Hong Kong-based 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, the only Italian restaurant outside Italy to win three Michelin stars has opened its second branch in a sumptuously appointed space in Shanghai’s long-delayed Rockbund development. Known as ‘The King of White Truffles’ and recently anointed Miele Guide’s Chef of Chefs in Asia, the bar is high for chef Umberto Bombana and his dream team.
To head the kitchen, Bombana chose Shanghainese-American chef, Alan Yu, who has worked at Jean Georges in New York and Citronelle in Washington DC. Bombana tells us Yu ‘worked with Richard [of Citronelle], one of my favourites, and Yu has the same ideas and philosophy as me: our cuisine is based on ingredients, and all dishes are created especially to bring out the primary ingredient.’ Sous chef Silvio Armanni was drafted ‘to give our pasta the authentic, genuine consistency that Italian people love,’ says Bombana.
The cuisine hews closely to the original Hong Kong menu, with dishes like trenette pasta with red tuna and bottarga eggs (190RMB) and stewed lobster with sea urchin (430RMB), yet, while prices for main courses are similar, appetisers and pastas are around 20 per cent cheaper here than in Hong Kong. The Shanghai restaurant also foregoes a service charge. Five-course tasting menus in Shanghai are priced at 888RMB or 1,588RMB with wine pairing, compared to 980HKD (796RMB) and 1,530HKD (1,243RMB) plus ten per cent in Hong Kong.
While there’s no Michelin guide in China yet to determine Otto e Mezzo’s ranking in Shanghai, even the city’s most fickle diners, innured to constant openings, will be impressed by this stunning, ambitious new restaurant.Crystyl Mo