Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 5/F, The Harbourfront Landmark, 11 Wan Hoi Street, Hung Hom 紅磡環河街11號海名軒5樓

Telephone: 3746 2733

http://www.kodining.com/en/restaurants_ms.html

今年是香港第四次舉辦 Restaurant Week,而我們就試了高級意大利餐廳 Messina價值$248的午餐。餐廳地點是在紅磡比較遠的海名軒,附近沒有巴士或地鐵站,最好是坐的士。Messina的食物很精緻及很有水準,而且服務周到,也有無敵大海景,但不是 Restaurant Week來的話,價錢可不便宜 – 午餐大約每位$400, 晚餐每位$1,000。

This year’s Hong Kong Restaurant Week was the city’s fourth one, and was held from 25 February to 3 March 2013 by Dining City and American Express. With over 70 restaurants participating, the idea was that an affordable, fixed-price menu would be available to give diners a chance to try out some of these places. There were three pricing categories: Category A (lunch HK$248/dinner HK$438), Category B (lunch HK$158/dinner HK$328) and Category C (lunch HK$98/dinner HK$258). 

Restaurant Week is a concept that started in New York in 1998 and is now popular globally. My first Restaurant Week experience was during a trip to New York. My friends and I had a fabulous dinner at the high-end French restaurant Le Cirque for just around US$30 per head! In Hong Kong, the popular restaurants tend to be booked out as soon as the reservation period starts. The best things don’t come easy, so in order to get the best deals, be sure to check the Restaurant Week menu against the restaurant’s normal menu while making reservations. While bargains can be found, some “sneaky” restaurants may offer menus which are not priced much lower than their normal sets, or may only offer a very simple selection of dishes!

Messina 1

I only made one Restaurant Week booking this year, and it was at Messina, a fine Italian restaurant in Hung Hom. Located in the Harbourfront Landmark building, it is not easily accessible by public transport and a cab ride is highly recommended (and perhaps a Google Map search too, as not all cab drivers know the way)! Messina, Japanese Restaurant Kazuo Okada and Shanghainese Restaurant Yu Lei are run by K.O. Dining Group (owned by Universal Entertainment Corporation) and the three form a little dining hub in the building.

Messina is named after a city in Sicily, and Executive Chef, Francesco Greco, devised a menu of modern Sicilian dishes that have incorporated classic French techniques. I liked the large and elaborate space of the restaurant, which is luxurious without being stuffy; a sleek open kitchen and a stunning sea view make it even more impressive! The staff were informed and engaging, and happily talked us through the dishes. We knew that we were in for a really good deal when we saw that the restaurant’s normal lunch menu was priced at $380 for 3-courses, while our Restaurant Week Menu only cost $248

Messina 2

A basket of warm, housemade bread was brought to our table, and the soft, pillowy focaccia was a delight. We were surprised to find some croissants in the bread basket – Messina really was living up to their promise for a French element!

Messina 3

(1) The appetiser was the Sicilian Tomatoes terrine and Burrata cheese salad – with a beautiful composition of colours, it was a job well done. The restaurant’s rendition of this salad comprised of burrata cheese and a tomato terrine (as opposed to just chopped tomatoes). The caramelised onion tasted lovely, and some pesto lifted the dish’s flavours. The burrata, though not the best I have had in Hong Kong (try the one at Nicholini’s if you can!), was creamy and delicious.

Messina 4

(2) The sea-fresh taste of the Dry paccheri pasta from Gragnano, Sicilian red Prawns and Pachino tomatoes instantly lifted our spirits. The pasta was wonderfully al dente and springy, and the strong, perceptible taste of prawns gave it endless depth.

Messina 6

(3) The Seabass, artichokes and black Truffle was definitely a dish to be savoured. The waiter told us that the Seabass was imported from Japan, as it was sourced from the same supplier as the other fish for the group’s Japanese restaurant Kazuo Okada, and it was meltingly tender. The artichoke, shaped into a flower, was almost too pretty to eat! Most importantly, this dish was embraced by the aroma of a generous shaving of black truffle – this restaurant certainly knew how to win us over!

Messina 5

(4) Chef Franceso’s specialities included tuna carpaccio and crispy suckling pig, so we were glad that the Crispy Suckling Pig, braised lentils, Tropea onions marmalade and natural jus was on our menu. The thick roasted skin enveloped delicate strands of meat. The lentils, souped up in jus, were cooked just right and left a nice finish in the mouth. 

Messina 7

(5) Food envy struck me when I saw the dessert trolley, so I didn’t have time to think about the TIRAMISU’ alle mandorle that was on our menu. However, words simply failed me after my first spoonful of this exquisite dessert. It was sublimely creamy, and underneath the mascarpone was some homemade almond gelato, which had an iciness and crunch that worked really well with the heaviness of the cheese.

Messina 9

Messina 8

(6) The Latte and the Cappuccino were of a high standard, and one of us went for a cup of hot chocolate to round up the meal. 

Messina 12

Messina 11

Messina 13

Some Petit fours were brought to us, but after having the spectacular tiramisu, these failed to shine.

Messina 14

Conclusion: At times other than the Restaurant Week, the pitch and pricing of this restaurant is ostensibly high-end, and you should be prepared to be spending a fair bit for a meal here. However, the plush decor, gracious service and sumptuous Sicilian cuisine would surely make Messina worth a second (, third, or fourth) visit!