There are good
Italian restaurants in the Hongkong Special Administrative
Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and there
are very bad ones.
there are more bad ones than there are good ones.
And, then, one
has the latest additions to Italian cuisine in the HKSAR, which
are in a class of their own.
visited the latest addition to Italian restaurants in the 416
square miles that constitute the HKSAR on Monday, March 23,
It is named
Osteria and it is located in the space that used to be the
former coffee shop of Holiday Inn Golden Mile at Tsimshatsui.
Cutting to the
quick, on the day that this medium sampled the food at this
outlet it, was, in 2 words, unbelievably bad.
The food, for
the most part, was, in fact, almost inedible.
enough, the food, served at Domani, today, also a purported,
Italian-styled restaurant, located at Pacific Place, has gone
the same route as Osteria.
Domani, later on in this review)
From the open
kitchen of Osteria, encased in glass, one saw a European cook –
TARGET suspects that he was the lone Italian chef of this
eatery – yelling at the Chinese cooking staff about something or
was not happy about something.
This was that
which this medium ordered from the Set Lunch on the day of this
zucca con briciole di amaretti
Pumpkin soup with amaretto crumbles
ripieni di mortadella e spinaci
Baby squid with mortadella and spinach
frutti di mare
Le meringhe morbide con la salsa al cioccolato
Floating meringue with chocolate sauce
Three courses $ 188
the Buffet Antipasti, its looks were equal to its taste –
There were 10
choices on the buffet table, including, believe it or not, some
cold, hash-brown potatoes that had stuck to the serving plate so
that one had to chisel the stuff free off the plate if one was
sufficiently brave to sample the mush.
TARGET’s waiter informed this medium as to what it was
supposed to be, it would have been quite impossible to know of
the origin of the grey, chunky matter.
There was some
Mozzarella Cheese on one platter, the taste of which was,
completely, insipid and resembled rubber rather than cheese.
One had to
speculate how that feat could have been accomplished, but
Management of Holiday Inn Golden Mile must get the credit for
this questionable success.
Suffice it to
say, very little of the first course was eaten.
Soup tasted as though it had come straight out of tin to which
some granules of sugar had been added.
It, too, like
the appetizer course, was impossible to consume.
courses, a pizza and the baby squid, were edible, but only
squid, which had been stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach,
is a traditional Italian dish and was tasty.
the squid, which had been served on a cold plate, there were
some semi-raw pieces of broccoli, all of which had come straight
out of the refrigerator so that the warm quid had become
somewhat cold while the cold broccoli had become a little warm.
The pizza was
of the American variety, with plenty of cheese so that one could
hardly taste the frozen seafood on top of it.
There was a
generous layer of tomato paste on the pastry shell so that
American tourist, no doubt, could recognise that this was an
However, to be
very fair, the pizza shell, which had been freshly made in the
kitchen, had been cooked – which was a saving grace, one could
The desert was
another horrible error.
interesting, but that was as far as one could go.
sauce was too thin to have any flavour at all (saving money?).
of Osteria is in accordance with the quality of the food, dished
up at this outlet: Bereft of any saving grace, at all.
The windows of
the restaurant have been boarded up with red bricks and, then, a
glass partition separates the brick wall from the dining area.
There are no
soft furnishings, at all, so that, when the 90-seater restaurant
is just one quarter full, one can hardly talk to one’s neighbour
because of the din and clatter and the horrible jazz music,
polluting the open spaces.
One final word
about this restaurant, the tables measure 2 feet by 3 feet so
that ladies have no place to put their handbags and, if one
orders too much food – which is highly unlikely for
discriminating people – one would be hard-pressed to find
sufficient space for the dishes.
On the same
day of the visit to Holiday Inn Golden Mile, having not eaten
very much at ‘Hysteria’, TARGET decided to have a
return visit to Domani at Pacific Place in order to eat dinner.
The first time
that this medium visited this restaurant was on Thursday,
November 13, 2008, just 5 days after it had opened for
review of this restaurant was very positive, but TARGET,
also, stated, in its review, that it would be interesting to
learn how the restaurant fared in the succeeding 6 months.
European chefs have all disappeared, it seems, and, in their
wake, there are some Chinese, quick-order cooks who are messing
about in the open kitchen, trying to follow the recipes, left
behind by the departed chefs.
Osteria, the food at Domani is, today, terrible.
It is, indeed,
difficult to know which of the 2 restaurants was the better of
what is, surely, some of the HKSAR’s worst examples of
Italian-styled cuisine in the territory.
The waiters at
Domani did not even know the difference between one dish and
another, mistaking one for the other, in point of fact.
manageress, on realising that something was terribly wrong, came
over and explained that some of the ‘special’ from the
luncheon menu was still available so that the meat could be
ground up in order to make a kind of Spaghetti Bolognese.
ordered, more as a joke than anything else, because TARGET’s
waiter thought that Spaghetti Bolognese was the same as
It was a
horrible error to order the leftovers, ground up to resemble
Spaghetti Bolognese: It was the worst of the worst.
Intelligence Report, Volume X, Number 223, at Page 10, this
reviewer ended the report on Domani as follows:
‘A great deal of thought has
gone into this restaurant and one notes that there were 5
European cooks, teaching Chinese assistants how to do this and
‘It seems quite likely that,
after a while, some or all of these Europeans will vanish from
the scene, leaving the Chinese to dish up the food.
‘For the time being, however,
the Chinese are the students of the Europeans who appear to be
teaching formula cooking.
‘And this, in TARGET’s
opinion, is a mistake because it may well detract from
creativity in the future.
‘Domani is not a fusion
restaurant, at least, not at this time, but it could become such
an ‘animal’ if some of TARGET’s fears become a reality.’
TARGET’s fears have been realised – sadly.
There are no
chefs at Domani, at all, and there is nobody, supervising the
hash-house, with some Chinese people, trying to pretend to be
General Manager, Mr Danilo Niolcetti, was not present on the day
of TARGET’s visit although he did make a 5-minute
appearance at about 7:30 p.m. before he shot off for some other
will not even try to describe the rubbish food at this
restaurant, but sum it up by a passing remark to the Manageress
who, on the way out of the door, said ‘I know you did not
like the food’ to which TARGET responded: ‘It is
the worst example of Italian food that has ever graced a table.’
will, never, return to Domani and, probably, Management of this
eatery will be happy to read this last sentence.
have been warned!!!