Rating: ★★★☆☆

Address: 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty 金鐘正義道9號

Telephone: 2537 9888

http://ammo.com.hk/

The best thing about hiking in Hong Kong is that within a very short time, you will be transported from a concrete jungle to a lush haven, replete with trees and other greenery. Tony Cheng (of The Drawing Room, Le Salon Restaurant et Croissanterie (Hong Kong) and Hainan Shaoye (Hong Kong)) has recreated this teleport-like experience for his customers, by setting up a new restaurant called AMMO in a one-storey glass building in Admiralty.

AMMO stands for Asia, Modern, Museum and Original, qualities that Mr Cheng hopes to convey through this establishment. Like his other ventures in Hong Kong, AMMO exudes an air of elegance and class. This restaurant at the Asia Society is located at a site which was formerly a British military explosives magazine compound. This historical site is given a modern makeover, with a glass-and-copper theme, large leather chairs and suspended copper spiral staircases giving the space a sleek, sophisticated and eclectic decor.

The restaurant’s seats are very limited, and bookings for lunch and dinner have to be made well in advance. However, if you are happy to sit at the bar table, you will be able to dine here much sooner. Prices for dinner, while not stratospheric, are definitely not cheap, but a great-value 3 course set lunch (including coffee/tea) at HK$228 + 10% is available.

A bread basket was brought to our table, but even the addition of olive oil could not salvage the dryness of the bread!

(1) We started off with the Aquacotta with Japanese Egg, Winter Vegetables and Pecorino. The Japanese Egg looked glorious, and its smoothness was alluring. However, the soup, while thick and filling, could benefit from a heavier sprinkling of salt.

(2) Next was the Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche, Persimmon Coulis and Salmon Roe. The ingredients of this dish were vibrant, with the smoked salmon, creme fraiche and fish roe making for an appealing combination of flavours. However, our complaint was that the smoked salmon was rather thin and flaky.

(3) The Octopus Salad with Tomato Bread and Date Tomatoes followed. The octopus was supple and plump, but the tomato bread was not so tasty – it was a piece of dried up bread covered in tomato sauce, and it made us wonder how it was supposed to add to this dish. The salad was too small and did not fill us up at all, and the ingredients failed to come together.

(4) Fortunately, the Spaghetti with Mussels and Bottarga fared better, and it was simple and precise. The spaghetti was suitably moist and the mussels tasted fresh.

(5) Surprisingly, the Homemade Parpadelle with Braised Veal Shank Ragout turned out to be a sublime dish which lit up the entire meal, and it was the best parpadelle I have had in Hong Kong so far. Perfectly al dente and stretchy, the pasta had the perfect thickness and width and and the sauce and the parpadelle were like a match made in heaven. The veal shank ragou, tender and packed with flavours, was also excellently done.

(6) The Risotto with Tombinambur, Vanilla and Baby Squid had a lot of exciting and exuberant flavours. The baby squids packed a powerful punch, and the chewiness was enlightening. The risotto, cooked with tombinambur (a tuber from North America that tastes a bit like potatoes), tasted distinctive and delicious. We wished that the portion of this amazing risotto was slightly larger.

(7) There were two desserts to choose from, and I tried the Sfogliantine with Cinnamon and Muscat Grapes first. This dessert, admittedly, was very pretty – the transparent muscat grapes looked delicate, and the raspberries were beautifully lined up. However, the sfogliantine (a type of pastry) was rather soggy and the dessert was also too simplistic and lacked layers.

(8)  I preferred the Blueberry Mousse with Mix berries Compote. The slightly citric syrup cut through the creaminess of the mousse and fresh berries lifted the flavours of the dessert.

Conclusion: Portions verged on the ungenerous side, the service could have been more attentive and eager given how smart the restaurant was, and the modern Mediterranean cuisine did not amaze us. However, with an opulent setting and a view that overlooks a rare green jungle, this restaurant is bound to be able to impress your loved ones.