August 25, 2014

Hong Kong - Manzo Italian Steak House

I had dinner with 3 of my classmates one weeknight, and I suggested we try Jamie's Italian. I told them it would probably be an hour wait only if we went at 6:30pm. I was so confident we could get a table if we went "early" that I didn't make any back-up reservations. We arrived at Midtown Plaza 2 in Causeway Bay at 6:25pm and there was already a queue (apparently people starting lining up at 5:30pm). And it wasn't even the queue for a table. It was the queue to get a ticket to queue for a table! We were told by the dude giving out tickets that it would probably be a 3 hour wait in total. I love Jamie but it seemed excessive to wait that long, especially since he wasn't even physically there. Guess I will go when the hype has died down a bit. We went up to three other restaurants in the same building but there were no more walk-in seats available anywhere. Defeated, we headed to Times Square. Fiona suggested Manzo. We arrived before 7 pm and were the first ones there. The decor was casual, with wood furniture and white walls. I had never eaten at Manzo before, so I did a quick search online and found that it is part of the Dining Concepts group (of Bistecca, Lupa, Bombay Dreams and the anticipated Bread Street by Gordon Ramsey). 

Cold Cut Platter ($198 for 3 kinds): We picked (L-R) Bresaola Air Cured Beef, Speck Smoked Proscuitto and Finocchiona Fennel Salami. My favourite was the salami, which had the perfect balance between fat and meat, and a delightful hint of fennel. The bresaola was a bit on the chewy side and the prosciutto lacked in pork flavour. The portion size was reasonable.
Grilled Thick Cut Bacon with Salsa Verde ($108)The bacon was sizzling hot when it arrived. The salsa verde (green sauce which includes parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil) was tangy and refreshing, which was nice against the fatty caramelised bacon. Interesting combination overall.

Spaghetti with Sauteed Shrimps and Green Peas ($188): I liked how the pasta was served in a cute pan. It made it easy to share the dish. The spaghetti was al dente and tossed in a lemon-garlic-butter sauce. The shrimps were sweet and the frisee kept the dish light and fresh with its bitter notes. We all enjoyed this dish.

Bucatini with Crab Meat, Spicy Tomato sauce and Basil ($198): This was not as good as the previous pasta. There was too much pasta and not enough sauce, therefore the dish was under-seasoned. The tomato sauce wasn't spicy, nor did I taste the crab meat. However, I liked how the basil brightened up the dish.

"Guanciale" Braised Beef Cheek in Red Wine with Stewed Vegetables ($228): I should've taken a better photo of the beef! It was so tender that you could eat it even if you had no teeth. The beef soaked up all the robust flavours of the red wine and vegetables. There were hints of rosemary and black peppercorn. The vegetables were soft and added sweetness to the dish.

Tiramisu Cake with Almond Gelato ($68): Hong Kong style tiramisu made without the strong coffee liquor (or maybe there was liquor but I didn't taste any) paired with almond gelato. The cake was alright, but could've been more moist. The gelato was creamy and rich, but I didn’t think it paired well with the tiramisu. Lemon Meringue with Honey Gelato ($68): Yum! This was delicious. The pie had just the right balance of sweetness and tartness. The lemon curd was silky smooth and the crust was buttery. It could've been more crisp though. I liked the generous helping of meringue on top and the sweet honey drizzle. The honey gelato went well with the lemon, but in my opinion the pie was fine on its own.

Verdict: Decent and hearty dishes. The meat dishes were definitely better than the pasta dishes. In hindsight, I should've tried their steak given that it was a "steak house".

Manzo Italian Steak House
Address: Shop 1104, 11/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Phone: 2735-3980

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