Brainchild of Umberto Bombana, 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana is the only 3 star Michelin Italian restaurant outside Italy and ranked no 6 in the Asia's 50 Best Restaurant award 2013 edition, with such achievements, it is safe to assume that chef patron Umberto Bombana's restaurant is one of the best in Hong Kong and worth a special trip to visit even if you are on the other side of the world. But sadly, my visit proved not to be the case.
|8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana|
We arrived a little early and were placed at the bar to wait by the reception. I had a good time while I was chatting to the bartender about the whole Hong Kong cocktail scene and a bit of the Italian's role in the history of cocktail development. But after almost 30 minutes passed my booking time, nobody approached me at all so I had to check with the reception myself and it turned out they'd forgotten about it, also they didn't offer to have my jacket or bag taken away which was very slopy for what's supposed to be a high end western restaurant, let alone one with 3 Michelin stars.
We were offered a selection of bread while we checked out the lunch menu, a lunch menu is usually a good indicator to see what the restaurant's cooking style is like and what it is capable of with limited use of luxury ingredients. To begin I had the veal fillet salad with confit tuna sauce, it was a decent dish at best, the tuna sauce lacked any taste and it only acted as a texture separation between the red radish and the veal.
|veal fillet salad with confit tuna sauce|
|confit organic egg|
For the mains, Amberjack was pleasant enough, some good mixtures of classical flavours using citrus, olive and oregano. The fish was well cooked with good seasoning, The other dish, winter sausage and beef cheek also delivered some great bold flavours, not overly rich, the cheek was tender with both the mushroom and lentils working well with the meat. But I just expected so much more from a Michelin graded restaurant, dessert again was the same old thing, no excitement involved, a plate of food that you can experience easily anywhere in other decent Italian restaurants.
|winter sausage and beef cheek|
|amberjack with black olive and vegetable compote|
|cheese and petit four|
My meal at Otto e Mezzo Bombana was a massive let down, not one single dish met my expectations. All the food lacked any real refinement, technique, imagination with average presentation. Based on the food I had, the level of cooking wasn't even 1 star worthy if I was to compare to the likes of Murano and Aspley in London. A three star experience should be elegant, a palate sensation and close to perfection, but Otto e Mezzo Bombana failed to reach any where near that standard. For me it was just a decent local Italian restaurant which offered some classic Italian flavours and nothing more.
What I paid:
£75 per head with 1 cocktail and 1 glass of wine
Average cost without drinks and services :
£50 - £100
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
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