A Cut Above: Tosca di Angelo is no leaning tower of pizza

It’s admittedly hard not to immediately be wowed when stepping into Tosca di Angelo, the one Michelin-starred Italian fine-dining establishment that resides on the 102nd floor of Kowloon’s International Commerce Centre and forms part of the ever-stately Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Upon entering the  restaurant, its floor-to-ceiling windows offer sweeping views across the city’s iconic skyline – and it’s perched some 450m high – making it quite a sight.

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo chef Angelo Agliano

Back 10 years ago, when it first opened its doors, it held the record for being the highest Italian restaurant in the world. Whether that’s still the case or not, given it has held onto its Michelin star for eight years running, you might be forgiven for assuming the view is but a sideshow to the majesty of the culinary creations found within, all of which are prepared under the auspices of Chef Angelo Agliano.

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo interior

Having helmed the restaurant for three years, he sums up his vision for Tosca di Angelo thus: “I come from Sicily, but I’ve had experience across the world, including Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. So, I want to serve dishes that reveal these international accents, but whose souls are unequivocally Italian, albeit with a fine-dining twist.”

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo_Fassona Beef Carpaccio

Eager to see Chef Agliano’s philosophy in practice, we made haste to explore our first tasting course – Fassona Beef Carpaccio with Light Mustard, Artichoke and Arugula. Here, the slivers of meat – exceptionally lean beef from the prized Fassona cattle of Italy’s Piedmont region – were surprisingly delicate yet full of flavour. Accompanied by aged parmesan cheese shavings and crunchy artichokes (for added texture), the meatiness of the dish has been deftly enhanced by a beef jelly that takes three days to condense. 

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo Mezzi Paccheri Pasta with Sicilian Red Shrimps and Basil Pesto Sauce

Next to arrive was the Mezzi Paccheri with Sicilian Red Shrimp and Basil Pesto Sauce, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Crowned with two jumbo Sicilian red shrimps, this pasta dish is all creamy goodness and umami delight, with its strong oceanic accents somewhat tempered by the refreshing pesto sauce. Within each paccheri (large ring-shaped pasta, served al dente) lay smaller morsels of red shrimp, ensuring that every bite yielded notes of the sea.

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo risotto

Prior to the arrival of the next course – Risotto “Acquerello” with Hokkaido Sea Urchin, Sundried Tomatoes and Black Truffle – we had been told that no less an authority than the late French gastronomic giant Joel Robouchon had deemed Agliano’s risotto to be the best he’d ever tried. That high praise seemed, if anything, inadequate if our experience was anything to go by. Decadently laced with fresh Hokkaido sea urchin and a heaped mound of black truffle shavings, the creamy risotto almost melted in the mouth. In a bid to cut through its richness, the judicious addition of tangy sun-dried tomatoes imparted a delightful tanginess to the proceedings. In short, it was extravagance on a plate.

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo Red Star Grouper in Matalotta Fish Soup with Olives, Capers and Cherry Tomatoes

Then it was on to the secondi – Red Star Grouper in Matalotta Fish Soup with Olive, Capers and Cherry Tomato. It’s a dish particularly close to Agliano’s heart and one said to be an homage to the hearty fish stews of his Sicilian childhood. In deference to local tastes, however, it does come burnished with bamboo-steamed red grouper, long the favoured fish of the city’s discerning diners. Breaking with the convention of using freshly-caught grouper – “Fresh fish are too tense, they need a few days in the fridge for the flesh to relax and become supple,” explains the chef – the soft texture of this three-day-chilled fillet has been enhanced with a quintessential Sicilian fish soup, replete with a tangy combination of capers and cherry tomatoes.

gafencu_gmhk_hk_dining_restaurants_A Cut Above Tosca di Angelo Traditional Tiramisu with Coffee Granita

Finally, with scarcely any room left, we rounded off our tasting with some Traditional Tiramisu with Coffee Granita. A decidedly modern take on that most classic of Italian desserts, the cake’s coffee-soaked sponge was replaced with a fresh espresso granita served on the side. It’s an innovative approach and one that grants different nuances to each mouthful, once again showcasing Chef Angelo’s unique ability to blend classic traditions with contemporary techniques, producing dishes with truly mouth-watering – but undeniably Italian – flavours that will continue to charm and captivate the city’s epicureans.


Tosca di Angelo. 102/Fl, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, 1 Austin Rd West, Tsim Sha Tsui. (852) 2263 2270. www.ritzcarlton.com