Hong Kong: 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA


Having been awarded Worldwide Ambassador of the White Truffle in 2006 by the Piedmontese regional Enoteca Cavour (Italy), Chef Umberto Bombana sure is a celebrated icon in the culinary world. Indeed, “The King of White Truffles” has never failed to satisfy the gourmet palate all over the world with his distinctive flair and passion for refined Tuscan cooking – first with the legendary Italian eatery Toscana at Ritz-Carlton Hotel Hong Kong, then The Drawing Room with Chef Roland Schuller, and now with his own restaurant 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA. The name is a direct reference to Federico Fellini’s 1963 biographical movie classic. Like Fellini’s movie, Chef Bombana assures diners an unforgettable experience of his artistic genius. The restaurant is not only one of the only five restaurants in Hong Kong with 3 Michelin stars, but also the first Italian restaurant outside Italy to deserve this high recognition – till today.
8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA is suitably located on the 2nd floor of Landmark, away from the bustle of well-heeled shoppers in various prestigious international brands. The restaurant is extremely spacious, and minimally decorated with vast paintings and floral vases, creating a rather laid-back atmosphere where diners are free to talk and bond over casual conversations.
Service is of course impeccable like that of any other 3 Michelin starred restaurants. Serviettes neatly folded, menu immediately provided with an explanation of the day’s specials, warm crusty bread served and glasses topped up constantly to ensure diners are adequately pampered.
We opted for several A La Carte dishes and one Degustation Lunch Menu. While we requested for half portions for the A La Carte dishes, we were actually charged 2/3 the price of the original dish. So that’s something to ponder about… Just the way restaurants do business maybe?
Burrata Cheese Ravioli (HK $160): Black Olive and Eggplant Sauce, Cherry Tomato and Basil. Chef Bombana adheres to a “less is more” philosophy and this simple homemade pasta is indeed a testimony to that. The pasta is perfectly al dente, and it was sufficiently stuffed with creamy and milky Burrata cheese that just melts in your mouth so instantly.
20130708_140440 Cavatelli (HK $200): Shellfish Ragout and Zucchini Flower. For me, this spelled comfort food with that sweet tasty broth.
 Degustation (HK $1380 without wine pairing)   
Cold Melon Soup: Lobster, Mint and Iberico Ham. I really enjoyed the perfect pairing of ingredients, flavours, and even temperature of this dish. Firstly, the chilled melon soup was extremely sweet, almost as if you were slurping the juices of a high-grade muskmelon that you would get in Japan. And then the lobster, served at room temperature, was perfectly cooked, retaining a slight bite but not at all chewy. Lastly, there was the salty and savoury Iberico Ham that provided a contrast in taste and flavor.
Roast Turbot: Chanterelle Mushroom and “Caciucco” Sauce. The fish was surprisingly juicy and luscious, almost like a cod fish.
Homemade Tagliolini: Butter, Parmesan, Truffle Emulsion and Black Winter Truffles. You gotta love how generous they are with their truffle shavings. This dish is as simple as it can be with just a few unpretentious ingredients, allowing the truffles to speak for itself in taste, flavor and smell.
Main course was a choice of Colorado Rack of Lamb, or “M9” Tajima Beef Sirloin and Beef Cheek: Red Wine and Plum Sauce and Whipped Potato. Just look at the crimson red. The beef was perfectly medium rare, juicy and tender, and the beef cheek fell apart at the slightest force of your knife and melts in your mouth so instantly. While the potato was no doubt creamy, smooth and rich, I’ve got to say that Joel Robuchon does it the best.
The Truffle: Black Winter Truffle Ice Cream, Chantilly and Hazelnut. Who says you can’t have more truffles in one seating and you can’t have truffle for dessert? J There was a hint of truffle in the ice cream, although I was definitely expecting more of that taste to match that priceless scent that I got. But it was a perfect balance of textures again with the creaminess and smoothness of the ice cream and crunchy hazelnuts.
Coffee or Tea
Homemade Petit Fours
I visited 8½ last July during the Black Truffle Season. Now that its White Truffle Season, the long awaited white truffle-centered menu is available at the restaurant and you definitely can’t miss what this King of White Truffle has to offer. More details can be found on their Facebook page.
8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, diners are assured that they are taken care of at every step of the way – from the moment you step into the restaurant, to only the freshest ingredients used to deliver the best Italian cuisine, and the thoughtful interior design and ambience created. You wouldn’t think that you’re stepping into a 3 Michelin starred restaurant – think Joel Robuchon or Le Pre Catalan in Paris, all of which exudes that sense of grandeur and diners are expected to behave. Here, it is unpretentious and while diners ought to behave to some extent, burst of laughter and jokes are always welcomed.
8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra
18 Chater Road
Central, Hong Kong
This entry was posted in Hong Kong, Italian, Lunch, Travel to eat! :) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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