Hong Kong. Asia’s New York. That “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” as Alicia Keys would put it. But for now, forget the dream-chasing for a moment—and just eat! With Holy Week just around the corner, it’s just a credit card and a quick flight away. Here are some places fit for a real chow holiday in Hong Kong.
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Shop 202, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong; tel. 852-25378859; Closed on Sundays
Regarded as the “best Italian chef in Asia,” Umberto Bombana, formerly executive chef of Toscana at the Ritz Carlton, was also recently voted the first-ever Chef of Chefs at the 2011 Miele Guide Awards. His creations are hearty yet exquisite, generous but not exaggerated. The restaurant is conveniently located just off Landmark, but do come a little dressed as the interiors demand a relaxed sense of class. But the food is not stiff at all. The Egg in Raviolo has black winter truffles covering a bowl of perfectly cooked eggs enveloped in ricotta cheese. The Burrata Cheese Ravioli contains a heaping of burrata. The servings are large enough to share and you are welcome to do so if you please. Best of all, if you love pig, the resto has gran reserva Iberico ham! Alternatively, if you would just like to sit down for a drink after some power shopping, it has a bar with signature cocktails where you can relax in style as well.
Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Shop 315 & 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong; for reservations, tel. 852-21669000
This hip joint is located within the halls of the mall (Landmark). So feel free to come in jeans, sit by the bar, chat with the servers and then get your dose of the killer food. For starters, have a custard of foie gras served in a shot glass. Then experience the signature burger topped with—what else—foie gras, or the quail filled with the same. The King Crab is also to die for.
Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central; tel. 852-31968888, 852-31968860
Caprice, ensconced in the grandiose Four Seasons Hotel at Central, has chandeliers that are reminiscent of “Phantom of the Opera.” Art with needle-thread stitching fills a wall, and the commanding view of Victoria Harbour creates a first impression that lingers. The service is par excellence. As if trained in ballet, the servers miss no step. They are present and alert just as you raise your hand, have an apparent appreciation of the chef’s creations, and are able to share the contents of the menu thoroughly, knowledgeably, enthusiastically. The creations of Chef Vincent Thierry are the star. On a scale of 1 to 10, his creations rate an 11, most notably on how he makes the supporting characters on the plate shine as much as the lead. The shellfish bisque with langoustine ravioli, for instance—while the bisque and langoustine are excellent (a week later I can still taste it), the sweetbread also has its moment. The duck brings memories of—believe it or not—lechon, presented in a block of meat with a thin sliver of duck fat resting underneath crispy skin; but just as memorable is the side of gnocchi that accompanies it, enveloped in pork fat and with bits of bacon. Dessert is a beautiful “snowball tiramisu,” but inside is a sponge biscuit with crunch from what is described on the menu as arabica crumble. All this from a grand but open kitchen where you can see Master Thierry himself as he creates his art. Best of all, you can order bags of the signature salted caramel candy to go for pasalubong!
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