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Located on the ground floor of the Pemberton building in Sheung Wan, Doppio Zero is hard to miss thanks to the huge sign in the lobby. Descend a short flight of stairs and you will immediately be greeted by a bar, which also doubles as the chef’s table. The long corridor shaped room ends in a square dining room, where the best table in the house is undoubtedly a booth at the back, which even has curtains for extra privacy. Slate gray walls, Tiffany-esque art deco lampshades and wooden floors give the restaurant a casual yet charming atmosphere. The setting allows the trattoria to be an equally good choice for a large meal with friends or a romantic meal for two.
The menu at Doppio Zero is not overly large, allowing the restaurant to focus on what they do serve. We start with seafood appetisers: the truffled fried oysters and a fritti misti. The two succulent deep-fried oysters sit on top of creamed spinach and is topped with black truffle aioli: while the oyster is cooked so that it retains its juicy middle, the dish would have been even better if a more flavourful varietal than the Coffin Bay had been used. The fritti misti comprises of polenta-battered squid, calamari and sole. Again, all the seafood is just cooked through, with special mention going to the sole, which falls apart into succulent flakes in the mouth. The accompanying malt vinegar and parsley dip is also delicious. However, the dish would have been more enjoyable if the polenta batter was less hard and stiff. The name Doppio Zero comes from the “00” flour, the most highly refined and softest type of flour, so we have high hopes for our pasta course, and we opt for a tagliatelle bolognese and spaghetti amatriciana. Both are fantastic. The tagliatelle is suitably soft and it is unusual in that the bolognese does not contain tomatoes. Instead, it is a slow-cooked mixture of pork and veal, topped with parmesan and nutmeg. You would think that the acidity of the tomatoes would be missed, but thanks to the lack of cream in the sauce, the bolognese is hearty, yet not too heavy. The spaghetti is served al dente, seasoned perfectly with just the right amount of spice from the chili and pork lovers will delight in the large chunks of fatty guanciale. For our meat course, we share the 10oz rib-eye. Again, this is a flawless dish, served with anchovy and garlic roasted butter, gremolata to provide some zest and a delectable and large piece of bone marrow. For dessert, make sure to save room for the coconut panna cotta with kaffir lime gelee and chocolate chili wafer. It doesn’t sound like it should all work together, but it does, with the crumbly wafer acting as the perfect foil to the smooth-as-silk panna cotta.The chocolate semi-freddo sundae, on the other hand, disappoints.
The wine list at Doppio Zero is focused on wines from Italy and are offered in three different sizes: glass, quartino or bottle. There are a number of DOCG wines as well as sparkling Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti for those who like their bubbles. The staff are familiar with the wine list and should be able to help you find a good pairing for your meal.
Enthusiastic and confident with their recommendations, the staff are clearly proud of the food the kitchen puts out, which is always reassuring. They are also attentive and good at timing dishes so that the meal is nicely paced.
A traditional Italian four-course meal for two (appetiser, pasta, meat, dessert) with wine will cost about HK$1,300. The bill for those with daintier appetites will be closer to a HK$1,000, which is not a bad deal at all considering the quality of the well-executed food and excellent service.