Chef at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
I am the owner and chef of the restaurant on Hong Kong Island — 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA.
I was born in hot Italy and not in the hottest time for it – the 8th of February. Sure, you repeatedly drink tea with bergamot — so, this citrus fruit was so named in honor of the city of my childhood — the picturesque Bergamo.
I am an Italian living in Hong Kong. It’s rather unusual, isn’t it? If there is a hero in funny cartoon, it would clearly be running around the bustling city of Chinatowns in search of pasta with meatballs and pizza with four cheeses.
But I’m running only in my kitchen and the Italian food we have provided much broader and deeper.
I opened the restaurant in January, 2010. In November, it was awarded two Michelin stars. And in 2011 — 3. For me, this is the biggest reward.
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA is the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy itself, that has received 3 stars, and even 3 years in a row. When I think about it, my mood always improves.
It’s all started with my grandmother. She cooked delicious and somehow so that my favorite pastime wasn’t only eating, but also to observe all stages of preparation.
It was then, standing around the corner kitchen, leaning on something and in hugger-mugger looking at our home cooker, the dream began to emerge — to become a chef.
Of course, the situation around adds fuel to the fire my newly-made dream. In the city of my childhood there were a lot of hotels and restaurants whose chefs were considered very respectable people. And even the young boy realizes that to be respected is a very valuable thing in this world.
I had no way back, I was captivated by the world of gastronomy and realized that Europeans like to eat. Then my dream of becoming a chef reincarnated into a goal.
If I had to choose one favorite dish, I couldn’t. Mood changes, so does the favorite dish. This is how to choose a favorite song — is it possible?
However, I drink coffee every day. There is no laughter, no tears, no melancholy change this habit.
The best view of Hong Kong opens from hills. I am fond of hiking — walks in the highlands, and often look after how every tourist makes out the picture on the phone. The Internet is full of them. But they all have the attraction.
My second hobby is the most ordinary, but for me is special. I just love to eat.
And when I don’t eat and don’t go for a walk, I’m interested in cinema and art in general.
But eating I like more.
Make what you love and do it better than anyone. Do you like eating? Become a culinary critic, chef or open your own restaurant. Like running? For the start, do it better than anyone in the city. And yet, do it with your twist. I like not only Italian products, but everything I do is of Italian character. Maybe that’s why my restaurant and entered in the top of 50 restaurants in the world in 2013. Or maybe not so.
Actually, I was lucky not to lose a childhood dream and make it happen. And I’m nothing different to you. Is it not a motivation? Perhaps, this is my farewell to Food & Chef readers.
Appetizing dish on the photo — it’s deer loin with fragrant Piedmont cheese fondue and foie gras. I like to pay attention to the seasonal dishes – it’s something special for the guests, but for me the opportunity to write a new culinary «music» of the actual ingredients.
8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
202, 2/F, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2537 8859
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA – it’s an amazing journey from Hong Kong to Italy made by chef Umberto Bombana, in the past he created masterpieces in Toscana restaurant in Ritz-Carlton. Simple interior decoration and notes played on a contrast to the stunning variety of dishes, each of which is the result of talent Italian maestro of the cuisine. In the menu the special focus is on the white truffle, in the interior on a palette of warm shades, and in the restaurant on each guest.