I had planned to write about our visit to Otto e Mezzo months ago, as we’ve actually been there at the end of March (it was a fantastic pre-wedding gift of our lovely friends Michael and Monica – can’t believe how generous they are!) but I have been busy with my Hawaii posts so I had no time to write about our amazing dinner in the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy.
Otto e Mezzo opened in 2010 at Alexandra House in Central, Hong Kong. The chef, Umberto Bombana, was formerly the chef at the Ritz Carlton’s Toscana restaurant (in its heyday it was the most popular Italian restaurant in Hong Kong). In December 2011, Otto e Mezzo became the only Italian restaurant out of Italy to garner 3 Michelin Stars. It’s no wonder that getting a reservation is extremely difficult. We waited two months to get a table on a Thursday evening, and the wait was worth it.
Unfortunately we did not take a good camera with us, so we had to take pictures with our mobile phones. The pictures look ok, but they do not do the food any justice. For instance, this small greeting from the kitchen, which included salmon, cream and some lovely herbs and salad leaves. I don’t know the details, but it was a fresh palate cleanser – very tasty to start.
We had ordered their special Mojito drinks to start with – but as they were made with some vanilla flavoured sugar we all disliked them. They tasted to artificial, almost chemical – what a shame. We sent them back and the waiter was so lovely, he made sure to explain the next set of drinks to us and we all went for safer options, including a bellini and a gin tonic. The second round of drinks was perfect and we could start to enjoy the food and drinks.
I am a big fan of lobster soup – so seeing that they had lobster soup on the menu, I had to try it. It was very flavoursome, with lots of lobster aroma. Quite a large bowl to start with, but I would have loved to have more lobster pieces in the soup. Oh well, we had so much different bread to try, the bead basket was full and yummy and I had to be careful not to fill myself up on too much food. I don’t have pictures of the food that Patrick, Monica & Michael tried – but I remember that Patrick had a fantastic lamb ragout with pasta, which was a big portion for a starter and really rich and flavoursome.
For mains, I stayed with the seafood option (I always tend to go with seafood, just because I know I struggle preparing it myself properly). I had seabass with purple potatoes and vegetables. Very light and refreshing. Maybe not a typical Italian dish and I should have gone for the meat dishes, which my friends had – but I was happy too. It was a clean dish, very light with a flavour of olive oil (like sunshine on a plate!) and some lemon.
Of course we always have room for dessert (and when we go out with Michael and Monica we always have to have dessert!) so we ordered different dishes to try. I had a lovely chocolate trio, and I loved the chocolate sorbet best. Refreshing, light, but still made out of lots and lots of dark chocolate.
Patrick always goes for creme brulee or tiramisu – and given we where at an Italian restaurant, it had to be Tiramisu this time. It
was a Coffee Trio – Tiramisu, Coffee Tart and Crunchy Coffee Ice Cream. The coffee ice cream was a little too bitter and the coffee tart on the other hand had no coffee taste. The Tiramisu was what disappointed the most, it was just rich mascarpone with little cream and alcohol – but then I guess I am hard to please. I like my Tiramisu to be perfect! But anyway, Patrick was happy with his dessert and I loved my chocolate sorbet, so the world was still in order!
Monica also had the chocolate trio, but Michael’s strawberry trifle also looked yummy and as I’ve been told also tasted yummy.
We also had a big plate of petit fours to share, and I must confess, they were all gone by the time we had drunk our coffee. It was a lovely meal, a very high-class Italian dinner.
The dishes were much more polished than I have ever had in an Italian restaurant (but then it was a Michelin-starred restaurant and the prices were high) and I really enjoyed them. It’s not your average Italian and that’s why I love about it – and also the fact that Umberto Bombana actually turned up on the day and just looked into the dining room, checking to see if the guests are happy. That’s a good sign, I love chefs that are still close enough to their customers!
Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Shop 202, Alexandra House, 18 Charter Rd, Central
Tel. 2537 8859