Theo Mistral sees you continue your partnership with the Intercontinental Hotel, as you also have a restaurant at the Intercontinental Park Lane in London and the Intercontinental Bangkok. Does it feature some of the same menu items? The menu will have a few of our signature dishes from Intercontinental Park Lane and Bangkok but the menu was been put together using as much local produce as possible. I wanted to create a relaxed environment with simple but delicious food that I felt would suit the Hong Kong market. The inspiration behind the menu is all about the produce. When I came to Hong Kong in 2017, we visited some local farms and I discovered some that grow organic vegetables. We are working with some of these farms, and will continue to do so throughout the seasons.
What dishes on the menu offer something different from the usual Italian fare?
The menu offers diners authentic rustic Italian cuisine using the best ingredients available. We don’t mess around with crazy combinations and stick to our aim of cooking seasonal produce without too much fuss and overcomplicated food. The menu is very strong on homemade pasta and offers dishes that are great for sharing. There are some dishes you won’t find on lots of menus in Hong Kong like our Sformato made with fontina cheese, spinach and Parmesan or our ravioli di erbette with sage butter. The fish stew is one of our classic dishes and while there maybe a few restaurants serving it, you must try ours.
When you were at The River Cafe in London, the kitchen was awarded a Michelin star and you were instrumental in that. Why do you think the menu worked so well?
The menu was such a success because the ingredients were some of the finest you could find. Mix that with some very talented cooks, great front of house and a wonderful environment and you have a successful restaurant.
Based on your partnership with the Intercontinental, what would you say are the main advantages of restaurants located within a hotel?
The main advantages are having the resources and the support from the hotel, and not having to negotiate a lease every few years. Then of course you have the space and facilities to be creative, with the environment opportunity
of marketing the restaurant to hotel guests for additional business. This is particularly good as we have a private room that seats up to 20 people on one table.
What are the advantages of running a restaurant in Hong Kong compared to London and Bangkok?
The advantages of Hong Kong are the fact that everyone eats out all the time. This is the same in London and Bangkok but much more in Hong Kong. In addition, the customer doesn’t mind paying for quality ingredients and really know what good food is. Discerning customers are always good because they keep you on your toes, so you are always trying to be better. Hong Kong has a reputation for some of the nest restaurants in the world so having a restaurant here is an honour.
There are plenty of Italian restaurants in Hong Kong. Why should we come and eat at Theo Mistral?
Because we cook delicious seasonal food and have a non-fussy approach to the menu so you can have a plate of homemade pasta, or Neapolitan style pizza – the restaurant’s head chef Fabio Guiglione is from Naples – with a glass of wine. For big parties, we have a large table for 10 guests where you can have lots of dishes in the middle of the table, or a five-course tasting menu. Lunchtime we do a set menu with antipasti, or a choice of give main courses while desserts include our famous Amalfi lemon tart.
Will you be making regular trips to Hong Kong to deliver special tasting menus and one-off dinners?
Yes, I’ll making many trips to Hong Kong and along with my head chef Fabio, we’ll be updating the menu by creating seasonal tasting menus and throughout the year.