Food review: Mano in Central
The L Place, 139 Queen's Road Central
Tel: 2399 0737
Open: Monday-Saturday 7.30am-late; Sunday 9am-6pm
Cuisine: modern European
Price: about HK$410 without drinks or the service charge
Ambience: quiet, at least on the weeknight we were there. The dining area, to the right of the entrance, is industrial chic with exposed ceilings and cement walls, while the other side, the bakery area, is warmer and more cosy.
Pros: the menu is small, with just nine starters, seven mains and five desserts (one of which is cheese).
Cons: our first server told us they were out of burrata, offering to substitute mozzarella instead. We then tried to order the harissa mackerel starter but they had none of that either. He really should have told us what was unavailable at the beginning. The second waiter was fine. The Mano meatballs (considered a dish "to share", HK$108) were too big, too coarse and too heavy to be a starter.
Recommended dishes: pan-seared scallops (HK$198) were large, moist and rare inside and served with chunks of Iberico pork belly and porcini mushrooms. The porcini risotto with garlic confit and asiago cheese (HK$198) was deeply flavoured, and the rice had just the right amount of bite. The 120-day grass-fed sirloin was cooked to our requested medium-rare, and with a deep, beefy taste.
What else? We were too full for dessert, but they gave us (and all the other guests dining that night) take-away boxes of items from the bakery section. The ground floor of The L Place has seen three food and beverage establishments in as many years. Cantopop didn't last, but the bar for Linguini Fini remains on the first floor.