Despite being just that little bit further into the ‘dark side’, TST East continues to grow as a dining destination, now with the addition of DiVino Group’s Spasso. I tried Spasso over a year ago, when it was located at Harbour City and, although I did enjoy my meal then, I can tell you that the new Spasso, which has joined restaurants such as Pico and Eastside Tavern in the Empire Centre, is even better.
Although the new space is over 2000 square feet smaller than the last one, it still sprawls over 6000 square feet, with 200 seats in the restaurant, at the bar and on the terrace, overlooking some gorgeous views of the harbour. Personally, I find the new space much more intimate and cosy, and at the same time felt it was also less formal and more accessible.
The star of the kitchen is DiVino Group’s executive chef Michele Senigaglia, who has consolidated the menu of the old Spasso, replacing some of the more ‘chic’ dishes and focusing on true Italian classics that use fresh seasonal ingredients.
Whilst we waited for our group to arrive, Michele prepared some tasty bar snacks for us to nibble on: foie gras with ginger and pumpkin puree, peppers stuffed with tuna, and salmon pastrami with avocado, all of which, particularly the latter, set the bar for the yummy meal that was to come.
The tuna tartare, stacked between layers of avocado, was wonderfully fresh and light. Marinated in ginger and lime, the tuna had a lovely flavour that made a second helping impossible to resist.
Remember the burrata I raved and raved about at DiVino Patio? Spasso now does the same colossal 500g serving of beautifully creamy burrata served with cherry tomatoes and red onion salad. This is any cheese lover’s dream dish.
After a small bowl of minestrone soup with a hint of basil, to keep us warm on this chilly January evening, came one of my favourite dishes of the night: black mussels in a rich tomato broth. The mussels were enormous and deliciously fresh, lightly tossed in a lovely tomato sauce that didn’t mask the flavour of the shellfish. There was then the option of adding chilli flakes or chilli oil to make these even more delicious.
The Sardinian sea bass fillet was beautifully presented, topped with little pieces of potato that were cut to represent the fish’s scales. Although the ‘scales’ themselves had very little flavour, the fish underneath was wonderful, made the more so by the subtle orange-rosemary sauce and the garlicky sautéed spinach.
Another favourite dish of the night were the incredibly tender New Zealand lamb chops, with a black truffle crust and fresh thyme jus reduction, which were simply beautiful.
The pappardelle al cinghiale – artisanal pasta with Tuscan wild boar ragu – was also lovely. The pasta was nice and fresh, whilst the meat was hearty and warming; the perfect comfort food!
Despite being close to bursting point, it was insisted upon that we must try some of Spasso’s pizza, so we ordered half Parma ham, half Piccante (with spicy salami), both of which were perfectly thin and flavoursome; I just wish I was able to manage more than half a slice of each!
Spasso’s tiramisu was not one of my favourites, given that it was a little too runny and a little too strong for my liking. I loved the dark chocolate “cremino”, however – a rich, heavenly chocolate mousse that kept me going back for more.
It has to be said though, that my favourite of the desserts was the organic yoghurt bavaroise with passion fruit coulis. The sharp passion fruit cut through the creamy yoghurt to create a mouth-watering, wonderfully light dessert that worked as the perfect end to a lovely meal.
Prices at the new Spasso are slightly lower than the old one, where you can expect to pay around $200-400 per person for food. Service, on the night we went, was excellent, despite the fact that there was a party of 40 who had all ordered a la carte! I am a big fan of the new Spasso and, judging by its near full capacity on a Wednesday night, I think everyone else is too.
G5-8, 12-17, Empire Centre
68 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2730 8027