Just got back from Hong Kong and had the opportunity to have a meal at this restaurant. It is apparently the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy to have received 3 Michelin stars, having been awarded 3 stars by the 2012 Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau. I was so lucky to get a reservation at the last minute, thanks to a friend of my sister’s!
My goal for the night… EAT ALL THE TRUFFLES! I’ve been so tempted by all the photos of truffles coming out on instagram from this restaurant, as well as my sister who also ate there a week before I went to Hong Kong. So yes… we didn’t go for the degustation menu but what we ordered seemed like a more expensive degustation by itself! Such that the Caucasian women on the tables next to us looked over at us in disgust at the amount of food coming to our table for just 2 of us ;D We are Asian, and we are naturally greedy. Plus the dishes are mostly dainty and in small portions!
We ordered 2 starters, 3 pastas, 1 main and 2 desserts. Even the waiter was aghast. No matter! I looked forward to a great meal and wasn’t disappointed at all.
The amuse bouche came first, though I didn’t catch what it was. Could very well be a blend of fruit and cheese? I can’t really tell what it was. Quite refreshing though.
Yes, the bread basket…. the bread is warm! I loved the foccacia! Its the one on the top right. It had a crispy top with some sun-dried tomato and olive baked onto the surface and warm fluffy insides. It’s been so long since I had good bread at a restaurant! I only ate the focaccia but my friend loved the brown bread beside it. Again it had that crunch to it as you bite into the bread, but yet you don’t have to gnaw it to death to take a bite out of it. The waiter had to top up our bread basket with fresh warm bread. How embarassing… and we kept on eating even the 2nd basket.
Luckily, our first appetizer arrived in time to stop us. This is seared tuna topped with caviar with some dainty salad. They were so nice to split the portion into two plates for us, so this was my portion. I could have sworn that the tuna is of the akami type, the leaner part of the tuna. It certainly had that ruby red hue to it. But when I bit into it, it had all the full flavour of seared fatty tuna. It was beautiful, along with that gorgeous mountain of caviar in unison with a slightly tart and rich sauce.
Next, the scampi topped with truffle shavings. The scampi carpaccio is fresh, in some sort of olive oil emulsion if I’m not mistaken. It is similar to the truffle tai carpaccio at Aoki but I prefer the texture of tai compared to the scampi. Plus the flavours didn’t blend as well as the truffle tai carpaccio. So while this was nice, it wasn’t one of the must haves for the night. I hear that there is an octopus version of this that is really nice too.
Next up, the pasta dishes.
Shellfish cavatelli in a delicious seafood bisque with chanterelle mushrooms. Sometimes this is topped with sea urchin, but I think that could be seasonal. This was amazing! And also half a portion as my friend and I shared the cavatelli as well. The seafood bisque was full flavoured and bursting with ocean goodness. It wasn’t heavy at all and left us unabashedly scraping at the bottom of the bowl to get at every last drop. The pasta, while I wouldn’t normally order pasta in this style, is great with the bisque and the perfectly cooked shellfish. Nice bite and texture to it but I’d say the shellfish and bisque were the stars of the dish to me.
More pasta dishes up next, we couldn’t decide between the risotto (which was highly recommended by my sister) and the more traditional tagliolini (which was highly recommended by the waitress), so she suggested we take both in a small size. We happily took her suggestion to heart….
When both dishes came, a waiter meticulously shaved… and shaved… and shaved more… and more black truffle all over the pasta until you can no longer see any pasta! How generous! (Obviously this was going to be expensive but when you’re eating, all good reason flies out the window)
Truffle… with pasta.
This is the risotto, I’m not sure why its green again but it was well cooked with a nice bite to it. You can’t really tell in the picture but both pastas had a ring of dark sauce around it. I’m assuming this is the truffle emulsion and it tasted like a dense, truffled wild mushroom soup. Together with the risotto it added more depth to an already rich and aromatic dish. It is a really small serving, however, you can probably finish it in a couple of spoonfuls, just enough to savour and appreciate the mix of earthy and nutty flavours in this gorgeous dish.
This is the homemade tagliolini in a creamy, smooth butter and parmesan sauce with truffle emulsion in a ring around the golden mound of al dante pasta. Classic pairing for truffles. It has that super cheesy and creamy taste that I love, but with the truffle emulsion, it helps to bring a different layer and richness to cut into the cheesiness. Very decadent! Along with the truffles, it was to die for. Too bad I only had a bite ;(
Our lobster main, cooked perfectly, still had that balance between raw and cooked in the center which I really liked. Texture-wise the lobster had a smooth cut to it so that it is still retained that creamy texture. Again…that sauce/broth that came with it? Amazing. I’m not sure if its the same broth as before with the pasta, but it had that same full flavoured brine to it.
Finally we were ready for dessert. This is the tiramisu ice cream which was actually not bad! I always scoffed at the idea of truffle ice cream. Lovely gold flakes in its presentation and nestled in fresh whipped cream and surrounded by fresh black truffle shavings. I still prefer my hazelnut ice creams though ;p
This pear tart came highly recommended by my sister. Its got an almost wafer thin flaky crust topped with very delicately sliced pears. I must try to make this one day!!! Very warm, slightly spiced and crispy dessert which ended the meal perfectly.
The waiter congratulated us upon finishing our meal. *Shy*
Obviously it cost a bomb, but in comparison to some other top restaurants, this isn’t too bad after all. I think the a la carte would be better than the degustation. Also, if you go during the white truffle season, or black winter truffle season, the experience will be so much better as nothing beats the aroma of the Italian truffles! Our favourites for the night were the seared tuna, all the pastas, the lobster and the pear tart. ❤
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 5-17 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Reservation: Tel: +852 2537 8859 Fax: +852 2537 8895, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Hours: 12:00p – 10:00pm (Mon-Sat, Closed on Sun)
Just for fun, I’ve included a couple of recipes from Otto’s website. I’m sure I’ll never be able to make it as well as they do despite them openly sharing the recipes like this!
Homemade Cavatelli shellfish ragout and sea urchin
For 1 pax
5gr sea Urchin
15gr scampi (no shell)
15gr lobster (no shell)
30gr diced cherry tomato
5gr chopped garlic
50gr lobster stock
50gr seafood soup
– Seafood: cut the scampi, octopus, snapper and Lobster into small dices, marinate with extra virgin olive oil, salt and white pepper
– pan-fry the garlic and dry chilli until golden color, put on side
– cook the diced cherry tomatoes in medium heat, add lobster stock and seafood soup
– separately, pan-fry the seafood and mix with garlic chilli, basil
– add seafood-tomato sauce
– cook the cavatelli in saltwater for 3 minutes
– mix with the sauce and cook for another 3 min
– transfer onto a plate, garnish with sea urchin on top
Tajima Short Rib and Beef Tenderloin, Red Wine and Plum Sauce, Whipped Potato
Red wine and plum sauce, whipped potato
160 gr short rib (big squared)
180 gr beef tenderloin (wagyu)
100 gr carrots
100 gr celery
80 gr onion
80 gr leek
100 gr Italian tomato
5 gr garlic
1 pcs bay leaf
20 gr parma ham
40 gr porto wine
40 gr red wine
160 gr veal stock
30 gr dry plum
8 gr rosemary
60 gr extra virgin olive oil
Preparation of base sauce:
• Saut all the vegetables in a big bowl until they are soft
• Put the ham, plum, porto and red wine in the bowl. Cook everything in the bowl until the alcohool is evaporated. After put the veal stock
• Pan fried the short rib until a golden colour and put in the bowl with the base sauce
• Put the bowl in oven at 200 degree for 2 hours.
• Then take out the short rib cut big squared and the base sauce strim it
• When the serve take out the short rib and heat again in sauce, and pan fried the beef tenderloin in pan.
Coffee Trio of Tiramisu, Warm Coffee Tart and Crunchy Coffee Ice Cream
For 4 pax
For the Tiramisù
• 48 gr yolk
• 40 gr sugar
• 120 gr whipped Cream
• 200 gr mascarpone
Mix up egg yolk with Sugar (Sabayon), melt the gelatin and combine all the ingredients together
For the Coffee Gelly
• 160 gr espresso
• 60 gr sugar
Heat the espresso with sugar
For the sponge
• 64 gr ground almond
• 20 gr cake flour
• 80 gr icing sugar
• 40 gr sugar
• 132 gr egg white
Sift all the dried ingredients. Make meringue with sugar and egg white. Fold in the dried ingredients with meringue and spread on the tray. Bake 180 degree for 12 minute.
For the Coffee tart
• 4 pcs egg yolk
• 80 gr sugar
• 128 gr milk
• 20 gr coffee powder
• 56 gr coffee bean
• 320 gr cream
Roast the coffe bean for 10 minutes at 200。and add into the boiling milk. Infuse 30 minutes. Mix sugar and egg yolk and add the cold cream. Mix the coffee powder with warm milk, combine all the mixture and sift. Bake at 110 degree for 35-40 min.
For the Coffee Ice Cream
• 800 gr milk
• 240 gr cream
• 120 gr coffee Bean
• 70 gr milk powder
• 50 gr yolk
• 180 gr sugar
• 20 gr coffee powder
• 30 gr water
Roast the coffee bean and add into boiling milk and cream. Cook like a custard