More about the restaurant: Castello
Diners can be confident that Castello is something unique among restaurants in Hong Kong. Located down Elgin Street in the bustling Soho neighbourhood of Central, Castello is where chef Marco, a native of Italy, showcases his twin passions: Italian cuisine and the paleo diet. It’s a hard task to have the supremely evolved traditions of Italian cuisine align with the atavistic requirements of the so-called caveman diet, with no legumes, cereals, dairy, salt or alcohol allowed in the strictest definitions of the regime; but Castello manages to tread the tightrope and keep both paleo-fundamentalists and moderates happy with simple, emphatically rustic Italian dishes.
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Castello’s head chef sums up the paleolithic diet succinctly: The paleo diet is a type of power that is based on the notion that although the man has evolved over time, his DNA has remained practically unchanged. In practice it uses ingredients that were the predominant foods in the diet of Paleolithic men, until he developed agriculture. Chef Marco is often asked, given the strict exclusions of the paleo diet, what do you eat? His succinct answer is, everything else. Therefore, at this very special Italian restaurant in Hong Kong’s Soho, you’ll find a greater proportion of meat, fish and seafood, eggs, vegetables, plus fresh and dried fruit, whether in the strict paleo dishes or the dishes that are not paleo but strive to capitulate to at least a little of of the diet’s founding ideology.
Castello does offer the Italian cuisine that all Hong Kong diners know and love, but even in Castello’s non-paleo dishes, you’ll find a greater than usual proportion of grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, and gluten-free pastas. Refusing to freeze or store goods for lengthy periods, Castello’s Italian cuisine is fresher than usual, too. Try the prosciutto San Daniele, DOP Dall’Ava prosciutto aged for 24-months, the burrata e rughetta, the Castello salad, or the Italian-style stuffed bell peppers for paleo-style starters. No pasta or risotto dish can ever fit the paleo-bill, but Marco can certainly whip up a gluten-free rigatoni Amatriciana or the risotto of the day. US Tomahawk or Italian Fiorentina grass-fed beef studs the selection of main courses, and the simplest of the fish dishes are the most delicious and true to our ancestor’s way of life. Delicious and paleo-friendly desserts abound, and specialty pizzas like the black truffle Marco Aurelio are well-known to locals in Soho and Central. With the paleo diet in full global swing, be sure to lodge a booking for a bit of ledge space in this Elgin Street cave dedicated to the oldest of old-school Italian cuisine.