Friday, October 14, 2011

Gold, by Harlan Goldstein - (Hong Kong)

   Gold by Harlan Goldstein is Harlan’s latest brain child after quite a few false starts or should I say,  right from the outset most of them were bounded to fail and wouldn’t spawn fruit in the longer run,  as they were way too commercialised prevalent in feel!    A chef must always put his heart into his investment to prove his worth,  and here,  I had the feeling this could just become one of Harlan’s strongest comeback in terms of modern Italian food and definitely here to stay!   It is truly up there with world standards on a relative scale and never ceases to improve by the day.  Forget all the other H’s and Harlan’s in town which still trades on his past name and good will,   but are totally unrelated to the Chef Harlan.   There is only 1 restaurant which is relatable to the original Chef and that is only here -  GOLD by Harlan Goldstein,   renamed from Tuscany by H from its previous presence just opposite to here.   What I find interesting about the one and only Harlan’s,  is that it is always sailing on an improving course.   There were flaws before and there are still minor flaws in execution or the finer details -   but I am pretty certain that one day Chef Harlan will eradicate all of these minor problems and come out on the better end.   Simply because he is known to listen to criticism and is definitely an improver,  not to mention is a very capable cook…  !

Chef Harlan -
Always improving,  and listens to criticism. 
Hopefully soon onto big things here !!
And a Star or 2 ..!


Bread Basket – With Harlan’s Special Dip,  Butter upon request
The grissini’s formulae has obviously changed from before  to suit Hong Kong palates, as most customers somehow want a more bready rather than brittle version,  as admitted by Harlan himself.  The overall bread selection is very good by international standards.   Harlan’s Sauce might look green but it is no ordinary pesto,  but made of a few special ingredients !  Addictive ~   8/10


Organic Beef and Burrata,  with Porcini Salsa, Rocket and Shave Foie Gras -  $188
The burrata is served with the exterior shell already discarded.  Tonight’s version was slightly not runny enough but the taste was on the right spot.  The diced Porcini worked well with the beef but which were sliced a little too thin to offset the strong cheese flavours.   Not sure why but could not detect much foie gras.   Overall,  this could have been better in taste and execution ~  6/10



The Finest of Cinta Senese Cold Cuts,  5 types -  $228
There are Spanish & Italian cold cuts available here,  but the most special is the Cinta Senese series salume platter -  which are made from Wild Boars in Italy which tastes like Spanish Jamon.   The highlight of the dish is easily the wild boar Lardo from Cinta Senese,  which is less herbed than lardo di colonnata but carried an almost Jamon like unique nutty taste and creaminess.  Utterly addictive and probably one of the finest I’ve ever tasted,  well suggested by a foodie friend!    The Cinta Senese pig’s breed prosciutto was also decent.  Unfortunately on this nights mixed platter  we were given 3 different types salami with various spices.  Throwing in a Bresaola, Capocollo or a Culatello would have made this a more interesting comparison of different cuts.   ~   7.5/10 




Truffle Pappardelle,  Wild Forest Mushrooms,  Black Truffle and Smoked Organic Egg -  $188 entrée
The house made pappardelle was great.  There is not as much mushroomy taste as I had expected but the black truffle and what seemed like porcini powder made up in this area.  The egg wasn’t too smoky but it works wonders with the eggy pasta.   A little expensive vs the portion, and also could have been more fragrant.   If done up just a little more,  this would be a very additive dish worth returning back for!   ~     8/10


Lobster Spaghetti,  Napoli tomatoes,  Fresh Herbs, Crispy Garlic & EVOO – $338
This is probably one of the best Boston Lobster pasta’s around anywhere.   The sauce was full of crustacean flavours without being too oily,  and the grilled lobster was full of aroma and well cooked.   Spaghetti absorbed all the crustacean and tomato essence yet remained perfectly cooked to al dente.   This is one of the Signature Dishes one needs to come try out to understanding its magical attraction   ~    10/10



Italian Wild Boar Ragout ‘home made’ Tagliatelle, 
with slow cooked Organic Egg and Shaved Pecorino -  $188

When I had the exact same signature dish at the previous Tuscany by H which has since moved across the road to become GOLD by Harlan,   I was a little underwhelmed.  Especially with the ragu/ragout being a little weak and the pasta was way overcooked.   Fast forward a few months and this was much better executed.  We still think the tagliatelle was too thin and just a tad over al-dente state,  but the ragu/ragout was way more gamier and infused with proper herbs taste.  The Japanese sourced Taiyou egg went really well with this dish.  Apart from the overly thin pasta strands which lost its potential texture,  this was becoming more and more enjoyable  ~   8/10

Wagyu Beef Cheek Ravioli,  12 hour slow cooked, with Foie Gras and Black Truffle Sauce -  $288
This was good but one can’t taste much of the shredded wagyu or the foie gras.   Luckily,  this was executed pretty well,  and the black truffle sauce was decent.   Could have been much more if it has more wagyu/foie gras taste involved.   ~  7/10



5J Iberian Pork Rack,  Spinach and Melting Scarmoza Cheese,  on Basil and Tomato Sauce -  $368
At this price it’s not cheap,  but the meat was cooked to a perfect even pink and moist.  Executed well indeed.   I think the tomato was becoming a little repetitive on the night across the dishes,  but perhaps that’s Italian cooking.  The garnitures were a little boring at this price point,  but there is no doubt the execution was spot on.    ~   8/10



Chocolate Macaroon – Mascarpone Berries and Coconut Gelato -
Some is going to come teach me to say this should be a Macaron not a Macaroon,  but I am sick of explaining this all over again.  A Macaroon is a English spelling,  and in French it is Macaron, but traditional   American coconut macaroon, Cormery Macaron, Maison Adam Macaron,  Italian Maccarone or meringue.  Modern Parisian macaron gerbets with or without that middle layer of filling.   Go research on these before you talk to me please.   There exists so many macaroon/macaron versions in this world,  they do overlap!    The one here was said to be a signature dessert,  but was too wet moist and not remotely chewy enough.   Good idea but not in execution  ~  5/10



Berry-Berry Fantastic Cheese Cake, Chocolate Truffle Crust,  Black Cherry Gelato and Mango Foam -  $98
Not much mango foam,  the cheesecake albeit was nice and came with a toffee crust.  The cherry gelato was more like a milky ice cream.   Good but not great,  but presentable  ~   7.5/10



Mama G’s Favourite Tiramisu -  $88
This was done really well by HK standards,  with a good sabayon layer and detectable espresso and alcoholic layer,  without over-soaking the savoiardi fingers.  Topped with some tuile crisp.   Very enjoyable and nearly up there with Italian standards.   ~   8/10

Price: HKD $400-450 per person
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 3/4  (getting there and beyond,  and even better than before)

Opening Hours:
Mon – Thurs    12:00pm - 2:30pm,  6:30pm - 10:30pm
Fri – Sat          12:00pm - 2:30pm , 6:30pm - 11:00pm

Address:  中環蘭桂坊雲咸街33號LKF Tower 2樓
2/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Ph: 2869 9986


  1. Maybe I should add an Italian restaurant in my itinerary because I haven't had GOOD ITALIAN FOOD for ages. Do you know any place that is better than this one?

  2. Michelle - I think HK Italian food has its advantages over Aust ones, as it is MORE classy and also in their accessibility to higher end European or Japanese seafood !

    8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo is executed perfectly compared to here, that's Michelin 2 Stars. But I find here more exciting just because Harlan is passionate about food!

    Hard to choose between them : ) Each to their own



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