February 12 is the start date of the Chinese New Year of this 2021, in reality the recurrence does not have a fixed date because it follows the traditional lunar calendar and according to Chinese astrology. Each lunar year corresponds to a zodiac sign, 2021 is the year of Buffalo.
For this particular occasion, I accept the invitation from my friend Marco Gemelli to taste the cuisine of the restaurant Element, renovated restaurant in the north of Florence that offers Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. In this period of pandemic, the staff pays particular attention to the sanitation of customers, at the entrance in fact an employee, thanks to the use of a spray, also disinfects the sole of the guests' shoes.
The tasting begins with a very particular entrée, Cannelloni with red turnip and prawns, the appearance deliberately recalls the firecrackers, for the Chinese tradition it is an auspicious message. Their filling is crunchy, sweet prevails, they are pleasant on the palate and very delicate.
Excellent follow Ravioli stuffed with Crab, combined with a vinegar sauce, horseradish is appreciated on the palate, in combination an interesting overripe Falanghina from Cantine Taburno is served, sweet but at the same time dry, it will be the combination of all the following courses.
The restaurant's kitchen is open to all those curious about a tradition, the Chinese one, which has ancient roots and is divided into 8 regional cuisines. Over the years, thanks to the discovery of new raw materials and new cooking methods, Chinese cuisine has gradually changed and with it the way of eating it that today includes chopsticks.
There follow original preparations in taste and presented with particular attention to detail: Shredded Chicken with Crispy Skin, Baked Suckling Pig with Mustard Sauce, Slow Cooked Scallops with Dried Hokkaido Scallop Broth, Milk Chinese Cabbage Soup
The décor and aesthetics of the restaurant are pleasant and far from certain “copy and paste” stereotypes of old Chinese restaurants: the environment is not only elegant, but also bright and contemporary.
The executive Chef is Kin Cheung, born and raised in Hong Kong, he started cooking traditional Cantonese dishes at the age of sixteen. His greatest pride is the title of Blue Ribbon Knight recognized by the WRCA - World Restaurant Cate Association, equal to our Michelin Stars.
The pleasant lunch in the company of excellent fork mates like Marco Bechi, Marco Bartolini and Alireza Mohtashami continues with Baked Black Code with Red Curry Sauce and Coconut Milk: delicate but at the same time captivating flavor, pleasant in contrast between the salt of the fish and the sweetness of the curry sauce.
The tasting ends with a slow cook dish: Slow cooker suckling pig with fermented tofu sauce and slow cooker goose breast with duck foie gras and fig sauce, which is followed by a sober but pleasant sweet walnut soup paired with glutinous rice stuffed with black sesame
Element is a restaurant that goes towards a new way of tasting and experiencing the recipes and processes of the rising sun, an interesting example of quality Cantonese cuisine, where even the smallest detail has great significance.