The ego has landed – but the flavours haven't
T8s can often bring out the worst in Hongkongers. Evidently they can also bring out the worst in customer service – we make a reservation at Ee Da Le (and leave our number) for the evening of what ends up being this year’s first major typhoon, but arrive at Harlan Goldstein’s new dining room, before the signal is hoisted to find an empty restaurant with the lights off. No callback to notify us. Not the best start.
We return when the restaurant’s doors reopen and, ironically, find that the service is probably the best part of the Ee Da Le experience as the staff are friendly and attentive. The first of Goldstein’s highly ambitious, highly bankrolled four-restaurant concept on Lyndhurst, this eatery serves classic Italian dishes in a setting that features warm colours and opera skirt-inspired hanging ceiling lamps.
Goldstein, who immodestly proclaims himself ‘Hong Kong’s only celebrity chef’, is known for his big flavours. Unfortunately, none of these are on show over the course of a bland and, at times, confusing meal. The signature meatballs ($108 for three) are cooked well but the meat is flavourless and the sauce is thin and uninspiring. A four-cheese risotto ($188) is topped with a perfectly done slow-poached egg, but this dish manages to be both too heavy and bland, plus the carb is undercooked. Likewise, the criminally overpriced disaster that is Mama Chu’s Signature Linguine ($488) features underdone pasta alongside a thin, underseasoned sauce and overcooked red prawns. The latter element is all the more disappointing as the quality of the crustacean itself is excellent. That the tiramisu ($75) is a texture-packed highlight only magnifies the rest of the menu’s deficiencies.
Value and cost are often mutually exclusive. We don’t mind paying $1,000 a head without alcohol when a meal is worth it. But this isn’t. Maybe we should have taken the hint when nobody was home the first time we came.
|Venue name:||Ee Da Le (CLOSED)||Contact:|
3/F, 8 Lyndhurst Tce, Central
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We were aggressively welcomed by a manager asking us if we had a booking, which is quite ridiculous since the venue was almost empty. As soon as we sit down waiters were already asking us to order, and brought us 4 different menus, pressing us to be fast, and subsequently pushing us to order more water.
We went there to eat Italian, but it was actually Cantonese- Italian fusion cuisine, and this would have been also acceptable, if the restaurant was actually advertised like that. But, even from the sign in the entrance, you can see that the restaurant was conceived as a "Rustic Italian" restaurant and this is clearly not the case.
Every dish, even the most simple like bruschetta, was messed up and nothing actually followed italian recipes or traditions. The staff is all local and they actually cook local food! It's wrong to talk about Italian restaurant and Italian cuisine if it's basically managed by locals.
Risotto is completely wrong because rice is cooked in the wrong way, too much water and oil, I believe taleggio was actually poor quality gorgonzola, and we could not see black truffle in the plate. And even the plate the risotto was served in is wrong, since it is supposed to be a flat dish.
The pizza was a piece of bread reheated from the night before, too small, no high quality tomato, but again stracciatella bought in bulk.
In the recipe it is said that the suckling pig is made in the Roman Style, slow cooked, but i guess it was heated in the microwave. And the same dish in a Chinese restaurant would cost less than half with a much bigger portion.
Bruschetta was made with stracciatella and not burrata, tomato was left out for a long time and it was too sour.
What is absolutely unacceptable is the tiramisu, called by the chef "bananamisu".
The scariest is that someone local will go to Ee Da Le, try some of its dishes and then go to Italy on holiday...amazed to find that the Italian cuisine is completely different.
Bravo to the reporters on telling the truth. There needs to be more of that in Hong Kong – mostly there’s too much fluff.