New chef review: Sabatini, an old-school Italian restaurant in TST, Hong Kong
Introducing Claudio Favero, new Chef de Cuisine
Mention the name Sabatini’s and many long-time Hong Kongers will know exactly which restaurant you’re talking about. This TST stalwart, located in The Royal Garden, has been around for over 25 years and has served Rome-style comfort food to many happy guests. Recently, Sabatini’s appointed Claudio Favero as its new Chef de Cuisine; Chef Favero has joined from Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890 in Naples. At the moment, Sabatini’s menu remains the same but guests will be able to try Chef Favero’s cooking via a limited-edition six-course ‘Chef Claudio’s Tasting Menu’ for $1,380 until 31 July. Recently, we had the opportunity to try this Menu ourselves.
We started with the Ricciola Affumicata con Zucchine, Erba Cipollina, Yogurth al Limome e Caviale. This smoked kingfish with marinated zucchini managed to be smokey, creamy, and tart all at the same time. Very tasty.
The creaminess of the Zuppa di Mais con Polipo e Coriandolo, or corn soup, was accented by tender, grilled slices of octopus and salty pops of roe. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the addition of popped corn as the kernels were a bit stale.
This Spaghetti con Polpa di Granchio e Ricci di Mare, or spaghetti with crab (from Alaska) and sea urchin (from Japan), may not look like much but it was close to perfection. The al dente texture was exactly as it should be. And the sauce was bright, with an olive oil-base (rather than cream or butter) allowing the natural flavours of the seafood to shine.
Moving onto the main courses, the Filetto di Amadai con Spinaci Novelli e Salsa allo Zafferano was well executed. The amadai fish fillet was very moist and its flaky crust was delicious. Note that there were still a few bones in the fillet so beware if you’re feeding this to children.
The second main course was the Maialino Croccante con Pure` di Melanzane e Salsa alla Mostarda di Pommery. Crispy roast pork is always a crowd pleaser and this one was served with garlic chips and a touch of balsamic to help cut the richness. The meat itself could have been a bit more tender and fatty, but perhaps guests can request this cut when they order.
We ended with the Torta di ricotta e ciliegie Bell’Italia con salsa al limoncello, a beautiful cherry and ricotta tart with limoncello sauce. This was delicious, especially the cherries which were cooked in a Chinese five spice mixture before being layered in the tart’s filling as well as placed on top. Afterwards, guests are served coffee or tea with a selection of housemade chocolates and biscotti. Do not skip the truffles or the biscotti, and you will thank me later!
From the welcome bread basket to the goodbye biscotti, Sabatini’s proves that it has been a Hong Kong favourite for 25 years for a reason; it knows how to cook great Roman food. With this tasting menu, Chef Claudio has shown he understands Sabatini’s style while having exciting things up his sleeve. We’re excited to see how Sabatini’s evolves under his tenure.
69 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, 2733 2000
*By invitation for Foodie