Diner’s Diary

Truffles, porcini, gnocchi, lobster – we try some autumn specials at Hong Kong restaurants

You know the mushrooms are good when they overshadow the lobster they’re served with

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 4:07pm

Some of Hong Kong’s top restaurants have begun giving we media folk sneak previews of their autumn menus (lucky us). Here’s a sample of what we’ve seen so far.

Three-Michelin-star 8½ Otto e Mezzo in the Landmark Alexandra, in Central, continues to sparkle, with some delectable seasonal dishes to look forward to.

A few months back we talked to Daniele Oberto, an artisanal butcher who exports Fassonebeef from Piedmont, Italy. Fassone is a breed of cattle unique to that region, and the animals are grass-fed. At 8½ Otto e Mezzo, chef Umberto Bombana cuts this surprisingly tender premium beef into small cubes, which he covers in thin shavings of black winter truffle.

He also serves a warm lobster salad, in which it is not the crustacean that’s the star but the raw and pan-fried porcini mushrooms. We also savoured hearty home-made pasta called cavatelli that soaks up the tomato-based shellfish and sea urchin ragout with which it is served.

For mains, the baby lamb from Aveyron in southern France was very tender and juicy, and came served with herbs, black olives, barley and vegetables.

Over at the Four Seasons Hong Kong, new executive chef Andrea Accordi makes some of the best gnocchi in town. Diners can sample them as part of promotional dinner menu from September 16-24 in The Lounge. A set lunch menu will be available from September 17-24.

His potato and basil gnocchi are light and fluffy because he uses old Italian potatoes that are starchy and adds as little flour as possible. The gnocchi are served with Breton lobster and cauliflower puree.

Another standout is an appetiser of cedar-wood-grilled scallops with borlotti bean foam, black figs and anise, while the roasted branzino (European sea bass) comes with artichokes prepared in various ways.

Save room for the cioccolato amedi, an indulgent pure cocoa butter chocolate with liquorice, hazelnut and sambuca ice cream.

Across the harbour at Sabatini Ristorante Italiano in The Royal Garden, diners can sample some of the Italian fine dining restaurant’s well-known dishes in its Signature Set Dinner, available until September 30. The meal starts with beef carpaccio with black truffle, arugula leaves and Parmesan shavings, followed by a choice of pasta or risotto.

We ordered the spaghetti alle vongole, featuring large plump clams in the shell and pasta seasoned with minced garlic and Italian parsley. The linguine with red prawns is a favourite too.

For mains, the Tasmania ocean trout is a lighter option, though the baked Boston lobster, a dish created by Sabatini co-founder Francesco Sabatini, is a popular choice. Osso bucco is a meatier option, and there is US rib-eye steak too.

Desserts are a must here, and the Grand Marnier soufflé is a winner, along with the St Honore cake, and tiramisu (of course).

8½ Otto e Mezzo, Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central. Tel: 2537 8859

The Lounge, G/F, The Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central. Tel: 3196 8820

Sabatini Ristorante Italiano, 3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East. Tel: 2733 2000