DiVino Group is obviously known for its Wyndham Street restaurants DiVino and Goccia, and of course newbie DiVino Patio in Wan Chai (I’m still dreaming about that burrata…), yet Spasso, one of the group’s two restaurants on the ‘dark side’, has received much less love.
All this is changing, however, as Puglian Chef Antonio Totaro has joined the scene, bringing with him a vast book of experience from working at the highest Michelin-rated restaurant in Southern Italy, Don Alfonso 1890, to cooking for Hollywood stars such as Danny DeVito, Mike Tyson and Monica Bellucci, to working as a private chef for billionaires in the Maldives, Monaco, Moscow and Geneva.
Spasso spans 8,500 square feet in Harbour City’s Ocean Centre, including a lovely terrace overlooking the harbour. Inside, the décor is elegant and modern, using clean white shades set against marble and wood. I couldn’t help but notice the fresh fish station where diners can choose their fish before it is carved up in front of them to make gorgeously fresh carpaccio. This is something Chef Antonio insisted on bringing to Spasso, given his Puglian roots.
In order to taste as many things as possible on the menu, we were served small tasting portions, so if you’re looking at these photos thinking these dishes would never fill you up, worry not, for the real versions are double the size!
The first dish in our feast was a slow-cooked premium Lofeten Island cod fish, served with potatoes, capers and black olives, on a bed of crisp rocket leaves. The flakes of fish were so flavoursome and tender, and due to their rather saline quality, it would be easy to mistake them with Spanish-style bacalao. The contrast of the rich, salty olives and slightly bitter rocket paired with the lovely cod made for an excellent start to the meal.
Making the most of Chef Antonio’s inherent love of seafood, next up was a tuna loin marinated with ginger, lemon and orange zest, served with citrus and peppermint-infused pea purée and roasted beetroot. The wonderful contrasting textures, radiant colours and incredibly fresh flavours completely explain why this is one of the chef’s signature dishes.
One of my favourite dishes of the night was the tortelli with burrata cheese. The handmade pasta was the perfect, slightly al dente consistency, bursting full of creamy burrata. A blob of fresh stracciatella di bufala on top was heavenly, whilst a simple drizzle of pesto and cherry tomato sauce served to bring out the delicate flavours. I could have easily gobbled up a whole plate of this.
I’m normally a little frightened of sea urchin, yet the chef’s signature sea urchin risotto with Sicilian red prawns and Sicilian orange was divine. It had just the right level of creaminess and the carnaroli rice had the perfect bite to it, topped with a generous lump of melt-in-the-mouth sea urchin and tender little prawns hidden amongst the hearty grains of rice. Flavour-wise, however, it was a little on the bland side, yet nothing that a sprinkling of salt couldn’t fix.
The crispy Berkshire breeds Kurobuta slow-roasted pork belly was lovely and comforting. Each bite was beautifully tender, as the juicy meat and fat became one. Served alongside the pork was a sweet pumpkin purée and cannellini beans, all finished with a delicate espresso glaze and a coffee bean to enhance the flavour.
Our selection of mini-desserts was a feast for both the eyes and that beloved second stomach: chocolate ice cream cones, tiramisu, chocolate and raspberry tarts, and baked beignets. Despite the fact that we had four desserts each, they were all wonderfully light, particularly the tiramisu, which was strangely yet pleasantly lacking the lady fingers and was only delicately dusted with chocolate and coffee. My absolute favourite, however, was the beignet, which was lovely and crispy on the outside and filled to the brim with delicious vanilla-infused crème pastissière: heavenly.
Prices at Spasso are slightly steeper than the group’s other ventures, with starters from $128 and mains between $168 and $450. Personally I would pick a casual dinner at DiVino Patio over Spasso, yet if a day of shopping in Harbour City leaves you craving some scrumptious Italian food with true and fresh Mediterranean flavours, where you can while away a few hours gazing at our beautiful harbour, then Spasso is definitely worth a try.
Shop 403, Level 4, Ocean Centre
17 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2730 8027