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With square footage and alfresco dining options so scarce in Hong Kong, when you walk past a restaurant like DiVino Patio with its high ceilings and sprawling outdoor terrace, it catches your attention. The latest member of the DiVino Group, it is burrowed among other new outdoor eateries at Brim 28 at Causeway Centre in Wan Chai. Chalkboards, salami slicers and red brick walls transport you to a vintage Italian delicatessen while the soothing low light envelops the tables with outdoor, booth and semi-private seating options available. Its open doors allow gusts of cool harbour breeze to sweep in, though we would imagine it might be on the sweaty side during the summer months.
Expect classic, unpretentious Italian dishes at DiVino Patio with an extensive menu to please everyone. To start, we order the eggplant parmigiana, which is a generous portion of flavourful and hearty thick-cut eggplant swathed in a blanket of rich tomato sauce and mozzarella. DiVino’s beef carpaccio is nestled under a heap of peppery rocket and shavings of parmesan, and while the beef is fresh and sweet, it lacks seasoning. The signature spit roasted Italian piglet “porchetta” style, served with mashed potatoes and artichoke “alla guidea” is a disappointment. It is laden with thick stripes of fat, and while we believe that “fat is flavour”, a ratio of three quarters fat-to-meat is excessive. Whatever meat is extracted ranges anywhere from flavourless in certain areas, to bitter in others. The Boston lobster linguini with fresh tomatoes and zucchini is slightly overcooked past the al dente mark and while the few chunks of lobster are sweet and fresh, they are not enough to make up for the dullness of the rest of the dish. For dessert, we order the Sicilian cannoli with ricotta cheese, sugar and espresso coffee sauce, which are pleasantly rich with chunks of glacé fruit and nuts whipped through the smooth ricotta, but not the best we have ever sampled. The “New Generation” trio of chocolate boasts a decadent mousse and soufflé (which presents as a collapsed fondant) that are so enjoyable, we regret we have to share them. The scoop of chocolate ice cream unfortunately is inedible with its overpowering, unexpected and alarming tobacco taste.
There will be a wine for everyone at DiVino Patio, with a concentration on reds, and the list is split into varietals, recommended Italian reds and “Interesting Reds”. For non-wine drinkers, there is a small selection of artisanal Italian beer.
The service starts off absolutely stellar and food is churned out swiftly but abruptly screeches to a halt by the time we finish our mains. Once our plates are cleared, we wait 20 minutes until we are forced to ask for a dessert menu and another 15 waiting for our dessert to arrive, which are then served 10 minutes apart.
A meal for two with a glass of wine each will amount to HK$1,000, which due to our average experience, feels a bit on the expensive side.