Dining in the world’s tallest hotel can probably be likened to eating at 35,000 feet in the air, so it’s only fitting that Michelin-starred Tosca at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has partnered up with Cathay Pacific. Designed by award-winning chef, Pino Lavarra, the menu — available only to first and business class passengers — offers an extravagant and creative Italian selection of starters, pastas, entrees and desserts.
Starters include a beef seared carpaccio with parmesan crisp, a buffalo salami antipasto with grilled focaccia and tomato selection, as well as a lobster caesar salad. Unlike the thinly sliced carpaccio we’re used to, this variation is in the form of a soft cube to prevent oxidation of the meat, which dries out more easily in the air.
Similarly, the salami is extra salty to ensure the right flavour notes are maintained. Our favourite was the chilled lobster salad, which was fresh and not overpowered by the dressing.
For pastas, there was the cannelloni with ricotta cheese, eggplant and pancetta stew and ditalini with zucchini, Pecorino cheese, Tomberry tomato and langoustine.
The signature however, is a golden egg yolk coloured garganelli starkly contrasted with slithers of crimson red Senise pepper with n’duja salami and bread sfritto. This is a perfect choice for an inflight meal, as the pasta quills stay moist with ridges and holes that soak up the extra sauce.
The entrées include two sea bass variations — one with spring vegetables and pesto dressing sauce, and one that is prepared “acqua pazza” style: cooked in a lightly herbed broth with baked fennel and bottarga.
We also tried the mouthwateringly tender roasted lamb shoulder confit with grain mustard and herbal bread crust, complemented by a side of vegetables caponata and a drizzle of black pepper sauce.
Our favourite dessert “on board” was the traditional tiramisu. Nowadays, it’s quite hard to think of this classic as anything beyond a cliche of Italian cooking but with most of the ingredients imported from Italy, the quality and balance of flavours was impeccable.
Both the chestnut biscuit with pistachio semifreddo and panna cotta were surprisingly light but the latter was particularly delicious as it oozed with white chocolate flavour, balanced by the Amaretto and wine-soaked preserved cherries.
We were impressed by chef Lavarra’s attention to ensuring that each dish could be replicated without compromising on quality at high altitudes. The menu itself is not only well presented, but offers a generous variety which won’t leave you feeling bloated, especially on long-haul flights.
Tosca’s in-flight menu can be found on first and business class cabins aboard Cathay Pacific’s long-haul flights from Hong Kong to Johannesburg, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Rome, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, Moscow and more, plus regional flights to Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore between now and 31 July 2014.
This post was originally published on Lifestyle Asia, Review: A Michelin-starred meal on Cathay Pacific on 21st May, 2014