Staunton's Bar & Cafe, the new modern Mediterranean outlet, should open just after the Lunar New Year. The menu for the two-storey restaurant has been kept short, sharp and focused on quality. Both floors will have their own kitchen and bar. The first level will serve a simpler and snack-oriented menu, while the kitchen upstairs is geared towards lunch and dinner. A breakfast selection, including muesli, toast and pastries, will be served on weekends. Cross-cultural wilderness The new fusion dishes at Wild Orchids have had some restaurateurs scratching their heads. In one of the more novel concepts, the Quarry Bay restaurant has blended the flavours of New Mexico with those of Asia, coming up with such combinations as Ahi tuna tartare with wasabi mayonnaise; lamb chops with apple pear mint chutney; ginger prawn salad with mango; tandoori salmon; and grilled seafood fried rice. The menu is being served in conjunction with a Chilean wine promotion which runs until the end of January. Reservations on 2856-9848. Group bets on stylish Italian Contrary to previous talk, the new venture from the Va Bene group is not serving a Sichuan menu but will concentrate on what they have done best - Italian. The high-style Bennissimo (meaning better than Bene) is scheduled to open in Lan Kwai Fong in the middle of the year. 'It will be Italian in theme and management, but we haven't decided on the food,' partner Pino Piano says. The idea is for a stylish Kenneth Ko-designed restaurant and bar, where people feel comfortable dropping in for drinks. Weighty tome on fat obsession The food book on everyone's lips at the moment is Eat Fat (Picador), which looks at the modern preoccupation with weight and takes a kinder view of its excess. 'Fat has always been the shape of Utopia,' author Richard Klein says. Celebrating fat and generous portions of food, he insists that dieting, rather than eating, is what makes people fat, and peppers his tract with examples of well-endowed personalities of the past such as Venus de Milo and Louis XVI. Devotees insist it's an intelligent and witty book. The season for truffles and game Chefs at The Peninsula have begun digging into the hotel's biggest order ever of black truffles. They appear on Gaddi's special menu, in the form of Belgium waffle with celery mousse and black truffle sauce, chicken consomme with leeks and black truffles, and liquorice meringue with black truffle ice cream. The six-course set menu is available until February 15 and costs $1,200 per person. Bookings on 2366-6251. Another hotel promotion worth noting is at The Park Lane's revamped 27 Restaurant & Bar. The Scottish game menu runs until January 29 and is served at dinner with a choice of malt whiskies. Bookings on 2839-3327.