Sunday Brunch @ Domani – this restaurant is now closed :(

The first time I went to Domani, I was a bit worried because I’d not heard wonderful things about dinner here, that it is overpriced and it under-delivers. I never would have gone had we not been invited there for a birthday Weekend Brunch, but what a pleasant surprise!

It is now one of my favorite weekend brunches, for so many of the reasons that matter when considering a lazy weekend meal: the ingredients are simple, fresh, tasty and extravagant (unlimited Boston Lobster anyone?). It is very reasonably priced, at $488 +10%, you can help yourself to their excellent buffet before choosing from their list of tantalizing main courses, and then treat yourself to a little bit of dessert from the buffet. You are also offered free flow prosecco, Duval beer, fresh fruit juices, sparkling or still water, and coffee/tea. Usually, this is where restaurants with buffets such as these hit you with high prices, but here you can not only eat, but also drink everything to your hearts content. The service is excellent, as is the venue: a bright and airy dining room, crisp white linens, and a nice terrace if the weather is fine.

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Fresh foccacia and warm bread rolls

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And a nice ‘n tasty olive oil to dip it in

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We eat silly amounts of meaty, juicy Boston Lobster!

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Carnevino

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If there was ever a time to be impressed with a steak restaurant, then this would be it, my meat-eating friends. The 2nd Hong Kong restaurant-child of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, in conjunction with the ever-expanding Dining Concepts Group (who seem to be aiming for a monopoly on steak in Hong Kong), attention to detail is definitely the motto for this restaurant.

Photo courtesy of sassyhongkong.com

The Interior – photo from sassyhongkong.com

Crisp white linens, leather paneled chairs, beautiful wooden flooring, brass lighting. Everything is quite masculine, yet the decor is welcoming and appealing to all. What impressed me – the Christofle cutlery and engraved Laguiole knives! It really seems as if no expense was spared, and not only was the food rich, but so was the eating experience.

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amuse bouche – butternut squash purée with home-made marshmallows

Before out starters arrived, we were served an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup. It was comforting albeit slightly unsophisticated, and a touch on the sweet side. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it, but one of those in our party didn’t finish it. It wasn’t a good indicator of the meal to come, certainly.

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Scallop Agrumato: Live Scallops with house-made Mandarin Oil HK$178

We started with live scallops with a wonderful citrusy oil, a sophisticated dish that was beautifully presented. I could always do with more scallop though!

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Calamari with Spicy Tomato HK$168

Our waiter that evening was extremely knowledgeable about the menu, and although there was a big discrepancy between some of the staff, many of them looked as if they had been very well trained on the menu, the ingredients and service to a higher level in general. Hats off to Batali/Bastianich for making service a priority, it’s hard to come by in Hong Kong.

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In Pictures – L’Altro


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I’ll first take this opportunity to wish Happy New Year to everybody! May 2013 bring you even more happiness, good fortune, delectable meals and lovely friends to eat them with! It has been some time since my last post, and for a good reason – yes, it was Christmas and then new year, but more than anything else, I have been preoccupied with another type of food. Food for the soul – LOVE. Yes, gooey, icky, sweet and wonderful LOVE. I have gone from having a truly amazing boyfriend, to having a truly amazing fiancé! For the next 10 months, wedding planning is going to be taking up a large part of my life and most of my spare time, and although I am tempted to perhaps have a little hiatus from blogging, I am always eating good food and wanting to write about it. So my posts may be scarce, and a tad shorter than usual – but I can’t give up the other love of my life – food.

As part of the celebration for our engagement, my fiancé (takes a bit of getting used to!) took my parents and myself to a wonderful new Italian restaurant in town. Another in a line of restaurants opened by foreign Michelin-starred & celebrity chefs, L’Altro is headed by Philippe Leveille, a two star Michelin chef of Miramonti l’Altro in Brescia, Italy, who serves Italian food with a French twist and flair.

Diners have the option of ordering à la carte, or from two tasting menus: a 6-course Tasting Menu 1 for $880 (gotta love those numbers, why not just go all the way and make it $888??), and an 8-course Tasting Menu 2 for $1080. When we visited in early December, we also had the option of the White Truffle Tasting Menu, which could be ordered with or without truffles. Now, dare I wonder why they would offer a menu that was built around the truffle with an option to not have it with the main attraction, but my man and my stepdad were more attracted by it – so we ordered two of these menu and two Tasting Menu 2s, and shared.

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We were all served this lovely amuse bouche of fois gras with a sugar/nut croquant and green apple sauce (if I remember correctly) – yum!

White Truffle Tasting Menu

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Cauliflower Cream

Wonderfully creamy, a little on the thicker side, it didn’t exactly pique our interest for the rest of the meal, but it was a nice and light way to start it.

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Potato compote, confit lobster, asparagus olive oil emulsion

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Joia Ristorante Italiano – Elements Mall

Last night we went to watch Looper (if you haven’t gone to see it yet, I highly recommend you do very soon)!! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a tasty one, yet we still needed some real food, and so we made a choice from the dining options in Elements Mall. We usually go to Prime Steak House because we know it’s good, and it’s always the busiest restaurant in Civic Square, which is always a good sign. However, we wanted to try something different this time, and when I asked PB if he fancied Western or Asian f0od, he replied “Something good”.

Well, despite the large number of restaurant choices in Elements Mall, “something good” usually falls in the Asian category – I find the Western options slightly lacking (unless you go to the Ritz Carlton or the W Hotel of course, but that is a different ball game). After a little research, I happily discovered that Joia is part of the Gaia Group (which includes Va Bene, Gaia, Isola etc. ), and Gaia is one of my favorite restaurants. Of course the downside of this choice would be that I would compare Joia to it’s sister restaurant, but considering that the price point is about the same, I assumed it would be an even comparison.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Continue reading

Seeing Stars: 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana

I went to Otto e Mezzo Bombana for the 3rd time this month, the first was for a quick late dinner with PB. We strolled in at 9.45pm with no reservations, and the manager, Mr. A, kindly let us take a seat for the last order at 10.30pm. My mother then made a lunch booking in advance with no one in particular (seeing that reservations are increasingly difficult to get), anticipating that someone would go with her – that someone ended up (gladly) being me! Finally, we went again for Valentine’s Day lunch on Tuesday (with PB, not my mum). Each time was a well-rounded and tasty experience.

Otto e Mezzo opened in January 2010 and was awarded two Michelin stars within two months. Dare I say that this new rating was perhaps not 100% due to 8 1/2’s magnificence on the global Michelin stage, but also due to the relatively new presence of the Michelin Guide in Hong Kong. But The Guide can give, and The Guide can take – what is more notable is that 8 1/2 has not only kept it’s stars, but collected a third in December 2011, making it the only 3 star Italian restaurant outside of Italy. Continue reading