VOLUME XI  No. 186 W E D N E S D A Y September 30, 2009


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









Name of Restaurant Domani
Address of Restaurant Level 4, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hongkong
Date of Visit Thursday, September 24, 2009  

TARGETs  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
Wine --  
          Choice Extensive Limited Unbalanced
          Cost Reasonable Unreasonable Expensive
          Storage of Wine Good Poor Unknown
          Expertise of Sommelier Excellent Acceptable None
Total Cost of Meal    

          Very Expensive

Moderately Expensive       Very Reasonably Priced
Name of General Manager Mr Giovanni Perna
Name of Executive Chef Mr Michele Bernacchia  


After being closed for about a fortnight in order to try to repair the leaking roof, which is only about 10 months old, Domani, the Italian-styled restaurant, located at Level 4, Pacific Place, Admiralty, reopened about 3 weeks ago. 

And, it is quite clear that it, still, has not got its act, completely, together. 

It is expensive and it is not worth the money that it is demanding for its food, in TARGET’s opinion. 

Considering everything, to charge $HK1,078 for a tasting menu (degustazione menu) is way over the top. 

That is about the same price that one would pay for a meal at the most-expensive, fine-dining restaurants in any of the 5-star hotels of the Hongkong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 

One need not even ask the question as to which is the better venue, Domani or any fine-dining restaurant at any of the 5-star hotels of the HKSAR: It is obvious by a cursory glance at Domani. 

The food, served at Domani, is completely out of whack with the reality of the times, as are the prices, being demanded. 

Domani was revisited for the third time on Thursday, September 24, 2009, without a reservation, having been made, and, as luck would have it, TARGET (泰達財經) was shown to exactly the same table that this medium occupied on November 13, 2008, just 5 days after this restaurant was first opened. 

Everything looks, just about, the same, except, unlike the last time that this medium visited Domani, that was on March 23, 2009, there was a plethora of Chinese, Asian and some European chefs in attendance at the open kitchen. 

TARGET ordered the degustazione (tasting) menu and 2 a la carte dishes. 

The degustazione menu comprised:

glass of montenisa franciacorta, antinori, lombardy, italy n.v. 

Combinazione di Tagliatelle di Seppia, Pesto di Alga Nori,
Quinoa Fritta e Crudo di Ricciola in Agretto di Pendolini e Scampi

combination of cuttlefish tagliatella, nori seaweed pesto, fried quinoa, amberjack carpaccio, cherry tomato essence and scampi


Acqua di Pomodoro, Capesante, Gamberi, Insalatina,
Germogli e Frutta, Sale Nero

tomato jelly, scallops, prawns, sprouts, salad, fruit and black salt


glass of blangé langhe arneis, ceretto, piedmont, italy 2007


Albanella di Crostacei e Molluschi

marche style mixed seafood chowder,
steamed and served in a traditional glass jar


Strigoli al Nero di Seppia, Seppia, Parmigiano e Basilico

black ink strigoli, squid, parmesan cheese and basil


^ ^ ^


glass of whispering angel,
château d’esclans, provence, france 2007


Rombo, Caponata di Melanzane,
Sabbia di Pinoli e Aria di Basilico

turbot, eggplant and tomato ‘caponata’,
pine nut sand, basil air


glass of chianti classico, fontodi, tuscany, italy 2006


Filetto di Manzo e Guanciale,
Salsa di Lacrima ‘Conti di Buscareto’ e all’ Aglio,
Patate Arrostite, Olive Taggiasche e Peperoni

grain fed australian beef tenderloin wrapped in ‘guanciale’ ham,
red wine and garlic sauce, roast potatoes,
‘taggiasche’ olives, red bell peppers


^ ^ ^


Ciocco & Cocco

hot chocolate & frozen coconut


Caffé e Pasticceria

coffee or tea and cuddles


Selection without wine                                              980 per person

Selection with three glasses of wine             1280 per person

+10% service charge

(TARGET did not taste the wines that were offered as accompaniments to the dishes.) 

The a la carte dishes were: 

Quail Breast, Wrapped in Crispy Guanciale Ham,
Steamed Wild Rice,
Parmesan Cheese Cream 

Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli,
Fresh Tomatoes, Pecorino Cheese

The Dinner 

A bread basket was presented on the table, shortly after being seated, but the bread was stale.  

This could happen at any restaurant, of course, because, after bread has been warmed in the microwave or under a warming light for a period of time, it tends to dry out. 

But this matter was a little consequence and was fluffed off as having been unfortunate. 

The Quail Breast of the a la carte menu was served first and, it was, really, very good. 

At this point in the meal, it appeared that there had been a radical change in the quality and presentation of the food, served at this restaurant. 

The quail was a little heavy on the cheese, but that is the way that the cook likes it, one supposes, so one cannot criticise that aspect of the dish. 

Everything about this dish suggested that a great deal of thought had gone into its creation and preparation. 

It was the one outstanding dish of the entire meal, as it turned out. 

Next came the Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli from the a la carte menu, which coincided with the arrival of the fourth course of the degustazione menu – black ink strigoli, squid, parmesan cheese and basil. 

This was fortunate because it permitted this medium to compare the 2 pasta dishes, side by side. 

There was, absolutely, nothing wrong with the Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli, but, at the same time, there was little to recommend it. 

The Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli and the black ink strigoli looked very much alike except, of course, one was black and one was a pale cream colour. 

The Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli, at $HK160 a pop, was very expensive, all things considered. 

As for the fourth course of the degustazione menu, it, like the Homemade Vegetarian Passatelli, was quite edible, but, once the dish had been cleared away, one had, completely, forgotten about it. 

Moving back a little to the seafood chowder in a traditional glass jar, this was, exactly, the same dish that was served when Domani first opened its doors on November 8, 2008. 

The meat dish of the degustazione menu, the Australian beef, it was here that the penny dropped – because this dish was a complete disaster. 

The beef was without any flavour, at all and, to top it off, the texture of the meat was powdery. 

The reason for this was that, as any decent cook will tell you, when the meat is likely to be tough, use baking soda as an instant tenderiser. 

For the end cut of a tenderloin, which is, more than likely, to be among the toughest part of the curve of the ribs at the backbone, using baking soda and, then, having the meat, heavily permeated with a strong-tasting sauce, tends to camouflage the actions of the kitchen. 

Unfortunately for Domani, TARGET knows this trick, too. 

The dish was sent packing with the statement: ‘I just wanted to try Australian beef again – and, now, I know that I do not like it.’ 

Australian beef can never be compared with Kansas (USA) beef, of course, but Australian beef, loaded with baking soda, compares with nothing; and, no matter what a kitchen may try to do to cover up its ‘felony’, it is, still, just muck. 

There is no reason to make mention of the dessert – anyway, Italians are known for their desserts – but it was interesting that TARGET was not offered tea or coffee, which was, supposed to be part of the degustazione menu. 

Probably, in view of the fact that this medium was only tasting the food and not, really, digging in, so to speak, the word must have spread – and Management was only too glad to see TARGET’s duo leave the premises.  

All in all, the restaurant is, still, very much a failure no matter how much money is spent on Public Relations handouts, write-ups, and all the houp-la in the world. 

The Restaurant 

For the most part, the serving team at Domani is new. 

However, still many, if not most, of the serving staff have not been trained to tell guests about the dishes in full. 

It is likely, of course, that the new Restaurant Manager, Mr Giovanni Perna, was in a hurry to get cracking with the newly repaired roof and to reopen Domani as quickly as possible in order to bring in the shekels since time, as we all know, is money. 

On the day of TARGET’s visit, this medium counted about 70 guests, many of whom were staying at the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant. 

The presentation of most of the dishes was good, the quantity of the dishes was adequate, but the taste, as already stated, left a lot to be desired. 

When Domani first opened its doors, the modus operandi was similar to that which TARGET observed, last Thursday. 

With Europeans, teaching some Chinese and Asian apprentice cooks, the only question is: How long will the experienced Europeans stay in the open kitchen? 

Once the European cooks leave, the quality of the food will deteriorate, even further. 

As it is, the food is not that great today, anyway. 

The purpose-built, free-standing restaurant, which houses Domani, today, was constructed by the Swire Group of Companies and the building remains Swire’s property. 

The restaurant, itself, is managed by DIR Company Ltd, whose office is located at IUKI Tower in Wanchai. 

DIR Company Ltd is owned by:

Mr James Vincent Robertson One percent
EL Grande Holdings Ltd 43 percent
Golden Financial Management Incorporated 11 percent
Conti Di Buscareto S.R.L. 2 percent
WebeTech S.R.L. 26 percent
Crabapple Holdings Ltd 10 percent
Greater Heights Incorporated 5 percent
Mr Christopher Vincent Walker 2 percent

Since the opening of Domani, it has been a loss-maker and, in terms of the Swire Group of Companies, it must be more than a bit of an embarrassment since The Swire Group of Companies, no doubt, had hoped for a money-spinner not a money loser. 

The building must have cost tens of millions of dollars to plan and to construct and the return on the investment must have been zilch, up to today – 10 months from the opening of Domani. 

The way that things stand, there is unlikely, ever, to be a return on this investment.






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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