Have you ever sat down in a restaurant, perused the menu and then decided to walk out before giving it a chance? We were very close to doing exactly that last weekend at Mitte on Upper Station Street, but thankfully gave it the benefit of the doubt and stayed for what turned out to be a tasty, albeit rather interesting dinner.
We wanted a chilled out, quick bite as a brief respite from an afternoon spent packing up boxes ready to move flat. Firstly, there were no tables set up, so we were told to sit at the bar, where the girls behind it gave us a curious look as if we were either intruding on something or weren’t quite edgy enough to be there. We asked for a food menu and were told there were only certain dishes available, since there was a special event – hence the lack of tables. On top of all this, there were some really strange sounds, not too dissimilar to whale song, coming from the DJ table at the back of the room. This was, apparently, the special event…
We were hungry, thirsty and had heard that Mitte makes the best Negroni in Hong Kong, so we ignored the whales, chose three dishes from the limited options available and ordered a Negroni Sbagliato and an Aperol Spritz respectively. They were indeed very good drinks.
Mitte is owned by three friends – an Italian, a German and an American – who all met in Berlin. It is classed as an ‘osteria berlinese,’ i.e. a German-Italian wine bar…? The staff are mostly all Italian, and the clientele too, so where the German fits in I am not so sure – but I love a good Italian wine bar, so no complaints here.
All the food is prepared behind the bar, fresh to order. Our first dish was the Buff – a generous portion of thickly sliced DOP buffalo mozzarella and sliced strawberries, drizzled in a balsamic vinegar reduction. This was an absolutely beautiful dish, both in presentation and taste, as the tart strawberries seriously complemented the creamy, fresh mozzarella.
Our filetto di manzo alla griglia was more rare than the medium-rare we had asked for, but was nonetheless wonderfully tender and flavoursome. This usually comes served with chips, but since the fryer was being used for our next dish, we were offered a slice of melanzane alla parmigiana instead – a much better option in my opinion.
When our selection of grilled calamari was not available, we were offered some fritti misti – deep-fried prawns, calamari and white fish served in a paper cone with a side salad. These were also absolutely delicious and needed no sauce nor dip to bring out their flavour.
After indulging in 10 tiramisu over 10 days in Italy earlier this year, we consider ourselves to be quite the experts in tiramisu! Mitte’s version is unlike any we’ve had before and came served with a shot of a rich, creamy digestif similar to Bailey’s. The chef rather sheepishly told us that the tiramisu had been frozen, so begged us to wait a little while before eating it. When the dessert was sitting right in front of us and seconds were ticking by painfully slowly, we were unable to endure the torture of waiting any longer than a couple of minutes, meaning our dessert was a cross between a tiramisu and a semi-freddo, which, bizarrely, actually worked.
Throughout the course of the evening, the music did temporarily get better, (albeit also louder) and we began to understand the funny looks we’d been given to start with, since it seemed the staff knew most of their guests by name, and obviously didn’t recognise us . One thing about Mitte is that it isn’t exactly a cheap night out; drinks are fairly reasonable, coming in at around $100 for a cocktail, but food can easily cost $200 or more per dish. If you’re into your alternative music and aren’t fussed about having a conversation with whoever you’re dining with, it’s worth checking out Mitte on a weekend for the buzz that goes on until late; if not, it might be best to visit on a weeknight, when it’s more of an actual restaurant and you don’t need to pretend to be edgy.
1A Upper Station Street
Tel: +852 2803 7080
Closed on Sundays and Mondays