Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Cristina Sambuchi, food import manager
Sambuchi, a mother of two, tells us about her favourite places to eat her native Italian cuisine – when she’s with family, friends or has guests to impress – and restaurants she takes her children to
For me, food means passion. What counts is the quality of the ingredients. I am a hearty eater but if I do not find quality I can be very fussy. New flavours also guide mine and my husband’s choices. Usually, we do not order; instead, we ask the chef to prepare dishes of his own choice.
Being an Italian mother of two young children, I cook a lot. No prepared food has ever been seen in my kitchen. I use only quality ingredients.
When it comes to restaurants, conviviality and atmosphere are important. Hong Kong is the ideal place to discover cuisines from all over the world. When I hang out with friends I prefer casual places with many small tapas-style dishes.
My ideal places are Pirata (29/F and 30/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2887 0270), My House (26/F QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2323 1715) or Mercedes Me (Shop C-D, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2895 7398). Or we choose a private kitchen. Dine-Art Private Kitchen (Flat A, 16/F Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, tel: 2805 8555) is my favourite.
Restaurants that have amazed me include Mott 32 (B/F Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, tel: 2885 8688) with its evening dim sum, and Serge et le Phoque (Shop B2, Tower 1, The Zenith, 3 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, tel: 5465 2000), which delivers French tradition with Asian notes. I appreciate the pigeon and many small appetisers there. The anchovies are a must.
Every Sunday with the children, as tradition, we eat out. If the weather is nice, we go to Cococabana (Shek O Beach Building, Shek O, tel: 2812 2226 ). If we feel like pizza we choose Isola (Shop 3071-3075, IFC mall, 1 Harbour View, Central, tel: 2383 8765). For fish and chips, it’s Bread Street Kitchen (Mezzanine, Hotel LKF, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2230 1800). For tapas, it’s Ham & Sherry (1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2555 0628). And for a beautiful focaccia with mortadella it has to be Sepa (61 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, tel: 2521 9800).
If I fancy Italian food? It is Gia Trattoria (1/F, Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2511 8081) for a family lunch – it’s reassuring and traditional. For an important dinner, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Shop 202, 2/F Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, tel: 2537 8859) and Tosca (102/F ,The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, tel: 2263 2270) are my picks where quality, atmosphere and service are at their very best. But for an Italian dinner with friends I suggest NOM (1-5 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2540 7988).
A must-go place to bring friends from Italy is Din Tai Fung (various locations including 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, tel. 3160 8998), to let them try the excellent xiao long bao, dumplings and wonton.