REVIEW

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo - Bombano

Chef Umberto Bombano trained at Antica Osteria del Ponte in Milan and spent 15 years at the Hong Kong Ritz Carlton’s Toscana restaurant before opening 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombano in 2010, whose name is a reference to the 1963 Federico Fellini film.  The setting is contemporary and chic, with a jagged, mirrored ceiling, chocolate leather banquettes, etched glass dividers and colorful art on the walls.  One wall consists entirely of a window, letting it generous amounts of natural light, while the others are outfitted with molding and mirrors.  There is a lively bar area in the front of the restaurant.  The beautiful interior is typically adorned with a glamorous clientele of Tai Tais (sometimes with family in tow) and businessmen.

The cuisine has clearly been prepared with the highest quality ingredients available.  A jamon “Iberico de Bellota” was among the best we’ve had, and a M9 sirloin of Mayura-Full Blood Tajima Wagyu Beef was incredibly tender and buttery.  The pastas are supremely well-executed; in particular, a burrata cheese ravioli with a black and olive eggplant sauce, cherry tomato and basil is as good as the dish gets.  A roast kinki fish, however, although well-cooked and nicely paired with Calvisius caviar, was inordinately fishy in flavor.

The most significant problem we encountered though was with the service.  Waiters were nowhere to be found when needed, water was not refilled, courses were awkwardly and lengthily paced.  When asked to recommend a bottle of red wine from the well-chosen and extensive list, the sommelier could only recommend selections above $200USD, most substantially above.

8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombano is perhaps principally known for being the only Michelin three star Italian restaurant outside Italy.  That fact has generated a considerable amount of hype, often leading to inflated expectations that are left unfulfilled when dining.  Andy Hayler, for instance, a man who knows something about Michelin three star restaurants having eaten at every one in the world, stated that the rating was “laughable” and that “[i]n Italy, or even in London, cooking of this level would receive one star, and is another example of the truly bizarre ratings given by the Michelin Hong Kong inspectors.”  This is precisely right.  There are five or so superior Italian restaurants in New York City alone (Del Posto is better by several orders of magnitude) and all but one have only one Michelin star. And in Hong Kong, one star Tosca at the Ritz-Carlton is more or less the same in quality, with better service and a better view. But it’s not the restaurant’s fault it was awarded three stars, and it should be judged independently on its own merit as simply what it is – a very fine Italian restaurant in a sophisticated, smart setting.  As long as you don’t go into your meal expecting the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy, you should enjoy it very much.

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INFORMATION

Central
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road
852 2537 8859
Mon-Sat, midnight-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm
    Umberto Bombana , Chef
    Edmund Li, Chef de Cuisine
    Padzli Ahmad, Pastry Chef

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Italian
    • Best Bars
    • Best Decor
    • Best Wine Lists
    • BYOB Corkage Fee: $300HKD
    • Private Dining Room Private Dining Room 1: 12 seated Private Dining Room 2: 12 seated
    • Romantic

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