[Hong Kong] Octavium - Umberto Bombana's Private Kitchen

Rating: ❤❤❤3/4 (3.75/5)

One of the most mysterious restaurant opening in Hong Kong this year has got to be Octavium - a private kitchen by Chef Umberto Bombana of 3* 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA. The restaurant is being billed as Bombana's laboratory and no telephone number is published (although if you look hard enough, you can find an email address for reservations). Supposedly the restaurant is fully booked until December but I managed to get a booking in for last weekend by emailing them a few weeks ago, so there's still a chance if you want to visit before the end of this year. At the moment, only a 4-course tasting menu at HK$1180 with an optional Italian wine pairing at HK$780 is served at Octavium. 

The service was well thought-out as we were greeted in the lobby of the building before being whisked to the 8/F where the restaurant was located. The venue is modern and sleek, and great for celebrations but the dark lighting poses a challenge for those who wish to take pictures of their food. 

Our 4-course menu for the night. 

Our meal started with a glass of sparkling wine and an amuse bouche of pumpkin mousse as well as a basket of warm homemade olive bread with olive oil.

The first of our appetizer was the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with kobuta eggplant and Italian dressing. It was interesting to use wagyu beef for carpaccio but J thought that some of the pieces were rather rancid and stale. 

The King Crab with oscietra caviar and orange zabaione ($100 supplement) was disappointing as well as the crab wasn't as flavorful as I thought it would be - even the caviar and zabaione did little to save it. I'm not sure that this was worth the extra supplement to be honest. 

The meal instantly redeemed itself with the pasta course though as both of our choices were excellent and the highlight of the night! The "Malloreddus" with traditional pork ragout and castelmagno cheese was packed with flavors and I especially loved the chewy texture of the pasta which resembled a gnocchi. 

The Fettuccine with Sicilian red prawn and chanterelle mushroom was delightful as well as the sauce had an intense prawn flavor that complemented everything here really well. 

The main course turned out to be a mixed bag though as the Veal Sirloin itself lacked flavors but the September white asparagus and baby kale on the side were nicely executed. 

The Roasted "Te Mana" Lamb with 3 styles of artichoke was better though with 3 parts of the lamb each prepared in a different way with various textures and flavors. 

Moving onto desserts, we were served a peach sorbet to cleanse our palate beforehand. 

The desserts were also mixed with the Figs Tart with ricotta gelato and aceto balasamico tradizionale. The figs were not that sweet to begin with so the entire dessert fell flat in terms of flavors. 

The "Grand Cru" Chocolate Souffle with hazelnut gelato was delicious though - even though the texture of the souffle was harder like a cake almost. 

A few tasty petit fours to end the meal. 

Aside from the pasta course, the rest of the meal were lackluster in some way but I guess for the price it's a relatively good value compared to 8 1/2 (although for a "laboratory", the food could have been more creative). The service was impeccable throughout the meal so it was a good dining experience overall. I would definitely come back for the pasta if an a la carte menu will be offered in the future. 

8/F, One Chinachem Central
22 Des Voeux Rd, Central

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