First impressions of Operetta, Dan Ryan’s replacement in Pacific Place

Delicious Italian food, cooked and presented beautifully in sophisticated surroundings, but portions seem small for the price

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 12:02pm

Fans of Dan Ryan’s were sad to see the branch in Pacific Place close a few months ago. In its place is Operetta. Gone are the nachos, hamburgers and toy train, replaced by duck foie gras, grilled Mediterranean red prawns, and lamb cutlets, served in a sophisticated, Italian-style restaurant whose fare will make a dent in your wallet.

The restaurant area is just a small part of the original space, which has been divided into sections, with a lounge and bar in front and dining in the back, in an industrial but elegant setting with lots of polished metal and mirrors.

The menu is designed in sections that include “hot bites”, “not to be missed” and “land and air”, which can make it difficult to order because it’s not clear which dishes are small plates and which are the larger ones.

We decided to try the lamb shoulder pastilla (HK$100), thinking it would be a large portion, but turned out to be two small rectangular-shaped packages. They were absolutely delicious, but were gone in two bites. The lamb had a crisp exterior, and flavourful and tender meat, while the eggplant purée added another dimension. But it seemed expensive for the size.

Our next dish was veal Milanese (HK$290), two larger pieces of fried tender veal. We enjoyed this dish, but again, it seemed to be on the small side.

A definite highlight is the bone marrow (HK$190), which came hot out of the oven. Dressed with sautéed spinach and confit shallots, the marrow oozed out of the bone, and we mopped it up with bread.

At this point we were concerned we didn’t order enough food because of the small portions, but the pot of mac & cheese (HK$75) definitely filled us up. It was small but rich, thanks to the taleggio and parmesan cheeses that generously coated the pasta, and was topped with finely chopped pancetta.

For dessert, our server recommended we try the lava cheese tart (HK$100). The light tart was garnished with raspberries and blueberries.

We also tried the vanilla panna cotta (HK$90), a colourful sculptured dessert decorated with raspberry sponge, strawberry shiso jelly, and lime marshmallows, which added extra flavours and textures to the smooth panna cotta.

The cocktails here are worth trying, such as the fragrant Invito a Cena, and easy drinking Venice 1948.

Operetta, Shop 112, 1/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2115 8080