Address: G/F, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central 中環伊利近街1-5號地下
Telephone: 2540 7988
NOM, which stands for “Not only Meatballs”, is a new restaurant and bar on Elgin Street which specialises in – you guessed it – meatballs. Opened by restaurateur and rugby player Ricky Cheuk (of Ramen Jo and Via Tokyo) and former Goccia chef Fabrizio Napolitano, this eatery serves a selection of mouthwatering meatballs as well as re-interpreted classic Italian dishes.
The setting of the eatery is laid-back and inviting, with aged wood furniture, warm brass detailings and comfy leather chairs completing a relaxing, loft-like set up. The kitchen of NOM only uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, all handpicked by chef Fabrizio, and the dishes are unfussy yet deeply comforting.
Some bread and butter is brought to our table. The butter is coated in dried powdered black olives, which gives a delightful, lingering flavour.
(1) I start with a glass of Londoner Mojito ($128), which has distinctive notes of Hendrick’s gin, elderflower and mint and is a cooling, refreshing summer cocktail.
(2) The mushroom & black truffle pizza ($218) arrives, and it fills the air with an intense black truffle fragrance. The crust is doughy and well made and the Taleggio cheese and buffalo mozzarella taste incredible, but the shaved truffle and fennel sausages are very unevenly spread.
(3) Our first meatball dish, the beef meatballs ($78) follows. A standard serving comes with 3 meatballs, and we find each of them a bundle of joy – kept warm by the skillet, the meatballs are juicy and bursting with fresh, meaty flavours. The rich Neapolitan ragout, Paccheri pasta and Ricotta cheese complement the meatballs very well.
(4) The seafood meatballs ($118) are equally enjoyable. These are served in a crustacean broth that has been cooked for over 5 hours, which is remarkably flavourful and soothing.
(5) The slow cooked suckling pig meatballs ($95) certainly do not disappoint. Cutting through the meatballs reveals tender strands of suckling pig meat, which are fully flavoured and velvety. The celeriac purée and coriander add some bright herbal notes.
(6) The Wagyu beef sliders ($158) are actually a meatball dish too – a small Wagyu beef meatball is served in a bun together with Gubbeen cheese and watercress. The ingredients are well balanced and the sliders are dressed in a gorgeous homemade ketchup.
(7) The ham platter ($278) consists of 33-month organic Parma ham, organic black pig shoulder, Salame romagnolo bees wax preserved, Spigaroli culatello di Zibello and Coppa di Mora Romagnola – each ham is finely handpicked by chef Frabrizio and comes from exclusive, artisanal producers. The cured meats are impeccably flavoured and taste exquisite, and are simply the best I have had in Hong Kong.
(8) The Hokkaido scallops ($168), beautifully presented on a stark black porcelain plate, are served with burnt eggplant and pancetta and dressed in black squid ink. The sashimi grade scallops are tender and delicate, but there are too many flavours in the dish which turn out to be distracting rather than complementary.
(9) The chargrilled Mediterranean octopus ($235) is much larger than expected. The giant octopus tentacle is fabulously crispy-skinned and has a wonderful chargrill flavour, and is so umami-rich that it almost tastes like chicken. It is served with some tomato salsa and grilled artichoke, and I particularly adore eating the latter.
(10) The lemon tart ($128) is a job well done – the lemon custard is perfectly tuned with just the right level of sweetness and tartness, and is served with a nice, refreshing cardamom gelato, which isn’t that spiced and tastes just like mint ice cream.
The casual Italian dishes at NOM are delicious, hearty and satisfying, and the natural flavours of the pristine ingredients shine through in many of the dishes. There is also a decent wine selection, which focuses on organic and biodynamic wines. I hope they can keep up with the good work, as I am certainly coming back for more meatballs!