One of the most anticipated Hong Kong restaurant openings of 2018 is British celebrity chef Theo Randall’s revamp of the InterContinental Grand Stanford’s The Mistral, now named Theo Mistral by Theo Randall.
Theo Randall is best known for his tenure at London’s The River Café, as well as his eponymous restaurant within London’s InterContinental Hotel. Aside from the elegant revamp of the restaurant’s interior, Chef Randall has brought to Theo Mistral his signature style of simple and contemporary Italian cuisine, with a produce-driven menu that needn’t be fancy in order to shine. He also brought with him his executive chef and restaurant manager from the InterContinental in London, who will remain in Hong Kong.
Theo himself was here for the restaurant’s opening and presented each dish to our table. I was quite surprised by how down to earth and friendly he is, despite his celebrity status. Our tasting menu, mere days after the restaurant actually opened, began with a selection of antipasti, including beautifully creamy burrata, Parma ham, roasted pepper bruschetta and roasted asparagus wrapped in speck.
Since there were few things on the board that I could eat (the abovementioned beautifully creamy burrata was sadly not made with pasteurised milk), I was brought my own personal starter of a baked spinach, Parmesan, Romanesco and fontina cheese soufflé, which was absolutely heavenly. It was somehow light at the same time as being rich, and I had to control myself from devouring the entire dish, knowing this was just the beginning of the meal.
The Pizza Regina, topped with basil, Parma ham, sweet datterini tomatoes and rocket, was lovely and rustic, with a thin yet perfectly chewy base.
We then sampled a tasting portion of two of Chef Randall’s signature hand-made pastas – ravioli d’erbette and cappeletti di vitello. The former contained a lovely blend of swiss chard, rocket, cime di rapa (broccoli rabe) and ricotta, drizzled in sage butter. It was light, yet satisfying and comforting. The cappeletti had a much more robust and rich flavour, stuffed with slow-cooked veal and pancetta with a porcini mushroom sauce.
One of the choices of main course was roasted halibut, served with parsley, capers, roasted Sicilian red peppers and rainbow chard. Whilst the fish and accompaniments had a lovely flavour, it was unfortunately a little on the dry side.
The other option, which was definitely my favourite of the two, was roasted guinea fowl stuffed with Parma ham, lemon zest, thyme and mascarpone. The bird had a beautifully gamey flavour and juicy texture, sat atop a Portobello mushroom and swiss chard bruschetta to perfectly capture all of the rich juices from the bird.
Since it would have been too hard to select just one dessert to showcase, we tried a dessert platter, consisting of pannacotta with grappa-soaked raspberries, apple cake, Amalfi lemon tart and flourless chocolate cake. Most people enjoyed the lemon tart, which had a satisfyingly sharp flavour, made with the huge, rustic-looking lemons we couldn’t help but notice on the way into the restaurant. My favourite, unsurprisingly, was the flourless chocolate cake, which was wonderfully light and fluffy.
As if this wasn’t enough, we were then served some Theo Mistral-branded dark chocolate bars. Alongside these was a handy little hammer to smash the bar into chunks for sharing!
Service was very attentive and prices are fairly standard for hotel dining of this calibre, with starters around $200, pastas mostly under $300 and mains mostly under $400. I adore Italian food and was impressed by the high quality and delicious flavours created at Theo Mistral. Certainly one to recommend.
Theo Mistral by Theo Randall
Level B2, InterContinental Grand Stanford
70 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2731 2870