Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Va Bene, Sheung Wan - Italian fare mostly hits the spot

Starter was the highlight, osso buco the big disappointment at Va Bene

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 April, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2016, 5:28pm

Cuisine: Italian

Price: about HK$450 without drinks or the service charge.

Ambience: very quiet. We were the only customers for almost the entire evening.

Pros: our server was friendly and eager to make recommendations.

Cons: traditional osso buco with saffron risotto (HK$248) was disappointing. Osso buco is a dish that’s made in advance, and all the cook needs to do is reheat it, which he didn’t do sufficiently. The meat was tender but tepid, and while the rice looked yellow enough, the saffron flavour was far too subtle.

Recommended dishes: a starter of potato cream with olive oil, salmon caviar, capers and lemon (HK$148) was our favourite dish of the evening. The creamy, sumptuous mouth feel of the potato cream was balanced by the acidity of the capers and lemon, while the pop of the salmon caviar gave textural contrast. Italian young beef tartare with curry and duck liver (HK$178) could have used a touch more salt, and we couldn’t taste the curry. It was a very nice version anyway, because the use of young cow made it seem lighter and less fatty than usual, while the pieces of foie gras added some richness. Angel hair pasta with sea urchin and bottarga (HK$248) was creamy and rich with a generous amount of uni, and it had a gentle chilli heat. Tiramisu (HK$68) was smooth and well balanced.

What else? Va Bene is part of the Gaia group of restaurants.

Va Bene, Soho 189, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2845 5577