Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Osteria Marzia in Wan Chai – Italian seafood dishes impress with freshness and flavour

The unexpected winning main course of tuna maremma was beautifully cooked while also fatty and soft, with other notable dishes including the raw red prawns and fried baby squid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 December, 2017, 12:32pm

Osteria Marzia had me at “Hello”. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. The waiter said hello, then put down a colourful plate of excellent grilled bread and – here’s where I got all hot and bothered – a small dish holding butter and a pile of anchovy fillets in olive oil.

Warm bread slathered in butter and topped with anchovies is a match made in heaven, and I had to stop myself from eating too much or else I wouldn’t have had the stomach space for my meal.

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The restaurant occupies a large space in The Fleming hotel in Wan Chai. It’s airy and comfortable, with double-height ceilings, a large bar near the entrance, and a brief menu that consists almost solely of raw and cooked seafood dishes from the Italian coastline.

I started with raw red prawns (HK$248): large, meaty specimens with the heads still on served on crushed ice. They were fantastically fresh, with sweet meat that was enhanced by their light dusting of Sorrento lemon zest, and heads that were full of delicious juices.

The fried baby squid (HK$188) to follow were tender and had a delicate, almost greaseless coating.

My bucatini with sardines, fennel and saffron (HK$188) was let down slightly by the pasta which was overcooked, although I liked the flavour (even though I couldn’t detect the saffron). Much better was the chitarra with Boston lobster (HK$248) which had nice chunks of the crustacean and chopped tomatoes.

The winning main course was unexpected – my guest’s tuna maremma (HK$388). Cooked tuna is rarely as good as raw tuna because if overcooked, the fish is dry and mealy. This was the best cooked tuna dish I’ve tasted: it was rare at the centre and, being a prime piece of tuna belly, was wonderfully fatty and soft.

For dessert, the crostata di frutta (HK$118) was topped with Australian apricots and had a moist filling with light, crumbly pastry.

A refreshing white peach granita (HK$78) came with a generous selection of fruit, including grapes, strawberries and super sweet blackberries.

Osteria Marzia, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3607 2253. About HK$575 per person without drinks or the service charge.

While you’re in the area:

Restaurant review: Zither Garden in Wan Chai – tasty Chinese fare that did not disappoint

Restaurant review: La Piola in Wan Chai – Italian dishes are a mixed bag of hits and misses

Restaurant review: Loyal Dining, Wan Chai – delicious nostalgia trip if you like Western food cooked Hong Kong style