Tuesday, December 27, 2016

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★★

After hanging out with family and friends for much of the festive holiday, I decided to take things a little slowly today. A late lunch just between the three of us was what I had in mind. I was trying hard to decide between Uncle Robuchon and chef Bombana but once I heard about L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon's children policy, it was pretty clear that 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana would be the one we would be visiting this afternoon.

The good thing about chef Bombana's festive menu is that everything from starter to dessert is a simple choice between two selections. I think I can handle that.

Lunch started off brightly with the first starter of the afternoon, crispy langoustine. This tasted a little like our famous Chinese dish, salted egg yolk prawn (黃金蝦) with the sweet little langoustine tightly coated with something like salty egg yolk on the outside. The citrus anchovy dressing was a very impressive addition to the mix and the small winter vegetable salad did well to balance the richness of the langoustine. Very nice start.

The second starter turned out to be even better than my crispy langoustine. This beautifully decorated dish featuring Belon oyster and golden Beluga caviar was wonderfully complemented by a bit of Hokkaido crab meat and the seasoning with citrus and tarragon was simply ingenious.

For our pasta dish, we both went with their homemade maccheroni with blue lobster ragout and sea urchin. If you're looking for a perfect pasta in the city, you're looking at it right now. The bite of the maccheroni was absolutely perfect and the richness of the blue lobster and sea urchin proved to be the perfect match with the al dente pasta.

My meat course was Mayura beef tenderloin, served medium with beef cheek jus, artichoke, baby asparagus and an evil black truffle mash (not as evil as the one from Uncle Robuchon though). I thought the beef was grilled to absolute perfection and the rich beef cheek jus provided the picture-perfect finishing touch. This was really succulent and mouthwatering.

Equally impressive was the baby lamb from Pyrenees, served two ways with aromatic herbs, black olive, barley and vegetables. This was another masterpiece.

I was a little curious with how they do with their desserts because based on their track records (OK, it's my personal experience), things have been a little inconsistent. But I was glad to report that those inconsistencies were a thing of the past now.

The first of our two desserts was one for the chestnut lovers, with chestnut cake, chantilly and marron gelato. Pretty good.

The warm cherry tart with roasted cherries, chantilly and pistachio gelato was another solid offering. I particularly enjoyed the contrasting flavors and temperatures between the warm cherries and pistachio gelato.

I thought chef Bombana would be busy shaving white truffles in one of his overseas restaurants during Christmas but obviously I was wrong. He jokingly told me how BIG my nugget was getting and as usual, we shared a few laughs together.

Food Rating: 8.5/10
Price: $$$$$
Address: Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 2537-8859
Website: www.ottoemezzobombana.com
S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 86th (2016)
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 13th (2016)

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