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Mar 15, 2013 09:16 AM

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo - An Underwhelming Michelin 3* Experience!

Since my foodie friend and I were told, through regular channel, that the 3* restaurant - 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo was fully booked for the next month. We decided to try our luck instead by 'walking in' at a late hour on a week day! To our surprise, we were seated at 9.45 pm yesterday evening!!

Being pretty late, instead of a full blown tasting menu, we decided to go 'a la carte' instead.

Our meal include sharing the following:

Amuse Bouche of Cured Salmon with Salmon Tartar mousse layer.

8 1/2 Seafood Soup - Shellfish, Zucchini "Trombetta" and Fresh Herbs

Marinated Beef Tenderloin - on Carpaccio of Vegetables and Crispy Parmesan

Spaghetti with Seaffod Ragout and Sea Urchin

Tajima Beef Tongue & Beef Cheek - Braised in Red Wine with Blackberry and Spices Compote

Persimmons Sorbet Tube with Strawberries and berrioes compote

This Michelin 3* Italian Restaurant must have one of the most simplistic food plating and presentation of all the 3*s I have eaten in, worldwide! However, what was lacking in visual appeal, they did try to make it up in most of the food!

A few examples included;

The Seafood Soup, which was very tasty with perfectly timed and executed seafood. However, for that price, I was expecting more than just one thin slice of scallops, lobster and white fish.

The Pasta dish was tasty. But when they said 'Sea Urchin' on the menu, they really meant it!! They just give you one piece!! How stingy! BTW, New York's 2* Marea offers a similar one but IMO tasted better and costs less!

The Beef Carpaccio was soooo ordinary in presentation and taste, I was surprised it was featured in a 3* menu.

The Tajima Tongue & Cheek was definitely the high light of the evening!! Fork tender and coated with such deep coloured wine reduction. The taste was equally impressive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about those whipped potatoes!! If that was a Michelin 3* effort, then L'Atelier Robuchon's potato must be awarded at least 6*s !!! The veggies was perfectly cooked though.

Plate presentation for the dessert finally gets a thumbs up. Unfortunately, the taste was rather one dimensional! No matter how many pieces of Gold leaves they put on the dessert, I doubt they would change the opinion on how dull tasting that dessert was.

IMHO. the meal I had at the 1* L'Altro was much more impressive! ( review and photos coming )

Well! You win some, you lose some!!

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  1. Is it just me or are the serves larger than they look?

    2 Replies
    1. re: mikey8811

      Portions were actually quite small!!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        On my last trip to HK, the final meal choice was between Otto e Mezzo and Above & Beyond. I am so glad I went to the latter. The lone sliver of sea urchin and the tiny serves would have meant an unsatisfying meal, especially at their prices.

    2. Was the fat man in the room? I've noticed that when the fat man isn't cooking that day, it is a noticeably inferior restaurant. I know it isn't supposed to be that way, but I've found that to be the case.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        I actually had a 'photo ops' with him!!

      2. I think you see why I am always reluctant to agree with posters who recommend this as the best Italian in HK. I don't dislike the place, and have enjoyed some simple dishes there, but it never really struck me as great enough to warrant it's multi-starred status (and multi star price point).

        At the moment my favourite is Giando, but I am keen to try the new Il Milione which is in a sort of soft opening, with a great bar specialising in Negoni's.

        The other interesting development is that Umberto Bombana (of Otto & Mezzo) planning to open a vast casual italian restaurant on the site of the old ThreeSixty supermarket in the Landmark.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PhilD

          PhilD, have you been to Messina in Hung Hom? Would be interested to hear your view. I thought it was the best Italian I've had in Hong Kong, but we were there as guests of The Chairman, so that may have made a difference. Haven't been, so it may have gone downhill, the location is a real bear.