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Sabatini Ristorante Italiano

Sabatini, located in the Royal Garden Hotel and widely acclaimed as one of the very top Italian restaurants in Hong Kong, has been a venerable presence in the city’s fine-dining scene for 25 years and is one of our favourite standbys whenever we are in the mood for traditional, gourmet Italian cooking. So, when we learned that Sabatini was offering a special menu featuring highly prized, in-season porcini mushrooms, we jumped at the chance of an invite. 
 
As frequent diners, we’ve grown to love the familiar and welcoming décor of Sabatini, a rustic setting with Roman motifs, arched ceilings and passageways, ornate chandeliers, and shiny polished tiles, which combine to provide a comfortable and relaxed dining experience. The service from the restaurant’s knowledgeable staff is, as usual, attentive and excellent. 
 
Sabatini serves a highly popular appetiser buffet lunch – a large antipasti spread of cured meats and seafood, salads, marinated vegetables and soup, a selection of main entrées, and a generous dessert cart from which to choose. The restaurant also proffers an extensive list of fine Italian wines.
 
But, of course, we are here for the mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms, the genus grown widely across the Northern Hemisphere in the wild, are harvested in late summer and autumn, and arrive in Hong Kong fresh at this time of the year. The mushroom is considered the best of the wild types for its meaty texture and nutty flavour, is highly nutritious and healthy, and goes well with risotto, pastas, and meats and seafood, adding flavour and aroma to any dish. 
 
Our first plate was Grilled Mushrooms with Seared Hokkaido Scallops and Mixed Salad ($388); the tender scallops and creamy, meaty mushrooms are the perfect warm-up act for the dishes to come. 
 
The Chestnut Cream Soup with Porcini Mushrooms and Iberico Ham Foam ($228) was next, and we do like this creative concoction: the blended porcini mushrooms and chestnut make for a velvety smooth soup, topped nicely with the Iberico ham foam to create a subtly rich flavour.
 
The eagerly awaited Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, Mascarpone Cheese and Shaved Black Truffle ($438) which came next was all we could expect – a delightful combination of flavours, aromas and texture. It is a dish that we consumed with gusto and would always leave us wanting more. 
 
One feature of the porcini mushroom is that it can be dried and kept for off-season use; the drying process intensifies the flavour and the mushrooms can be reconstituted easily with flavour intact by soaking in hot water. That allows mushroom aficionados to appreciate this delicacy all year around; we are happy enough with fresh porcini any time though.
 
Our entree was Pan-fried Veal Chop with Sautéed Porcini and Veal Jus ($538). The veal chop is fried to perfection – the meat is tender to the bite and tastes delicious, and the dish exquisitely showcases the versatility of porcini mushrooms as an accompaniment.
 
Whether to sample a seasonal speciality such as the porcini or just to enjoy an excellent, authentic Italian meal, you can count on Sabatini to deliver time and again. Porcini mushrooms promotion is available from 4 September to 8 October 2017.
 
 
Sabatini Ristorante Italiano
 
3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui East
2733 2000
 
 
 
 
(Edited on 6 Sep 2017)

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