For years, chef Umberto Bombana ruled the kitchens of Toscana at The Ritz-Carlton, gaining legions of fans who would later rhapsodise about his truffle-heavy dishes, the comforting rusticity of his Italian cooking, and his hospitality. The closure of the hotel in Central in 2008 left punters wanting, though it was only a few short months before Bombana returned to the culinary scene as co-owner of Aspasia and, later, The Drawing Room at the JIA boutique hotel. In January 2010, he opened 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana – named after Federico Fellini's 1963 biographical movie classic – just two steps away from the old The Ritz Carlton site. Today, 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana is the first and only three-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant outside of Italy since 2012.
Tucked away in Alexandra House, overlooking Chater Road, the room is comfortably yet elegantly presented in an earthy palette of deep sepias, bronze and cream. C-shaped booths in the corners provide excellent vantage points to survey the beautiful people, and the sleek waiting staff operate like clockwork.
Quality ingredients are at the forefront of chef Bombana's cooking, which comes in an ala-carte menu for both lunch and dinner and a degustation lunch 8 ½ and dinner 8 ½ that changes depending on seasonal produce available on the market.
Complementing the delectable dishes is an excellent selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Guests can choose from an extensive selection of wines, a large portion of which comes from Italian producers. The cocktail menu, chock-full of Italian aperitivo, is also worth a sip. Overall, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana continues the legacy of fine Italian dining in Hong Kong.