Thursday, April 19, 2012

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo (Hong Kong) – ♕♕♕ 1/2

Michelin 3 Stars

  It is not easy to rate a restaurant during certain occasions.   You are stepping inside one of the best Italian restaurants in HK operated by Chef Bombana, and not only that,  it is the world’s only ever Michelin 3 Stars Italian restaurant situated outside of Italy.   You can’t help but to have high anticipation of the meal.  Should the Michelin Stars affect our judgment or do we need to be self disciplined enough to curb your own expectations,  and if the recipes aren’t really worthy of 3 or even 2 Stars quality,  do you scale down the mark accordingly to your interpretation?     And if the taste of the food is greatly executed as by their usual standards,  but food portions wise were so tiny versus the final billing price you literally had to fight within yourself not to blurt out a ‘wtf?’ comment right on the spot,  should I still give it a lower grade or should we just judge it according to pure taste alone?   Having previously reviewed here over my last two visits,  when it was still a new opening and then subsequently as a Michelin 2 Stars restaurant,  I have got to say that the food overall is still executed expertly.   Bar a poor dessert platter.   Portions & recipes thoughtfulness wise however, it was kind of disappointing for a haute cuisine fine dining Italian experience.   It was simple and predictable.   Luckily our birthday girl W was still happy about the overall experience enough due to the food taste alone – which seems to be the keyword here,  it is mostly about execution.   For a past comparison,  here is a combined review and link: Previous Bombana Visits 




Nice EVOO,
but surprisingly not a very good quality Balsamic which was thin and very acidic



Bread Basket has never changed,
It is still good I guess.




Trenette of Crab Meat,  Orange & Spices -  HKD $320
This dish was executed well,  but the presentation was just the same as any regular pasta you expect to find out there at places like Grappa’s or a private dining kitchen.  In comparison,  dishes at GOLD by Harlan which I have also revisited lately, look much neater and presentable.     This dish tasted great though but there wasn’t much crab flavour…    ~   7.5/10




Artisanal Chitarra with Baby Zucchini,  Mazzancolla Prawn and Datterino Tomato – $320
When this arrived,  I swear I wanted to say the ‘f’ word.  At $320 a pop a la carte for a pasta,  can I get more than a freaking prawn head sans the tail that’s already chopped up,  or a few more strands of that pasta which measured at most 60-80g?   This is a kid’s menu item?   The taste was good mind you,  but surprisingly was not as good as another seafood chitarra dish I ate here before,  and similar dishes at Da Domenico,  Grissini’s and GOLD.  ~ 
7/10 for taste
1/10 for portioning vs price




Spiced Roasted Challans Duck Supreme, 
Apple and Eggplant Compote, Foie Gras  -  $380
Another WTF moment.  You know I don’t like exaggerating things but this was down right appalling for a main course dish.   Look at the sprig of asparagus and the piece of romanesco on the side  -  then measure how tiny this duck breast is.  The amount of duck you get for $380 is completely non sense.  Even though I have made similar complaints about Robuchon L’Atelier HK and Caprice before,  at least those were part of a degustation tasting menu.    The piece of Foie Gras was about the size of a HKD 1 dollar coin.  Depending on your monitor,  this photo probably reflects the real size of the dish itself.   Never mind the taste,  which was still great.  
~  8/10  for taste
~  5/10 for haute cuisine 3 Star recipe
~ 1/10 for portioning



Colorado Rack of Lamb,  Artichoke Puree, Black Olive & Lamb Jus -  $390
I am glad to report back that this seemed to be much more normal in size,  and it was still good.  This time there was a bit of broken bone inside the meat and it wasn’t as tender as a previous visit,  but the sauce was heavier and likeable.   The garnitures were still boring however and another beef dish here or even the duck above carried similar items. 
~  9/10 for taste
~ 5/10 for recipe
~ 10/10 for portioning




Crispy Pear Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream – $130
This was quite good,  the ice cream had a lot of vanilla seeds and the pie was buttery flaky and crisp.   The pears were the let down as they didn’t taste much of either pears or caramelization.  Wasn’t a very sophisticated dessert in recipe either  ~  7/10




Coffee Trio -  Tiramisu,  Coffee Tart and Crunchy Coffee Ice Cream  -  $130
This is the 1st major off-dish I’ve had at Bombana’s.   The coffee ice cream was very bitter and unbalanced, obviously made with an over-extracted coffee base.  Disgusting in taste even.  The coffee tart on the other hand had no coffee taste,  the pate sucree was slightly too hard than brittle.   The Tiramisu was what disappointed the most,  as it had no coffee taste nor alcohols taste,  this was a very weak tiramisu!   Which is alarming as 1, 2 or 3 stars issue aside,  their kitchen usually churns out food that is spot on balanced and this disappointing dessert was very uncharacteristic.    A bit traumatized  ~   3/10





Pasticcini of Chocolate with Nuts,  Torrone and Fruit Pate -
The fruit pate was quite sweetish,  the torrone was too wet sticky today.  The chocolate with nuts was salty, majorly not sweetened enough and also slightly too fruity as a norm.   Overall wouldn’t say this ending plate of pasticcini/mignardises was impressive but about average.  ~  6/10





Price:   $980 Dinner Degustation + 10%,  A La Carte around $600-900
Food: ♕♕♕ 1/2   
Portions count, and it is way too small in some dishes.   Recipes aren’t haute cuisine enough to be truly worthy of 3 Stars quality.  But we all know about Michelin and Peter Lam Kin Ngoc’s restaurants,  don’t we?

Opening Hours -
Mon to Sunday  12:00am - 22:00pm

Address:  中環德輔道中5-17號歷山大廈2樓202號舖
Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 5-17 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Ph: 2537 8859


  1. gosh so pricey! and the portioning is not really good!

    thank god i did not bring my parents to this place! or else... i'll be shoot in the head by my mom

  2. Oh no, I've been wanting to try this place for so long but your review might have turned me off a little. I guess 3 michelin stars means they can serve half-size dishes at double the price!



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