The first thing that struck us when we arrived at Operetta for our Sunday brunch ($208/person for antipasti and dessert buffet; +$130 for main course; +$138 for free-flow wine and beer) was how packed it was with kids. Italians love their bambini, so this makes sense. Operetta is also a very spacious, airy eatery, catering particularly well to large groups.
Newly on board, Chef Luca de Berardinis has done a fine job in curating Operetta’s antipasti spread – honestly, you could opt out of the main course and still leave stuffed. There’s a little something to suit everyone: high-quality cold cuts, seafood and veggie salads, smoked salmon, mini prosciutto sandwiches – plus a selection of hot dishes, which unfortunately weren’t as successful for us (while the porchetta was hearty and flavourful, it was dry, as was the baked pasta – not the best choices for a buffet). The star of the buffet was the humblest: the bread. We couldn’t get enough of the focaccia, glistening with olive oil. On the other hand, the caprese was a disappointment – flavourless tomatoes and where was the crucial basil? – as was the fruit punch, which was neither fruity nor punchy but instead tasted overwhelmingly of bitter grapefruit. Stick with the salads and bread, and you’ll be a happy camper.
The main course choices are generous indeed – especially the pizzas and calzone, which looked like they could serve two or three very hungry diners. Though we didn’t order them, we wished we had: they looked like the real Neapolitan deal, with an airy crust that was charred just so. Instead we tried the chef’s signature beef fillet “rose of Parma” style, rolled and stuffed with ham and Parmesan and anointed with a creamy Lambrusco sauce. Nestled in a bed of mashed potato, this was Italian comfort food to the max. The chitarra Abruzzese – homemade “guitar” spaghetti with small meatballs – was a taste from the chef’s home region of Abruzzo. We enjoyed the al dente pasta strands, tender meatballs and herby tomato sauce, but we found there was just too much of the sauce. Rather than swimming in it, we wished the spaghetti had been merely kissed by it.
Pizza tonno (tuna pizza)
Beef fillet ”rose of Parma“ style
The desserts were a highlight of our brunch, and we appreciated that both kids and adults were looked after, from the candyfloss machine spinning out fluffy pink clouds to machines churning more grown-up orange and lemon granitas. The lemon granita was excellent – it made us pucker up for all the right reasons. We also rate the mini blueberry cheesecake squares (NYC would be proud), chocolate tiramisu tarts (hard to go wrong with this combo) and raspberry cream puffs (light and fruity).
There were some highs and lows in our brunch at Operetta, but overall we recommend it for families and groups with little ones in tow (the kids’ brunch menu is priced at $128 and includes the antipasti and dessert buffets and a main course – think pasta with tomato sauce and pizza margherita). If you’re dining à deux or in a smaller group, the antipasti + dessert option should suffice – or order one sensational-looking pizza to share.
Shop 112, 1/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2115 8080
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.