by Vittoria Dell’Anna
Located inside the Landmark (one of the most famous business center in the heart of Hong Kong), CIAK-In The Kitchen , Top Ten Asia 2021 – Prosecco DOC Award, is about to celebrate its 10 years of activities, during which it became a famous address for an authentic, casual yet refined Italian cuisine. Its name comes from the idea that each service is a live show, while guests can watch the preparation of their dishes, going from pasta to main courses, from bread to, of course, pizza.
Resident 36 years old Chef Valentino Ugolini comes from Montefalco (Italy), but he has worked for many years in Hong Kong together with the Michelin starred Chef Umberto Bombana. He decided to open CIAK-In The Kitchen with the idea of recreating in Hong Kong the concept of Italian trattoria with an excellent quality and an elegant service.
Bread and pasta are homemade, as well as the Italian sausage used as topping for the classic Salsiccia and mushrooms pizza; delicious tuna belly is selected as topping for Tuna and onion pizza, where onions are double cooked and roasted, and they find their place on this pizza together with black olives, fresh basil, tomatoes and fior di latte mozzarella.
More than 90% of the ingredients come from Italy, starting from cheese and cold cuts and ending up with wild rocket. Mozzarella comes from Campania region, while fresh tomatoes (mixed with tomato sauce to make a rustic topping) comes from Sicily.
The menu features all the classic Italian comfort dishes, such as Eggplant parmigiana, Vitello tonnato and Stewed Baby Octopus (an Italian varietal called Moscardini), which is now a signature of the restaurant.
Giuseppe Monaco (former Molino Mariani specialist) is the Head of bakery: his pizza looks like Neapolitan style, while it is actually really crunchy. Mother leaven is imported from Italy, it is more than 20 years old and it is made from Pinot noir grapes. Leavening lasts about 36 hours and dough is cooked in a bread oven for 10 minutes between 280 and 290 °C, which makes the pizza crunchy and light.
Besides classic options and some signatures (such as revised Diavola, with nduja, burrata and lemon zest), each month the menu features a special pizza following seasonal ingredients, for example White asparagus, Culatello and Egg and Parmesan sauce (a kind of salty zabaione).
Clients often choose wine instead of beer to pair with pizza; wine list features 100% Italian labels, touching almost every region of the peninsula but focusing on Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily.
CIAK-In The Kitchen main branch at Landmark counts about 145 seats, a private room and a corner soon-to-be a gourmet pit stop, where guests will be able to buy a great selection of cheese and cold cuts together with daily made fresh bread.
The secondary branch is located in Cityplaza and features about 80 seats in a more casual environment.