truffle, and he’s celebrating the season with a diverse menu championing fresh produce and simple yet delicious flavour combinations to feature the elusive tuber A total of seven dishes featuring truffle are available à la carte, from a “mushroom muffin” with whipped truffle butter to trotters and truffles on toast, not to mention duck donuts with truffle mayo.
Those who are fans of morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) will find comfort in the Brussels sprouts dish combining crisped-up slices of morcilla, egg yolk purée, and generous shavings of black truffle. With the fat from the blood sausage creating a delicious savoury coating for the rest of the ingredients, this is one of those heavy-hitters sure to make a lasting impression on your palate.
22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2555 0722