Chefs Angelo Aglianó of Tosca and Uwe Opocensky of Petrus on Their Sumptuous Valentine’s Day Meals
While Valentine’s Day might look a bit different this year, there are still plenty of options in Hong Kong to celebrate with a decadent and sumptuous meal that conveys love and appreciation. We explored the culinary offerings at two of the city’s most romantic restaurants.
Angelo Aglianó, Director of Tosca Di Angelo, the Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong
Located on the 102nd floor of The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong, Tosca di Angelo has long been considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. The dining room, commanding a panoramic view of the harbour, boasts high ceilings and majestic baroque chandeliers, which make for an elegant and celebration-perfect setting. The one-Michelin-star restaurant, of course, is mostly celebrated for its Mediterranean interpretation of Italian fine dining.
“The inspiration behind this menu is love,” chef Angelo Aglianó tells me – the love I have for my job and for the people I serve. When you cook, you always have to think that you’re serving your family. For Valentine’s Day, I always like to use luxurious and so-called aphrodisiacal ingredients, things that you wouldn’t normally eat.”
For this special menu, Aglianó, who’s originally from Sicily and joined Tosca in 2019 after years of working in prestigious kitchens around the world, including L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, put together a selection of dishes that are an ode to elegant indulgence. They range from the Hamaci and Gillardeau Oysters Tartare, to the Roasted Mediterranean John Dory with Hokkaido Sea Urchin.
“One of the most important parts of a Valentine’s Day menu, of course, is the dessert. This year we made a heart with red-currant coulis, white-chocolate mousse and strawberries, a classic pairing that’s quintessentially romantic,” Aglianó explains. “Being Sicilian, my biggest inspiration when I create a new menu is the sea. When I have to come up with new ideas, I sit in front of Tosca’s open view and I start thinking, always starting from the ingredients.”
Uwe Opocensky, Executive Chef at Petrus Restaurant, Island Shangri-la
Following chef Uwe Opocensky’s philosophy, at Restaurant Petrus food is an experience rather than just a meal, with interactive dishes and personal introductions at each table. The intimate atmosphere and approach, as well as the contemporary and scenic take on classic French cuisine, make the one- Michelin-star establishment a favourite among local lovers.
“Valentine’s Day is about indulgence, abundance and enjoying the best things in life,” says German-born Opocensky, “especially during these difficult times that we’re living in. It’s time for us to really celebrate. I based this selection on the ingredients traditionally associated with this celebration – for example, foie gras and strawberries, which for me are synonyms of romanticism.”
The menu includes an unconventionally presented appetiser of foie gras with pear, honey and gingerbread, the perfect start to a meal that takes diners on a gastronomic journey through some of the most excellent products and traditions of Europe – with a short detour to Japan.
Valentine’s Day is about indulgence, abundance and enjoying the best things in life
“As a chef, your cooking style constantly evolves, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day’s menus, the one thing that remains constant throughout the years is that the dishes have to be good to be shared with your other half,” explains Opocensky, who took over Petrus in 2019 and introduced the style that garnered a first Michelin star for the restaurant. “If I could pick a couple of dishes from this year’s menu to personally cook for a loved person, they would definitely be the sole with crust, parsley and mussels, and the organic venison from the UK, with salsify, vanilla and coffee jus.”
The finale of Restaurant Petrus’ romantic banquet is a showstopping Saint Honoré cake with chestnut and truffles.
(Here shot: Saint Honoré, the grand finale of Opocensky’s menu at Petrus)