This winter, Marco Polo Restaurant, located on the 38th floor of Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei, presents a seasonal menu designed by Head Chef Marco Priolo. The collection features Chef Priolo’s interpretation of traditional Italian flavors found in various parts of Italy during wintry months. For reservations, please call (886 2) 2376 3156.
When Chef Priolo first arrived in Taiwan about six months ago, he introduced himself to local diners with a series of his signature dishes. The creations were well received, and in the course of this period, Chef Priolo spent time observing and learning about the eating habits and preferences of local diners, as well as discovering quality ingredients in the country, with the aim to build a stronger relationship with the community.
The newly gathered information assisted Chef Priolo in the process of putting together the winter menu, which includes an appetizer featuring Slow-Cooked Veal Cheek, Burrata Cheese, Quail Egg Yolk and Vegetable Jelly on Potato; Traditional Lombardy Style Tripe Soup; a modern interpretation of Spaghetti alla Carbonara; and Black Label Soaked Babà with Taiwanese Black Tea Ice Cream.
The Slow-Cooked Veal Cheek with Burrata Cheese, Quail Egg Yolk and Vegetable Jelly on Potato is a unique starter created by Chef Priolo based on the traditional flavors of northern Italy. The main elements of the dish are displayed in a square shape for a visual sensation. The foundation is a layer of warm mashed potato with an addition of goma, a type of gelatin that can withstand heat. Placed above and also served warm is veal cheek, which has been boiled in vegetable stock with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, juniper, cloves, and thyme, etc. Chef Priolo then blends the same vegetable stock, adds gelatin for the consistency, and positions it alongside the meat. Salsa verde, commonly served as a green dipping sauce for the winter season’s meat salads, lies beside also in jelly form; it is a mixture of parsley, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, anchovies, capers, bread and more. Next, Chef Priolo cooks burrata cheese at 70 degrees Celsius and puts in a hint of agar-agar – a natural vegetable gelatin. Finally, a quail egg yolk that has previously been marinated in salt and sugar for one hour goes on top of the cheese. The plate is completed with drops of homemade truffle mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar.
Delighted to discover and taste many dishes with various internal organs in Taipei, Chef Priolo decided to introduce a traditional Italian tripe soup from the Lombardy region. The dish is a tomato-based thick soup, served with cleaned julienne tripe and artichoke heart that adds depth to the otherwise flat combination. According to Chef Priolo, the tripe is cut into strips because it becomes easier to digest. Hazelnut oil is added to balance the acidity and enhance the flavors. Finally, Parmesan cheese, another product from the north, is grated over.
“Many people have the misconception that ‘westerners’ don’t eat meat organs,” said Chef Priolo, “but in reality, people from northern and central Italy have long been savoring such delicacy.”
Chef Priolo brings taste buds down to Rome in central Italy with his modern interpretation of the classic Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Instead of simply tossing cooked pasta with the carbonara sauce, Chef Priolo engages the guests with an interactive surprise. The spotlight hits on the slow-cooked organic soft egg that sits on twirled pasta made in-house. Once opened with a fork, the egg yolk glides down for guests to mix the egg yolk in with the spaghetti. The eggs are from free-range chickens residing at the hillside of Ali Mountain in central Taiwan. To add texture, the chef pan-fries the spaghetti with smoked crispy bacon.
Originating from Naples in southern Italy, babà – a small yeast cake – is one of the must-have Italian desserts during the winter. Babà are generally soaked in rum or brandy, but Chef Priolo infuses the cake with quality whisky because it harmonizes better with black tea, the flavor of the ice cream that accompanies the babà. Found below the babà in the plate is thickened orange juice and beside the ice cream is pistachio mousse. The dish is completed with a snow-like powder that is in fact made of olive oil.