Address: Shop G63, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 尖沙咀廣東道17號海港城海運大廈G63
Telephone: 2730 7900
In the restaurant-filled city of Hong Kong, many of most sophisticated dining establishments are run by restaurant groups, and Dining Concepts is one of the groups which are very good at what they do. Also the proprietors of Tango Argentinian Steakhouse (Hong Kong) and Lupa (Hong Kong), Dining Concepts formed a collaboration with New York-based celebrity chef Michael White, bringing us hearty, solid Italian fare at Al Molo Ristorante Italiano, conveniently situated in Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Opened in 2011, Al Molo overlooks the spectacular views of the Victoria Harbour and has an alfresco dining area which is perfect for enjoying the Hong Kong outdoor breezes.
The restaurant boasts fresh hand-made pasta (something I have really come to love and appreciate), and watching the staff kneading pasta dough by the entrance gave us a glimpse of the delightful pasta we were about to sample!
Comfortably seated in the hip and buzzling restaurant, we delved straight into the warm Foccacia before us; unfortunately, it was too crispy and not fluffy enough and was a tad too dry!
(1) We started off with the Caprese ($138), made of sliced vine ripe tomatoes, burrata cheese and basil, and dressed in aged balsamic vinegar. Unlike the usual insalata caprese which has mozzarella cheese in it, the use of burrata cheese (a mixture of cream and cheese) added extra creaminess as well as rich flavours which lingered long in the palette.
(2) Next, we had a Magherita Pizza ($138) which was freshly made in the restaurant’s open fired pizza oven. With cheese that was slightly burnt on the surface to tease our taste buds, this pizza was an utterly delightful treat.
(3) Then the kitchen sent out the much anticipated Casarecci semolina pasta ($178), which was one of Michael White’s signature dishes. The fresh housemade pasta was perfectly al dente, and the sea-fresh clams and squids added a nice touch and a bit of a bite. The spicy tomato sauce was tangy and delicious, but really was quite spicy, making for a dish that was strangely comforting and exciting at the same time!
(4) Moving on to more mellow dishes, we then devoured the Risotto acquarello risotto ($178), with wild mushrooms and a generous helping of parmigiano cheese. Yet another signature dish of Michael White’s, this risotto would have been an indulgent treat with its terrific, soothing flavours and soft, creamy textures, but for the fact that it was too salty!
(5) The Spigola seabass alla piastra ($218), served with marinated zucchini, tomatoes confit baccala and stuffed squash blossom, again showed off the restaurant’s abilities to send out brilliant dishes. The seabass was supple and juicy, and its crispy skin was an added bonus. The stuffed squash blossom and tomatoes provided a beautiful composition of colours to the dish.
(6) Last but not least was the Osso Buco ($268), a butter-soft, marvellously cooked braised veal shank, lounged over a mound of soft, flavourful saffron risotto. The bone marrow deserved a special mention – umami-rich with a terrific fatty taste, not only did it taste wonderful at first bite but the aftertaste hit us like a song! The sautéed spinach was a terrific counterpoint to the veal and punchy and delicious in its own ways.
Conclusion: While Al Molo may not champion the finest Italian food in town, it is a demonstration of a Hong Kong rendition of Italian fare at its best – the majority of dishes were hearty and delicious, the location is flawless and the service was swift and eager; this is a combination that is good enough to satisfy many of Hong Kong’s most demanding diners.