VOLUME  IX  No. 32 W E D N E S D A Y February 14, 2007


Dining and Wining ...
Where To Go ...
Where Not To Go







Name of Restaurant Sabatini, The Royal Garden Hotel
Address of Restaurant Number 69, Mody Road, Kowloon, Hongkong
Date of Visit Wednesday, February 7, 2007  

TARGET’s Rating

    First Impression Excellent Acceptable Poor
    Attentiveness to Customers’ Needs Excellent Acceptable Poor
    Flexibility Excellent Acceptable Poor
    Product Expertise of Serving Staff Excellent Acceptable Poor
    Speed of Service Excellent Acceptable Poor
    Cleanliness of Uniform and Serving Staff Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Lighting Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Music Excellent Acceptable Poor
          General Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Presentation Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Taste Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Quantity Excellent Acceptable Poor
          Choice Extensive Limited Unbalanced
          Cost Reasonable Unreasonable Very Expensive
          Storage of Wine Good Poor Plastic Cork*
          Expertise of Sommelier -- None Excellent Acceptable Poor
                                                                     * See remarks
Total Cost of Meal    
          Very Expensive Moderately Expensive Very Reasonably Priced
Name of Director of Food and Beverage        Mr Johnny Lai  
Name of Executive Chef        Mr Billy Lee  

After an absence of some years, this reviewer returned to Sabatini – to discover a marked improvement. 

This 88-seater restaurant, now 15 years old, looks very much as it did when it first opened in 1992, but there have been material improvements in its cuisine, in TARGET’s opinion. 

But it, still, can’t make a decent lasagna! 

On the evening that TARGET’s duo turned up at 6:30 pm, there was nobody else in the restaurant, but it started to fill in the next 45 minutes to the accompaniment of 2 guitarists and one bass player. 

This was the menu that was ordered:

Straciatella alla Romana
(A double-boiled beef consommé with
egg cliffons and Parmesan cheese)  

Ossobuco di bitello in Gremolata
(Slow braised veal shank “Gremolata” style)

Timballo di lasasgna alla Bolognese
(The Grandmother’s lasagna “Bologna Style”)

Galletto marinate al limone
Corn aglio e timo groccanti

(Grilled free-range baby chicken
with thyme lemon and roasted garlic)


With the meal, TARGET ordered a bottle of wine from Tuscany:

Poggio, Vintage 2004 $HK530

The wine was a terrible mistake. 

From the moment that the waiter started to pull the cork on this bottle of wine, warning bells were ringing in this reviewer brain because it was noted that a orange plastic cork was being extruded from the bottle. 

A pink plastic cork for Italian wine is not, exactly, normal – and neither was this wine.  

The taste was decidedly dry and acidic and left a somewhat bitter aftertaste in one’s mouth.  

Being produced from a mixture of the must from the grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot, this reviewer had high hopes for this wine. 

It was not to be. 

Even at $HK10 per bottle, this wine is badly overpriced. 

Disregarding the Poggio, Vintage 2004, and continuing with the food, seeing that this restaurant continues to import huge legs of smoked pork – Parma Ham – TARGET thought that, along with a juicy piece of cantaloupe, it would be pleasant to try it once more. 

It is as good as ever and our waiter supplied it, gratis, as a taster. 

A nice touch. 

The Straciatella alla Romana was excellent and it was served piping hot as any soup should be served. 

This soup was served after another waiter, originally, served a vegetable soup by mistake! 

No questions were asked and the mistake was corrected. 

As for the lasagna, it was, simply put, ‘mashed potatoes’

What this restaurant seems to be doing, in order to be able to give quick service, is to pre-cook the lasagna and put it into casserole dish, complete with a kind of sauce on the outer edges of the dish. 

Then, when a customer orders it, it is re-cooked (probably in a microwave oven) and, in TARGET’s case, it was badly overcooked. 

Result: Mashed potatoes with a lot of starch. 

Also, the lasagna lacked any depth of flavour: There was no hint of any red wine, having been used in the cooking process, anywhere. 

The person responsible for this cock-up, TARGET discovered, is the restaurant’s sous chef, Mr Cheung Kam Kuen. 

As for the main courses – the chicken and the ossobuco – they were both really excellent, but the chicken had the edge, in this reviewer’s opinion, because, even if thyme had not been used to flavour the young, free-range chicken, it, still, would have been extremely tasty. 

Once again, it was noted that the main courses were served hot, unlike the last time that TARGET had entered this restaurant. 

For dessert, taken from the temptation wagon, TARGET ordered Dolce St Honore and Green Tea and White Chocolate Cake. 

TARGET subscribers are advised not to go for the dessert trolley because (a) it is terribly fattening (b) it is much too good to eat just one portion and (c) there is just too much variety: One’s resistance is lowered, almost immediately, on viewing the desserts. 

Stick to grapes and fresh fruit if one is on a diet. 

Better yet, if one is on a diet, don’t go to Sabatini. 

If one compares Sabatini with Angelini, the Italian food outlet of the Kowloon Shangri-La Hongkong, the restaurants, being located within spitting distances of each other, then, the choice is, plainly, Sabatini. 

The ambiance, the service, the quality of the cuisine, the preparation and the presentation of dishes at Sabatini has it all over that of Angelini. 

Sabatini has been around since 1992; Angelini is unlikely to last 2 summers of discontent at the rate that it is going.





While TARGET makes every attempt to ensure accuracy of all data published, 
TARGET cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions.




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