Pure Indulgence at 2 Michelin-Star 8 1/2 Otte e Mezzo Bombana

By Sophie Steiner, August 27, 2021

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We were supposed to go on a trip last week. It got cancelled. Just like everyone else’s travel plans. So we were left with the unexpected surprise of free time, plus the added bonus of a little extra cash in the bank. What to do? In the wise words of Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford, "Treat Yo' Self."  

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And that we did, at 8 1/2 Otte e Mezzo Bombana.

An extension of the 3 Michelin Star venue (of the same name) in Hong Kong, Chef Bombana and Sicilian-born Executive Chef Riccardo La Perna have recreated the same lux, fine dining affair on the north Bund at – a now 2 Michelin Star venue.

About six months ago, Chef Gabriele Delgrossi joined the team in Shanghai, after moving down from Beijing, bringing with him years of expertise. 

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The entire experience here is pure indulgence, with the highest quality ingredients being thrown wherever they will stick, coupled with an unmatched level of service and stellar Bund views. And your WeChat balance will take a hit for that, but every shameless bite of expertly executed everything makes it worthwhile. 

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The most affordable way to live that ‘baller on a budget’ lifestyle is with the RMB698 (+10% service charge) 4-course lunch set, with the option to add on any of the a la carte starters, pastas, mains and desserts. Or, for the next few weeks – while black truffles remain in season – you have the option of splurging on the black truffle-centric lunch menu from RMB1,498.

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The current lunch menu just received a seasonal upgrade, offering diners the freshest flavors of summer. To begin, an amuse bouche of Foamed Mozzarella is served with tomato water and flecked with a dried house-made tomato powder and slivers of briny olive.

An array of table bread and crisps is served with your choice of three different olive oils, spanning an aromatic Sicilian blend hailing from the chef’s hometown to a fruity Tuscany alternative with a slightly bitter, earthy finish. 

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Lightly pan-roasted Australian octopus, or Polipo, arrives in cylindrical pleats, dotted with a slightly acidic yet fruity citrus emulsion. The charred exterior gives way to a tender, snappy chew, cooked to a level befitting, well, two Michelin stars. An umami-rich chutney of petite diced olives, celeriac and tomato is hidden below the cephalopod’s tentacles.

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An unorthodox rendition of Lasagna sees a dense spread of zucchini, leek and parmigiano swaddled by homemade fresh egg pasta, all perched atop a whipped eggplant sauce. A creamy layer of soft-melted burrata holds a crisped culatello ham slice in place, resulting in a bite that is unmistakably Italian. 

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For a main course, choose between the Merluzzo – a pan-roasted Antarctic Ocean toothfish bathed in a yellow bell pepper emulsion, flanked by cherry tomatoes and lemon jelly, all soaking in a vegetable clam broth; or the Vitello, a roasted veal rib eye center cut coated in a thin layer of both porcini flour and semolina, then butter fried and crowned with slow-braised porcini mushroom stalks. The delicate meat is coupled with an equally subtle quenelle of whipped celeriac, fresh summer peas and chiffonade basil. 

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Dessert offers two colder items to keep the heat at bay. First up, a Sicilian Cassata showcases whorls of vanilla, pistachio and chocolate semifreddo encasing a freeze-dried piece of tart rhubarb. The spiraled dessert rests atop a blanket of cherry and berry coulis, garnished with meringue tufts and candied orange. 

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The classic Sgroppino, arguably the most refreshing dessert in town, involves a tableside display of mashing lemon sorbet and vanilla ice cream together with grappa, limoncello and champagne, resulting in a fluffy whipped custard that is equal parts bright and tart yet lusciously creamy, speckled with shaved lemon rind. 

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A meal ends with an assortment of Petite Fours – citrus jelly, lemon curd-dolloped biscuits and a traditional chocolate opera cake – best enjoyed with the restaurants signature Shakerato, available both with or sans alcohol. 

The menu evolves every few months to ensure only the highest quality and in-season produce and proteins are utilized, and that repeat diners always have something new and exciting to look forward to. 

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For dinner, the menu unfolds into a full-on sensory experience, with a 6-course RMB1,880 seasonal dinner menu, and the option to add on wine pairing for RMB880. Or RMB2,680 for a 7-course meal focused on in-season truffles and the classics, with the option to add on wine pairing for RMB1,180 for four glasses or RMB2,080 for five. 

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See a listing for 8 1/2 Otte e Mezzo Bombana.

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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