Monday, 11 July 2011

Umberto Bombana's Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, just like London, New York and Sydney, has its fair share of restaurateurs who attract loyal followers. Umberto Bombana (originally at Ritz Carlton's Toscana, then The Drawing Room in Causeway Bay) is definitely one. I had the opportunity to check out his relatively new restaurant. Tucked into a corner of the mezzanine floor of an office building in Central, Otto e Mezzo exudes a certain cosmopolitan Milanese chic: discrete entrance, showy celebration of Jamon (yes, even some of the best Roman eateries such as Salumerie Roscioli don't serve prosciutto anymore), and stylish chocolate brown deco.
The poached langoustine tail topped with caviar was delicious with a delicate texture. Con cura, Signore Bombana personally shaved a big lump of black truffle onto his freshly made taglioni in a mushroom sauce.
Some of us ordered the costoletta alla milanese - and it arrived as a whole piece which was then carefully carved into three portions. The eating experience on a whole was delightful. Everything was delicate and carefully prepared. The staff was attentive without being overbearing. So all in all a satisfying experience.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Ozone - the feeling of on top of the world

The Ritz Carlton opened a few weeks ago with a lot of press coverage and fanfare. So I just had to check it out - so I hooked up with a friend for a few drinks and some bar snacks at Ozone.

Having navigated through Elements (shopping mall) to the entrance of the hotel (9th floor), the lift then took me to the opulent hotel lobby on 103th floor. The last time I went above 100th floor anywhere was to go to Window on the World at the World Trade Center in New York: that was a while back. Having been screened by the staff that I was suitably dressed (shirt with sleeves, shoes, trousers), I boarded the lift that took me to Ozone on the 118th floor.

The view was amazing. At that height, I was looking down onto the 88th storey talll IFC across the harbour. The Peninsula looked like a little stump on the waterfront of Kowloon. It was also to see over Magazine Gap onto the south side of Hong Kong Island and beyond - a vista that I have not come across before. Fabulous.

The drink and snack menu at Ozone was respectable. The choice of caviar and oysters was clearly aimed at those with deep pockets (though why would anyone serve European oysters in a month without an 'r'?) The wine list was, as expected, comprehensive. The "by the glass" list was not too bad - somewhat biased towards Italian and Australian. My Ruinart blanc de blanc was delicious. The viognier wasn't bad either.

I sampled a few things. The crab balls (pictured below) were quite delicious. The Granny Smith apple with Jamon Iberico wasn't bad either. The ambiance of the place was slightly strange - an uncomfortable mix between an observation desk and a swanky bar. The dress code certainly helped contain the strays from the streets, but not enough to attract the "right" crowd. It will probably take a while for Ozone to find its place in this Mega Rich City.