走進8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana，會聽到人人都在呼喚「Papa、Papa」，原來他們稱呼的正是這位意大利胖爸爸Umberto Bombana，這位胖嘟嘟「松露之王」從米其林三星級大廚，今年正式獲得「終身成就獎」(The Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award)，他在你眼前刨出一片片薄薄的松露片，飛揚到手做意大利細寬麵條上，空氣中瀰漫着菇菌與杏仁、蒜頭與麝香的芳香，他單一單眼笑笑說:「我認識無數米其林大廚，他們都像我一樣，滿有激情、帶點瘋狂! 」Walking into 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, you would hear staffs calling “Papa!Papa!” repeatedly.That is how they call their chef-owner Umberto Bombana, who has recently won The Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award. “Like many Michelin-starred chefs that I know, I’m full of passion, and a bit crazy.” says the big Italian “King of white truffles” while slicing his precious ingredients on the hand-made linguine.
意大利菜總以最簡單的方法來做，也正是難度所在，然而8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana可以成為意大利境外唯一一家獲得米其林三星的意大利菜餐廳殊不簡單，見識過總廚Umberto Bombana的手藝就曉得，日本溫泉蛋配黑松露、松露雅枝竹薯蓉、黑松露粟子奶油雪糕，內裏的雅枝竹是從法國運來的、榛子仁要從意國進口、有機蛋由日本直送，輕輕用蒜子擦過和牛、沙律滴兩滴鵝油，令小至一條蔥細至一片菇都帶有近乎魔幻的奇味，不奇怪他將自家的餐廳取名為8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana，正是向最喜愛的意國導演費里尼致敬。
意大利的米其林大師Ezio Santin及法國大廚Joёl Robuchon也都專程來到品嘗總廚Bombana的手藝，前者還曾是他的師傅。從米其林三星到年度廚師大獎，餐廳的每個調酒師、帶位的經理都好像多添了愉快的節奏。原先已一桌難求的小餐廳，真不是有錢就能吃得到，現在要訂靠窗或私人房間的好位置，更加需要一個月到兩個月前預訂。「香港的客人酷愛旅遊，而周游世界重要目的之一就是嘗遍美食，所以香港人的口味十分國際化，這裏有最懂得美食的客人。」一身潔白的廚衣跟他的白金髮與微微笑容很搭配，他笑說餐廳開業這麼多年:「這裏從來沒有一桌是空的，從來沒有！」
Italian dishes are easy to make, but hard to be perfect. If you finally get the chance to have a table, you would clearly understand that why 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana is the only Michelin 3-starred Italian restaurant outside Italy. Menu is full of magic, like Federico Fellini’s film that named the restaurant after. Japanese organic poached eggs with black truffle,French artichoke with truffle on mashed potato, black truffle chestnut cheese cake — every little detail on the dish tastes magically brilliant.
Specially visited by star chefs like Ezio Santin (Chef Bombana’s mentor) and Joёl Robuchon, his business is a clear success. From bartenders to managers, every staff is always happy and having fully energy in work.It is difficult getting a table at 8½ Otto e Mezzo, especially a window seat or private room, reservation may be needed to take up to 2 months. “Hong Kong’s customers love to travel,” says the chef.
“And one of their objectives of travelling is to taste the best food of the world. That makes their preference very international. They are one of the best customers.” He laughs that he has never seen a vacant table since restaurant opened.
來到他的餐廳當然不容錯過這裏的“Degustation 8½”品嘗菜單（Tasting Menu）: 稠厚磨菇海膽汁燒螫蝦、意大利扁麵以蟹肉與柑橘提味、初榨微澀的鮮橄欖油與小茴香汁配手釣野生海鱸、帶點馬賽魚湯與長櫛瓜味道的濃湯……配上Petrus、Franciacorta、Mouton和D’Yquem等美酒。
Back in 1993, Chef Bombana was the first to introduce truffle on Hong Kong’s dining table, while most of the people knew nothing about this rare mushroom. Now, to them, it is the equivalent of one of the finest ingredients. The chef was awarded “Worldwide Ambassador of the White Truffle” in 2006 by the Piedmontese regional Enoteca Cavour (Italy) for his effort in promoting truffle. Trusted by the world’s gourmets, he would take charge in cooking some of the biggest and costliest truffles sold in auctions.
It is no reason to miss out the tasting menu – Degustation 8½: grilled shrimp in mushroom and sea urchin sauce, linguine with crab meat and tangerine, wild sea bass in olive oil and fennel sauce, complemented by exceptional wines in Petrus, Franciacorta, Mouton, and D’Yquem.
In accepting the honor, Chef Bombana says, “I feel very fortunate to have spent my career in Asia. Introducing Italian cuisine to Chinese guests taught me the importance of being progressive, dynamic and creative and shaped the way I work. This award inspires me to continue to share my love of Italian food with the rest of the world.”
“Every Michelin-starred chef has his own personality, but each of them searches for the finest ingredients for the best taste. Hong Kong and Macau are the most convenient cities to get those ingredients.
Every morning, I could get the best ingredients from France, UK, USA and Japan, including the freshest truffle from my home country Italy,” says Chef Bombana. “My favorite food since I first came to Hong Kong are always dim sum, steam fish and fresh chicken.But among all, I like century eggs most. I couldn’t believe people would eat fermented eggs at first, but now it becomes my favorite. Besides, there are stinky tofu and salted fish. That makes me a complete Hong Konger!”
When asked about which Italian food he missed most since he moved from his hometown Bergamo, he says Hong Kong is the most convenient place on earth that he can easily find every Italian food. “There’s nothing particular that I missed, apart from the smell of the turf, the coldness of the snow, and the fresh smell of grass-cutting. I missed the Spring of my hometown, where everybody enjoyed lunch on a sunny day, under the tree of their gardens. There, I missed the nature, my family, and the accent,” he says.
出生於意大利北部貝加莫地區，這裏是意大利芝士的主要產區，出產的乾酪品質十分甘甜，這個地區還特產不少專門服務皇室與貴族的名廚，1655 年就有皇族中享譽的名廚Bartolomeo Stefaniu正是出生於此。「我成長的地方人人都講着食物，不是為了生存，而是激情與快樂。我成長的地方，人們常去旅行，若有好的餐廳，人們就常來，我家旁邊的餐廳，我從小就看到鄰家廚師每天路過，受到很多鄰人尊重地打招呼，令我從小就夢想做一位廚師。還有我的祖父母都有自己的拿手菜式，父親愛弄野味、母親會做些精緻糕點，祖母更加做過富有人家的廚娘。」
Chef Bombana was born in Bergamo, a place known for producing fine Italian cheese, as well as world-famous chefs such as Bartolomeo Stefani, who served the royal family back in 17th century. When asked what inspired his interest in food, he says: “The place I grew up, everyone talked about food, not for making a living but for passion and joy.
People in my hometown loved to travel – they would come often for a good restaurant. When I was a kid, I used to see my chef neighbor passing by, while being greeted by everyone with respect. That gave me the dream of becoming a chef. Also, my grandparents had their signature dishes, my father loved to cook wild animals, and my mother knew how to make delicate cakes. My grandmother even served a rich family as a cooking lady.”
Browsing through the restaurant’s glass room, it stores full of Iberico ham and various types of champagnes, Chef Bombana introduces the food could warm his heart most. “Some soul foods can open people’s soul. When I’m in a bad mood, I eat ice-cream. Hand-made pasta is my favorite, so as my hometown’s grilled meat. I hope to see my customers leaving my place with a great mood.”
Finally, back to the basic. What will Chef Bombana cook for family? “In festivals such as Valentine’s Day or Easter, I would make a simple pasta for the whole family to share. The most important thing is to spend time together on the dining table. Italian cuisine is similar to Chinese that they are both family oriented, and sharing food is the greatest part.”
推介菜式有意大利海鮮湯 Acqua Pazza，意大利文的字面意思是「瘋狂的水」，代表海鮮湯帶給食客驚喜的味蕾享受。以香料調味的湯底，配合多種海鮮，鮮味突出。主菜方面，值得一嚐極具特色的烏魚子海膽意大利麵。有別於一般歐洲地區常用的地中海鯔魚卵，廚師使用味道更清新的日本鯔魚卵，親自用鹽醃製，海洋鹹味配上鮮甜的北海道海膽，帶來層次豐厚的口感。
terra Tokyo-Italian is a one-Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore specializing in Italian cuisine influenced by the unique Japanese culture. The Chef-Owner Seita Nakahara combines the traditional rustic style of Italian cooking with fresh Japanese ingredients, finished with attention to detail and perfect balance and harmony of fresh ingredients and flavours. Highlighting terra’s menu is Chef Seita’s ever-changing menu of his own creations based on the availability of seasonal ingredients.
Diners also cannot miss Acqua Pazza (literally translated to Crazy Water), an Italian seafood soup with poached fish and other treasures of the sea, and the home-made Bottarga with Hokkaido sea urchin and spaghetti, prized for its refined ocean-salty flavour.
Sensi situates at the Sathorn Business District, Bangkok, peacefully hidden away from the congestion of cars and fumes.The homemade ciabatta bread is light yet chewy, bringing a nice first impression.
The Italian style beef tartare is great as it cuts quite thin with the soft meat spiced with black pepper. For the main course, the beef was prepared with truffle oil and foie gras in a Rossini style, while the half fillet of sea bream is served with a hot celery and lemon sauce and charred on the outside. Both of them are pleasing.With a chic and elegant decor, soft music atmosphere and refined dishes with delicious smell, Sensi can definitely give you a great dining experience and satisfy your five senses.
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