Otto e Mezzo (eight and a half) is an Italian restaurant in Hong Kong. Its chef, Umberto Bombana, ran the kitchen of Toscana at the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong from June 1993, before briefly running his own place Aspasia in 2008 and then cooking at The Drawing Room of the JIA hotel. From Bergamo originally, he trained at the famous Milan restaurant Antica Osteria del Ponte before moving to the USA in 1983. Otto e Mezzo, named after the classic Fellini film, opened in 2010. It is situated in the second floor of a shopping mall in central Hong Kong.
The room is simple but attractive, with good natural light coming in from one side, and well spaced, generously sized tables. The 26 page wine list has good coverage of Italy and France. Example wines were the pleasant Planeta Chardonnay 2009 at HK$690 for a wine that retails at HK$247, Jermann Dreams 2008 at HK$980 for a wine you can buy in a shop for HK$538 (though this wine turned out to be unavailable) up to grander wines like Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barola 1997 at HK$12,000 for a wine that will set you back HK$4,349 to buy in a shop.
Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen and included decent grissini, pleasant if fractionally oily tomato foccacia and black olive bread with light texture (5/10). A lobster salad with ham had lobster that was quite tender, though uninspiring artichokes, and rather ordinary leaves and dressing (maybe 5/10). Better was fettuccine with Parmesan and black truffles (in this case from Tasmania). The pasta was made from scratch in the kitchen and had very good texture, the Parmesan and truffles making this a pleasingly comforting dish (7/10). The restaurant seems good at pasta, as a pasta ragout that I also tasted was of a similar level.
Iberico pork had good pork belly but slightly dry loin, served with rather soggy figs though with a pleasant and quite rich red wine sauce (5/10). For dessert, a crisp pear tart was very good, the puff pastry made in the kitchen rather than bought, and very light, the pears perhaps lacking a little in flavour (7/10). However a peach dessert my dining companion ate that I tasted had a hard, over-sharp peach, which was rather worrying.
Service was very good, the dishes arriving at a steady pace, and topping up was nicely handled. The bill came to HK$1,646 (£135) per person for lunch, but this was ordering from the a la carte, and included decent wine and mineral water. Overall, this was pleasant Italian food, but the Michelin three star rating it gained in 2012 is, to be frank, laughable. In Italy, or even in London, cooking of this level would receive one star, and is another example of the truly bizarre ratings given by the Michelin Hong Kong inspectors. If an aspiring one or two star chef from Italy came here he or she would weep. This is not the fault of the restaurant itself, which is a perfectly pleasant, very competent Italian restaurant.