Since opening in 2010, Italian restaurant 208 Duecento Otto has become a Hong Kong favourite. Run by JIA Group, the restaurant easily serves some of the better Italian fare in the city, mostly because the pizza is consistently awesome and the entrees are above average. Making sure things stay fresh, JIA have brought over a new executive chef with over 15 years of experience in the industry; Melbourne native Michael Bolam.
Previously a runner-up in Time Out Melbourne’s Chef of the Year Awards, Chef Bolam succeeds in bringing honest food to the Hollywood Rd restaurant by way of simple ingredient highlights and limited ponce. The chef has refreshed 208’s menu, giving dishes a welcomed twist.
See more: 208's Weekday Lunchtime Buffet
What to Start With
There are an array of new dishes, but we have some particular favourites.
From the antipasti section the strongly recommended are the poached beetroot, pickled stem, whipped goat's curd and toasted walnuts ($138) and the Topinambur con Mostarda; roasted Jerusalem artichoke, mustard greens, hazelnut, brown butter ($148).
Poached beetroot, pickled stem, whipped goat's curd and toasted walnuts
Topinambur con Mostarda; roasted Jerusalem artichoke, mustard greens, hazelnut, brown butter
What to Move on to
The homemade pasta and mains have also gotten an overhaul, making room for an excellent tagliatelle with sea urchin butter, lemon, bottarga and pangrattato ($248) that we didn't initially go for but ended up being subtly enticed to order–good life choice. The textures are unusual and satisfying and the uni and bottarga initially seem overwhelming but actually come together in a powerful yet understated way. Another clear winner was the Cicale di Mare con Risoni: Moreton Bay Bugs (an Australian favourite we were excited to see on a HK menu! Not actual bugs; these crustaceans are like pimped out crayfish with sweet flesh) and a creamy garlic risoni ($318). This one is a must order.
Moreton Bay Bugs
Tagliatelle with sea urchin butter, lemon, bottarga and pangrattato
What Not to Get
Three others we tried were the seared red snapper, fava bean, wilted lettuce, caperberry ($228), the oxtail agnalotti, thyme, smoked potato cream ($208), and the butternut and pecorino ravioli, nutmeg, grated chestnut ($178) which were all pleasant but paled in comparison to the predecessors. The ravioli was quite nice if needing an extra dish, but the red snapper was a bit too simple and the oxtail lacked a robust savoury edge to balance the sweetness of the almost BBQ like filling in the agnalotti.
Butternut and pecorino ravioli, nutmeg, grated chestnut
Oxtail agnalotti, thyme, smoked potato cream
Italian food is engrained in the food fabric of Hong Kong city, and whether you’re craving the fresh-from-the-oven pizza, or a show-stopping serve of seafood smothered in indulgent garlic sauce, 208 is where you can get your fix. Chef Bolam has been able to retain 208 Duecento Otto’s reputation as a reliable Italian favourite while also adding a touch that is both rustic and innovative to this new menu.
208 Duecento Otto
208 Hollywood Road, Sheungwan
Website or Tel: 2549 0208
Hours: Mon - Sat: 12:00pm - 12:00am, Sun: 11:00am - 10:00pm