A welcome poster "stamped" with a Michelin-1 star approval welcomes every guest to Ciak. This heralds the beginning of a fantastic gastronomic journey. Run by the one Michelin starred Chef Valentino Ugolini and guided by three Michelin starred Chef Umberto Bombana, CIAK-In The Kitchen has been featured in the Michelin guide Hong Kong & Macau 2016 for two years now.
An ordinary entrance door opens up to a totally different massive spacious dining area inside, which is a rarity in Hong Kong. It was a busy Saturday afternoon, and the restaurant was packed with people. The busy chattering of people bubbled throughout. The aroma of baked cheese wafted around me, only to be enclosed by chalk colored walls. The atmosphere was that of a popular local eatery in a narrow pebbled street of Southern Europe, but with contemporary interiors. Encircling the tables were open kitchens, where diners can watch chefs toss pizza dough high up into the air, and feed the colorful pizza masterpieces into the fiery ovens.
The waiter welcomed us with a tray of freshly baked white and brown bread, still warm and soft like it was newly born from the oven. (see below)
Once I started munching on the bread, I couldn't stop as it had such an addictive fresh and healthy texture and flavor, I overstuffed myself with the delicious bread, and was more than half full by the time other dishes were served.
We ordered the melon and parma ham appetizer. It was not only presented beautifully, but tasted heavenly.. The fresh slightly salted chewy ham blended perfectly with the juicy sweet melon. We were off to a great start!
Then came my main course, the Estiva Pizza, which was a combination of "Mozzarella, cherry tomato, rocket, Parma ham and shaved parmesan" on a thick crusted pizza. This is one of the best pizzas I have ever tasted in HK. What makes the pizza from CIAK so special is that it uses 36 hours natural fermented dough, which not only brings a greater texture, but also guarantees no nasty additives! It was a huge pizza, measuring 11 inches wide, and relatively thick in height. I usually can finish one pizza portion in other restaurants effortlessly, but this was beyond my normal capacity. Because it tasted so delicious, I finished every bit of the pizza, leaving nothing behind by the time I was done. The crunchiness of the crust, the slight bitterness of the rocket leaves, and the slight saltiness of the chewy ham all blended together to make one sublime pizza!
CIAK was perfect in all aspects. Service was attentive, warm and courteous. Food was impeccable, especially the pizza. My family tells me the pasta is to die for. The design modern and comfortable. The menu was innovative with a wide range of delicious offerings. Location is Central and convenient. Though not cheap, the gastronomic experience was well worth the price!
We will definitely visit this restaurant again!