First Impressions “Osteria” means tavern in Italian, but Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hongkong’s newest dining outlet of the same name has avoided adopting any features associated with the stereotype such as rough wooden trestle tables, flickering tapers and noisy patrons. This modern version boasts sleek seating set against a harlequin floor and persimmon walls – lined with black and white images of the Old Country – pin lighting that’s not too harsh on the eyes and an open kitchen by the entrance, cleverly setting the tone for a lively gastronomic journey.
The food Head chef Michele Camolei, a veteran of Michelin-rated restaurants in Tokyo, hails from La Spezia in the Ligurian region of northern Italy, and hence, the reason for one of the star dishes: Liguria-style Octopus Salad with Green Beans, Potatoes and Basil. But Camolei’s repertoire also extends to various parts of his home country, and always with an effort to remain true to tradition.
For appetiser, we were encouraged not only to try the octopus salad but the Neopolitan Fried Rice Balls with Meat sauce and Mozzarella – a pairing we may not opt for on our next visit as it proved very filling. The Minestrone alla Genovese came as a surprise, with us so used to the tomato-based type, and this was pesto flavoured. As the bowl arrived piping hot, we stirred the soup, watching the vegetables swirl and sniffing the heady aroma of well blended ingredients.
Our mains consisted of a slender Veal Scaloppini, which we seem to eternally gravitate to in any Italian restaurant, and the Baked Sea Bream in Salt and Thyme (left) crust skilfully deboned tableside by the waitstaff in a matter of minutes.
The Good, The Ugly and The Bad, a sweet riff on Sergio Leone’s cult western, brought the meal to rich end with three not-so-bite-size desserts.
Drinks Over 150 kinds of wines are stocked in Osteria’s cellar.
Service The team is knowledgeable about menu selections and quick to clear up – need you ask for more?
Price A three-course appetiser-buffet meal at US$24 is available.
Verdict A repeat visit is planned. The sea bream just melted in the mouth.
Contact Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hongkong, 50 Nathan Road, Tsimshatsui, tel 852 2369 3111. Open Monday to Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 10pm.
Margie T Logarta