3 Michelin starred Italian restaurant situated in a Hong Kong shopping mall
This restaurant is unique in that it is the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy to receive 3 Michelin stars. Otto e mezzo means eight and a half in Italian but I couldn’t quite get why the chef Umberto Bombana named it after the Italian Frederico Fellini film 8 1/2. At least that explains its title. The menu is split between a degustation tasting menu for approx £165 or a la carte which is unusually cheaper on average than the tasting menu. We opted for the a la carte and whilst this was a pleasant experience with some good dishes, I’m afraid it does add to the pot of 3 Michelin starred venues in Asia whereby I am puzzled at their award.
The amuse bouche consisted of a powerful beetroot gazpacho with buffalo ricotta cheese and cherry. This was indeed punchy and a good start. Tuna tartare with citrus, tofu emulsion and oscietra caviar was balanced well enough and the parpadelle of lamb ragout, porcini mushroom and mint was a good parpadelle dish.
Veal chop Milanese style (i.e. in the style of Milan) was breaded and delightfully thin with a very good breadcrumb coating albeit, just a chop in breadcrumbs. The ratte potatoes, Sicilian tomatoes and oregano salad were clean accompaniments. Burrata cheese ravioli was all that you could hope for using these simple ingredients with cherry tomatoes, aubergine and basil. Cherry tomatoes were also offered on the side as a very welcome addition.
A lemon mousse served as a cleansing pre-dessert and for the desserts, the absolute star of the show (for the whole meal) was the limoncello souffle with citrus salad and lemon gelato which was utterly delectable – soft, creamy and oozing with flavour. The crispy pear tart was another staple so this needed to be tried and was also very good especially with the silky smooth vanilla gelato melting on top of it.
An assortment of petit fours followed including pasticcini (pastry horns with cream), nougat, chocolate and tartlets. All were as good as one can make nougat etc, but are ultimately not at the top of the tree for me. The bill came to £346 for two, meaning £173 per head with wines which did not resemble a crime, but was above the norm in price for what was had. It wasn’t a bad meal at all, but at the same time, I find the award of 3 Michelin stars far too generous for what are essentially some good Italian dishes and given the choice, I would sooner have 2 large portions of fogatelli at the recently closed Beck at Browns in comparison.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)