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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Miscellaneous arrow Domani Ristorante
Domani Ristorante PDF Print E-mail

The cuisine of Northern Italy is varied and vibrant.? And none more so than the exquisite dishes prepared by executive chef Michele Bernacchia at Domani Ristorante in Pacific Place, Hong Kong.?

?Domani is special, not because we only have one speciality of the house,? says Michele.? ?We have been open since last November and we have a great ? la carte menu, with a lot of dishes which I think are very special.? Dishes such as Tagliatelle di Seppia, Pesto di Alga Nori ? cuttlefish tagliatelle with nori seaweed pesto ? or Acqua di Pomodoro, Capesante, Gamberi, Insalatina ? tomato jelly with prawns scallops and salad.? Another speciality of Domani is potato fondant layered with prawns, mushrooms and black truffles.

?When they are in season, in the winter, we use fresh truffles from Italy, but at this time of year we use the summer truffles which are totally different.? When we opened last year we were able to use the superb winter truffles for about two months.

?Another speciality is the Mediterranean amberjack carpaccio with langoustine and tomato cherry sauce.? This is a very exciting appetiser that is very fresh.? The langoustines come from Australia but almost everything else we source from Italy if at all possible.?


?We offer pasta of course, all home-made.? We have special pastas like the tagliatelle, ravioli and agnolotti and our favourite pasta, spaghetti with a lobster sauce and roast pistachios.? We also do a fantastic homemade tagliatelle with duck ragout, mushrooms and black truffle paste as well as ravioli with shrimp and artichokes and ginger. The agnolotti we do with veal, mushrooms and pigeon sauce.

Northern Italy

?This menu is from the regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo but the ingredients are from the northern part of Italy, like balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese.? For me, these are indispensable.? I need all these for my dishes.? I don?t necessarily have a dish from Tuscany or Piedmont, I just use the ingredients from the region to create the dish.

The balsamic vinegar, I use the 25-year old vinegar from Modena and I use the parmeggiano from Reggio Emilia.? I know there are cheap balsamic vinegars out there, but we use the original.

?And the olive oil comes from Sardinia.? Not light, but fantastic with meat.? And we use a lighter one for fish.? And, of course, the red tomato, we import these ourselves for our kitchen, but they come from the south.? For our kind of kitchen I use the best products in Italy.? Most come from the centre and the north, but other products come from different parts of Italy.

?For instance, fish we cannot find in the north.? The best fish comes from the Mediterranean.? But many products, like mushrooms, truffles and cheese, I find in the north.? Taleggio cheese, Speck.? All our products come from Italy where possible.

It?s not difficult to source good ingredients in Hong Kong, but I need fresh produce.? Our company imports a lot of our ingredients.? I use the best ingredients I can find: the langoustines from Australia; the Blue Fin tuna from Japan.?


?We have a special menu to pair with our wines.? The aperitivo ?is a glass of Montenisa Franciacorta from Lombardy, from the famous Antinori estate.? We then begin with cuttlefish, slow cooked many hours at a low temperature and served with black seaweed pesto.? This is followed by the Acqua di Pomodoro and Albanella di Crostacei ? Marche-style fruit of the sea; and then black ink strigoli with squid, parmesan cheese and basil.? These three dishes are served with a glass of Whispering Angel from Prov?nce.

?Next comes the turbot with eggplant and tomato ?caponata?; or the Filetto di Manzo e Guanciale ? beef tenderloin in red wine and garlic sauce.? With these main dishes, we serve a glass of Chianti Classico, the beautiful wine of Tuscany. The turbot, wild turbot, is from France as we cannot find it in Italy. Cheese though is from Italy. Parmaggiano is without doubt the best cheese to come from Italy but we also use a number of other Italian cheeses for our cheese board, including the wonderful Sotto Cenere, which literally means ?under the ash?.?

Marche and Mauro Uliassi

?I live in Marche, says Michele, ?which is on the Adriatic coast. I worked for 13 years with one of the most famous chefs in Italy, Mauro Uliassi. Ristorante Uliassi in Senigallia is one of the best ten fish restaurants in Italy with two Michelin stars.?

The story of the Uliassi restaurant could only start like this. Everything began with Franco Uliassi, who didn?t want to be a peasant farmer and so he became a lorry driver to escape the grim life of working the land in the 1950s.

Lorry drivers travel all around Italy and stop off for lunch or dinner at the restaurants they find along their way. It was in one of those restaurants that he met Bianca Maria Bartolacci, the waitress and a daughter of a restaurant owner. It was love at first sight.

Their three children, Mauro, Walter and Catia, grew up in the typical environment of a business serving the public, but they cultivated their own personal interests and pursued different dreams. Mauro went to technical school, while Walter attended the Italian Air Force College. Catia, too, went to a technical-vocational school to study information technology.?

In the end, Mauro chose a catering and hospitality training school. Four years later, after a period as a cook in Italian and French restaurants and hotels, he found his first real experience of kitchen work with cordon bleu chef Lucio Capannari, He donned his toque with a new awareness and a passion for research and experimentation. At the same time, he joined the Panzini catering and hospitality school of Senigallia to teach cooking techniques and confectionery.?

The Uliassi restaurant opened in 1990 with Mauro in the kitchen and sister Catia as the ma?tre d?. She had been promised that it would only be for a few months. Those few months turned out to be 18 years, which Mauro and Catia have lived intensely together with the rest of the staff who were little more than teenagers at the time; most of them are still working with them. Three renovations, a growing success with diners, the first Michelin star, followed by a second but, above all, a constant desire to continue cooking and to enjoy pleasing the customers.

Domani Dishes

?I prepared three tasting dishes for you to try: the first is the cuttlefish with tomato jelly ? Tagliatelle di Seppia.? The second is our special turbot with eggplant ? Rombo, Caponata di Melanzane ? and for dessert Pralina di Nocciole con Gelato ? hazelnut praline with ice cream.? These are all typically Northern Italian dishes, of which we are very proud,? says Michele.

Michele Bernacchia was talking to Jeff Heselwood

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© 2019 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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