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<<7th May 2019 – Hong Kong>> A nostalgic institution serving up authentic regional Italian cuisine, Isola continues its reign as one of Hong Kong’s finest Italian restaurants since its opening in 2005 by Gaia Group. The kitchen is helmed by multiple award-winning chef Corrado Michelazzo, who brings a refined touch to Isola’s home-style Italian dishes. This May, Isola unveils an all-new spring a la carte menu designed by Chef Corrado, and an exquisite new bar program by bar manager Matteo Stefani.
Introducing Corrado Michelazzo, Executive Chef of Isola
Born and raised in a small village in Piedmont, Corrado Michelazzo was fortunate enough to be the son of a food-loving Italian mother, who nurtured his appreciation for fine ingredients from a young age. In the early 1990’s, Michelazzo opened his first Italian restaurant in Italy, before venturing overseas to hone his skills in international cuisine. He landed in France, where he gained valuable experiences in acclaimed kitchens under culinary legends such as 3-Michelin-starred chef Georges Blanc, 2-Michelin-starred chef Michel Hassier and 3-Michelin-starred chef Michel Troisgros.
Following his spell in France, Michelazzo returned to Italy to become the Executive Chef of historic mountain hotel Bellevue Hotel & Spa in the Aosta Valley. In 2000, he brought the hotel to the highly exclusive association of Relais & Châteaux, and in 2003, achieved the restaurant’s first Michelin star. In the early 2000’s, Michelazzo made the big move to Asia to head Va Bene Italian Restaurant by Gaia Group in Shanghai. In 2013, he launched 10 Corso Como Restaurant Shanghai, and opened a second branch in Beijing the following year. In June 2018, equipped with a keen knowledge and appreciation of the Asian market, Michelazzo began his role as the Executive Chef of internationally loved and renowned Isola Bar and Grill.
An All New Spring Menu at Isola
Highlighting the finest seasonal produce from around the world, Isola prides itself on a number of new spring dishes on the a la carte menu. Chef Michelazzo draws from both his Italian upbringing and culinary experiences around the world to create dishes such as La Piovra (HK$268), a grilled octopus over smoked eggplant puree with lemon and raspberry sauce. The octopus is sourced from Spain, and is first slow-cooked then finished in the Josper grill using Japanese charcoal. Le Capesante (HK$268) combines the “sea” (Hokkaido scallops) with the “mountain” (cauliflower), inspired by the Chef’s hometown of Piedmont in northwest Italy. The dish is topped with shavings of Italian black truffle.
Il Fegato d’anatra (HK$258), the heart of foie gras, is a dish originally hailing from France. Chef Michelazzo has added his own spin with the additions of homemade ginger spice bread and apple sous-vided in different spices including cinnamon, clove, sugar and more. The jus balances out the savoury richness of the duck liver, and is finished with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Debuting in Isola’s beloved pasta category is Ravioli alla Carbonara (HK$288), a vegetarian homemade carbonara ravioli with black truffle from Piedmont. The filling is a classic carbonara made with egg and parmesan cheese, but without the meat. A signature pasta dish that has been on the menu since Isola’s opening is Gli Strozzapreti alla Norcina (HK$268), the famous hand-twisted pasta with cured pork cheek and artichoke. The pasta is made using half normal flour and half grano arso flour, the first to be imported to and used in Hong Kong, resulting in a darker-than-usual colour and toasty flavour.
Il Branzino al Sale (HK$398) is a whole de-boned seabass from Orbetello, Italy, baked in a herbaceous salt crust, served with rocket salad and baby vegetables. For lovers of Italian red prawn, Il Risotto ai Gamberi Rossi di Sicilia (HK$388) is another dish inspired by the chef’s hometown in Piedmont, Italy, bringing together an ingredient from the north (Carnaroli rice) with one from the south (red prawn). The prawn shells used to prepare the flavour-rich stock, which cooks the rice. When served, the rice comes separately from the plate of slightly torched red prawn meat and prawn head sauce, which guests are advised to mix altogether. La Tagliata di ‘Wagyu Mayura’ (HK$488) uses pure-blooded wagyu from Mayura Station in southern Australia, cooked to perfection in the Josper grill and served with mash potato and gravy sauce made over two days with beef bone, red wine and onion.
Babà al rum con popcorn dolci (HK$128), originally a yeast cake dessert from Naples in southern Italy, is re-interpreted by Chef Michelazzo with whipped cream and sweet popcorn topping. The cake is dipped in rum before serving, adding a delightfully boozy touch.
Finally, the new dessert highlight by Chef Michelazzo begins with a bottom layer of various sauces including vanilla, chocolate, mango, raspberry and blueberry, topped with five desserts of the day with the signature white crème brulee, and finished with dry ice for a smoky visual effect. Titled SweetArt by Chef Corrado Michelazzo (HK$488), the striking dessert design is inspired by Toy Landscape 假想樂土, an art piece by local urban artist Angela Yuen that is currently on display in Isola’s private VIP room. The artwork projects a shadow of the iconic Hong Kong skyline, created by using recycled locally-found plastic toys that reflect the prosperity of Hong Kong’s manufacturing industries during the 1960’s.
Introducing Bar Manager Matteo Stefani & New Bar Program at Isola
A small-town native of Sassuolo in Modena, Italy, master mixologist Matteo Stefani has had decades of experience working behind bars throughout Italy before making the bold career move to Hong Kong in 2016. From cleaning cups at a small beach bar in Civitanova Marche at only 16 years old to one day stumbling upon his true passion in cocktail creation at a bar called Hemingway, Matteo’s journey in the art of mixology was a thrilling one that led him from mentor to mentor until he landed in a small village called Cervinia in the Alps. There, he embarked on seasonal shifts to develop and hone his skills in mixology, as well as cater to a large clientele of holidaying VIP’s. It was here that Matteo met the entrepreneur who would later bring him to lead his dream bar at Caffetteria Bolla for three intense years, where he perfected his technique in Negroni and Spritz cocktails. After an inspirational chance meeting with international mixologist Giancarlo Mancino, Matteo moved to Asia for the first time to work alongside Italian chef Gianni Caprioli. Equipped with two years of knowledge from leading the bar at Fishsteria Seafood Place and with a newfound love for local flavours and produce, Matteo moved on to head the bar program at Gaia Group’s various award-winning establishments including modern Chinese restaurant SHÈ and Italian restaurant Isola.
The new cocktail menu includes a large section dedicated to a popular Italian aperitif, the Negroni, with many moreish interpretations by Matteo Stefani. Signatures include Dear Ada (HK$118), created with the soft Rinomato bitter and Imperibile Gazzosa and Sbagliato Here (HK$118) made with Nardini bitter, Mancino Rosso Amaranto, Prosecco Dry and the unique addition of Junmai Ginjo Japanese sake. Classic cocktails fashioned specially for Isola include the Aviation (HK$128) created with Catron crème de Violette, lemon, maraschino cherry and Aviation gin. Another not to be missed is the Martinez (HK$138), a heady concoction of Quaglia Old Gin, Mancino Vermouth Amaranto and Angostura bitters.
New Italian Happy Hour
Hong Kongers can now experience an authentic aperitivo Italiano by way of Isola’s new Italian happy hour. Every day from 5pm-7pm, indulge in a selection of savoury snacks from the buffet counter for only HK$58, half a dozen oysters for $60 and a dozen oysters for HK$120 with the purchase of selected happy hour drinks. Drinks include classics such as Aperol Spritz (HK$78), Birra Peroni (HK$48), White & Red Wine (HK$68 each), Prosecco (HK$68) and Champagne (HK$158).
Contact ISOLA Hong Kong
Address: One International Finance Centre, Shop 2075, 2/F, Harbour View St, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2383 8765
Isola, the internationally renowned Italian concept by Gaia Group located in the heart of IFC mall, is led by Italian Michelin-starred chef Corrado Michelazzo. Drawing from his experiences at world-class establishments around the globe, chef Corrado injects creative flair to authentic Italian flavours. Since its opening in 2005, Isola’s chic white-on-white décor, open kitchen and delicious pizzas, homemade pastas, and selections from the grill are as much a signature in Asia as its wine list of over 200 well-chosen old and new world wines.