A high class restaurant may symbolize many things, for example, proper service, interesting decor and good food, but Messina has surpassed all these mediocre expectations and presented itself with exemplary results.
First of all, I would like to mention its amiable hospitality. It starts once you exit the elevator doors and extremely welcoming members of staff are just waiting to guide you to your reserved seats. Throughout the entire meal everyone is just so helpful and willing to provide any type of service for you and your companions.
Secondly, I want to mention the restaurant’s interior design. I love the way the restaurant is partitioned into two seating sections. The first ‘room’ is slightly bigger, and is facing a magnifient view, highlighting Hong Kong harbour's majestic grandeur. The second space is a bit more private, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday nights at 8 o’clock or so, a guitar and singer duo will come out to serenade you amongst the other diners. I would also like to draw attention to the partitions themselves. They use beautiful lampshades, of soft yet bright colors to partition. They not only functionally separate the spaces but also give a more romantic lighting source. Apart from those, there are large fixtures on the ceiling whichgive enough brightness.
Last but not certainly not least, is the gourmet delicacies of Messina. The night started off with a basket of the freshest bread you've ever tasted. I personally enjoyed the one with a cherry tomato on top the best. Waiters introduced the olive oil of the night, and poured it into the ceramic container in front of you.
The first course was a little palate cleanser which was a small portion of fennel jelly, topped with a few slices of blood orange and a dollop of orange foam. It was terribly refreshing and made you look forward to the rest of the meal.
The second course were the appetizers. Yup, it’s a plural, because from the menu, you got to choose three kinds of hot or cold portions out of:
Cold: - Italian tomato and Taggiasche olive terrine - yellow fin tuna carpaccio with Sicilian oranges Hot: - sardine in “Beccafico” served with candied cedro - Sicilian red prawn, garlic and parsley
I chose the tomato terrine and 2 portions of the prawn. The tomatoes used in the terrine were terribly refreshing. The flavors blended into the olive mash perfectly. I certainly enjoyed that dish. But I really had a great time with the Sicilian prawns. I had previously tasted this dish before, so therefore, I knew in advance to order two portions, as they only served 1 prawn per order. I definitely recommend you to do the same. The prawns were served in a drizzle of a sensational tomato and garlic sauce, and the garlic was incorporated to give it that little wave of heat on your palate. The prawn itself was so tender and fresh, it tasted as if it was just caught out of the Sicilian waters! It certainly deserved some extra attention.
The third course was a beautiful Malvasia wine deglazed seafood soup in a crunchy bread crust. I enjoyed this soup a lot because of the pieces of seafood in the soup. I especially loved the scallop. It was tasty and tender, it’s shell must be so proud! The abalone and fish pieces were exceptional as well. I liked the crust on top of the soup too, the aroma of the olive oil was very strong and it complemented the flavors in the soup.
Next up was the dry paccheri pasta from Gragnano, served with lobster, scampi, Sicilian red prawns and Pachino tomatoes. I loved this dish. I did. It made your taste buds tingle every time the pasta landed on your tongue. It was cooked to perfection, not too soft, and I simply adored the seafood that went along with it. Most of all the lobster. You’ve GOT to try it! It was so beautiful that I simply could not explain it’s magnificence in words. I loved the tenderness and juiciness of the meat. Yum!
The fourth course was the main course. You had to choose between these three mains: - black Angus prime rib with spring vegetables and a black truffle reduction. It is served with a plate of black truffle mashed potatoes. - Japanese sea bream fillet cooked at a low temperature, with caramelized caponata and baby spinach - Suckling pig on a bed of braised lentils, tropes onion marmalade and some natural jus
I chose the suckling pig because it was the signature dish of Messina. It was evidently a good choice. The skin was the best bit about the pork. It was so crunchy, that you could hear the skin cracking loud and clear when you bit into it! The meat itself literally melted in my mouth! P.S., my piece of pork had a little smiley face on the end! (coincidence?...)
A complimentary blood orange sorbet to cool your tongue was then served. Eat the candied orange slice, it was NOT a garnish, it was delicious! It was nice to get a more fruity citrus flavour after all the heavy courses. Totally refreshing and completely delightful.
Finally, we had arrived at my favorite course of any meal: DESSERT! This time, it was a Passito wine souffle served with a scoop of Bronte pistachio gelato covered with hazelnuts and almonds. I mildly enjoyed the souffle, but only because I was too young to get used to the alcohol. Nevertheless, I found the souffle itself nice and fluffy. The ice cream was not too hard or too soft, so that was good too.
So there you have it, my experience at Messina il Ristorante, and I hope I have convinced you of it’s superiority. Oops, I have forgotten to mention the price. For this menu, it costed around $1000 per head. Pricey, but taking everything into account, it definitely worths every penny.