Sunday, October 16, 2011

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA - Push the gondola out

Rib (for two)
Just look at that. Geezus. Tender, juicy, with the right amount of fat, good bite, excellent beefy flavour. Oh, if I could just eat that off the day-m screen now. It might seem weird that I crave steak from an Italian restaurant (that's not a steak Florentine), but this one from 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana is better than any I've had at steakhouses in Hong Kong. (Though I'm yet to go to talk of the steak-town, Steakhouse at Grand Hyatt, which I've heard very good things about).

Burrata ravioli
Silky, fluffy pockets of joy - handmade pasta by Umberto Bombana (well, from his equipe anyway :P), previously of Toscana at the old (now gone) Ritz-Carlton, then Aspasia at The Luxe Manor (the restaurant is now gone), then the Drawing Room at JIA hotel (both the restaurant and hotel are still around!).

Sea urchin

I could go through every dish we had and try and tell you how good everything was, but I'm lazy, so I'm just going to tell you that everything was divine - and I'm not lying. (I'm lazy but I'm no liar, mmkay?) This is one of Hong Kong's best restaurants, and it has a jam-packed booking calendar to prove it. I'm tempted to say it's never too early to book.

Prawn spaghetti?

So I'm not going to go through every dish in detail. Quite frankly, it's also because I've forgotten exactly what we had. It was just one of those meals where we ate so well and had such a fine evening that all you remember is that it was excellent and there was nothing really to fault.

[edit: plus, it's no secret Otto is great, I don't even know why I wrote this post! Probably just to show off some pictures]

Roast John Dory

I guess, if I had to complain, one thing that was a bit weird was the portion size. We had to order the spaghetti because the original main course (John Dory, above) was too small. (Oh and the obnoxious, drunk, overcrowded group on the next table... sigh)

Since having it on my first visit, I haven't been able to resist the temptation of ordering this steak. (I think it's Angus??) It's on the bone, to share between (at least) 2. They carve up the fleshy bits, plate it up (see 2 pics above and opening pic) then separately, bring the bones and other offcuts. You can't see any obvious Wagyu-esque marbling, but it's so tender and feels marbled in the mouth. It's also perfectly cooked - our medium was deep pink inside, with so many rich, beefy juices (as opposed to buttery fat), it's a real steak with unreal finesse.

THE steak - offcuts
The bones are simply amazing. Tasty, still with a little meat on them, beautifully charred - I stop caring that I'm at a fine dining restaurant and start gnawing like a hungry pup. Of course, I don't go fully vampire/zombie-style-overboard, but I guess after a few times I've mastered the art of happily gnawing while remaining relatively respectable composure.

Creme brulee

tart... lemon curd?? (sorry I really forgot & this wasn't my dessert :P)

something with chocolate in it...
(sorry about the sliced off corner, I didn't snap a pic fast enough!)

Petit fours
You will have to book ahead and it doesn't come cheap, but Otto is definitely worth the wait and the dough if you want high-end Italian-inflected hearty. Right now, or at least for the past 2 years or so, Otto has been one of my favourite non-Asian restaurants in Hong Kong. (The only other fave is probably Amber).

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
2/F Alexandra House
Hong Kong
+852 2537 8859

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  1. whoaaa i need to try their steak asappp. ps. gorgeous shots!

  2. Anonymous10:32 pm

    The beef they use is from Oakleigh Ranch in Australia which specializes in using 100% Wagyu Tajima bloodline, no Angus at all. The Tajima is prized for it's even and speckled marbling. Not all Wagyu is heavily marbled, the ones Bombana uses would be closer to an A3 in Japanese standards, which is better suited for a steak this size.

  3. Thanks Anon! I guess the word Wagyu in itself (even where I used it above) isn't very precise, since Wagyu just literally means "Japanese beef", you give a much more accurate label of the specific breed, thanks!