Sunday, June 26, 2011

Al Molo

For my sister's pre-birthday celebrations, we headed to Al Molo. It's a newly opened modern Italian restaurant by chef Michael White (of Marea fame) and his first venture outside of the States. The executive chef in the kitchen is Jimmy Everett, his protege from Marea. The restaurant is located in Harbour City, taking the place of Cafe Habitu. The view can be pretty amazing on a clear night, and once it gets cooler it'll be nice to sit al fresco by the waterfront (though the Victoria Harbour isn't exactly the cleanest...)

Unfortunately, my iPhone doesn't do the view justice. Same with the food photos - iPhones just don't hold up in low lighting...


Some foccacia to start off with. Quite good when doused in olive oil & balsamic, though by itself it was a bit meh. Tasted slightly stale to be honest.

fior di zucca - squash flower fritters ($118)

My sister had heard rave reviews about this dish but it in my opinion, it was far too salty. I didn't taste any buffalo mozzarella which it was apparently served with, and instead it appeared to be stuffed with anchovies which were overpowering. Luckily, the tomato puree was fresh and helped cut out all the saltiness.

polipo - grilled octopus ($158)

This dish was one of their signature dishes but I had mixed feelings about it. While the octopus was delicious and it was beautifully presented, I really didn't like the fregola sarda underneath. Apparently it's a type of pasta from Sardinia and consists of semolina dough, rolled into small balls. It is similar to couscous but tasted...lumpier? I've never heard of the stuff before and doubt I'll ever try it again - though a quick google search shows that it's fast becoming a new favourite in Italian restaurants.

Luckily, the fregola is the only pasta that isn't prepared in the restaurant, so I was still really excited to try the homemade pasta that Michael White is so famous for.

agnolotti - meat ravioli ($178)

While this was not one of the signature dishes, the minute I saw ravioli I was hooked. Our server told me that the meat was mainly beef with a bit of pork, though you could barely taste it. The dish was perfect and definitely lived up to the hype. It was served with a delicious red wine sauce and sage - super simple and rustic. One of the best ravioli's I've eaten in Hong Kong. I do want to go back and try their macaroni with cured pancetta and carbonara sauce! Mmmm.

osso buco ($258)

The osso buco was highly recommended in a couple of the reviews I've read. I tried a few bites and wasn't particularly impressed. Sure, I'm not a fan of veal, but I thought it could do with longer braising to make it more tender. I also didn't like the saffron risotto... I know they're totally different dishes from totally different countries but I really felt like eating a nicely braised coq au vin afterwards!

Next was dessert time which was pretty exciting, though the photos don't do the dishes justice! All the desserts are $88.

panna cotta

A good panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts and this one was very well done. It might not look the most attractive but the vanilla custard was super soft and creamy, and I loved the rhubarb compote though the strawberry sorbet took the dessert to another level! Yum!


Another love of mine is tiramisu. It's the ultimate in romantic desserts with its divine richness and silky smooth texture. The tiramisu at Al Molo was pretty good. It had a nice espresso kick and very lush, smooth mascarpone mousse! Mmmm.

yvonne and her "birthday cake" :)


This gianduja chocolate tart isn't something I would normally order as I tend to stay away from rich, chocolate desserts. However, this was really good in small doses, and I particularly loved the hazelnut crunch gelato! Mmm, it was like a ferrero rocher but better! I would order a scoop of this any day~

I found the food a bit hit and miss, and there are still a few kinks that have to be worked out. The food came out almost instantaneously and we were served our main courses even before the appetisers were finished. Luckily our server was delightful, a woman from Argentina (with an Italian mother) who was quick to recommend a whole host of dishes. I'll be back for more pasta and dessert, but not much else.

Al Molo
G63, Ocean Terminal
Harbour City
Tsim Sha Tsui