I think it is natural for someone to have certain level of expectation when a restaurant is located in Shangri-la Hotel. With a few unexpected guests I switched my Sunday lunch from Domani to Angelini on Mother’s Day
, hoping that a Sunday buffet brunch would please everyone’s palate. I was also looking forward to their pasta creations, as KC mentioned that Chef Vittorio made the best and most authentic pasta in Hong Kong. However, after the visit , I realized that upscale in Hong Kong doesn't necessarily imply quality.
At noon, the five of us entered the unassuming entrance of Angelini on the second floor of Shangri-La. The Sunday Brunch, priced at $438 (+10% Service), included unlimited Prosecco and Orange /Grapefruit Juice, buffet antipasti and desserts, and a choice of main from a selection of 7-8 entrees
. When we were seated in a secluded corner with round table and high chairs, the waiter promptly presented us with some prosecco and bread basket. While the bread looked crusty and fresh, they were hardly warm and utterly average in quality
. The pesto sauce condiment helped to improve the flavor a bit, but we soon moved on to the antipasti table for more selections.
Plates of seemingly authentic antipasti
spread along the long buffet table. But upon closer look, most of them appeared only modestly fresh
. Each of us shared and sampled a bit of the ham and vegetables, and we got the same reactions: Fresh vegetables
were not particularly fresh, lacking sweetness and flavor if unadorned with dressing. The pickled or grilled vegetables
were properly seasoned but hardly exciting. Cooked meat such as pork loins and porchetta
were dry and flavorless, and the smoked salmon slices
were just as average as the ones you get in supermarkets. The most disappointing portion was the salumi (prosciutto, bresaola, genoa salami, and prosciutto cotto) and cold cut
These were clearly not house-made items, so all they needed to do was to source good quality products and prepare (cut and slice) properly. Somehow they failed to do both, with most of the salumi of pedestrian quality (monotonous salty flavor) and dry
(improperly sliced in advance). I could have gone into any tiny deli store in Manhattan and get better quality and selection of ham, and here in an upscale Italian restaurant all I received was mediocre cold cuts on nice ceramic platters. How frustrating!
I didn’t bother to get a second helping of anything, except for the two kinds of cheese
. The aged parmesan was savory and toothsome and served as a great foil to the beef carpaccio
. I also enjoyed the marinated fennels
which were not commonly found in Hong Kong, and my mom kept going back for more pignoli nuts which were roasted and full of nutty aroma
The seafood platter
on the other table fared slightly better with more satisfying offerings. While the oysters, mantis shrimps, and mussels
weren’t in pristine state, I could at least relish the brininess of the fairly plump fleshes
. We wanted a second helping of the cold crabs
much more so than the chewy conches, but they didn’t refill it after the first serving vanished. The most pleasant surprises were the cold cured seafood, with the sea bass luscious and meaty, the way sea bass should taste like. The marinated grilled salmon belly was also incredibly velvety and moist, with a sashimi-like center rich in fatty lox flavor.
When it’s time to move on to the entrées, that’s when I realized that I had made the wrong choice – I shouldn’t have come for Sunday brunch and instead visit during weekday.
I wasn’t aware that the homemade pasta
, what I was really hoping that my mom could enjoy, were not available during Sunday brunch
. Instead we were offered 5 different meat and seafood entrees and 2 pasta. My 3 companions all opted for Costine di agnello grigliate (Grilled lamb chop with crusted sea salt potatoes and vegetables).
While the lamb chops were properly cooked, the dish was so ordinary and average in presentation and taste that the kitchen should be embarrassed to say that it was a creation of Angelini
My Orata con zucchine all’aglio (Sea bream with courgette and garlic confit)
was more in line with an offer from an upscale Italian restaurant, if they didn’t overcook my fish
which became flaky and dry. I did enjoy the garlic confit and the zucchini slices
which were very appetizing with a strong garlicky essence. In the end cleared all of zucchini while most of the fish was left untouched.
Fortunately, my mom’s pappardelle pomodoro (pappardelle with fresh tomato sauce) was the best of all the entrees
, with the pasta cooked perfectly to al dente
. The tomato sauce was refreshing and clean-tasting
, just enough to coat the pasta without drowning the whole plate. It’s simplicity at its best
. This confirmed KC’s recommendation on Angelini for pasta and my incorrect choice of visiting on a Sunday
We were more than full after the entrées, so we only savored very little of the desserts. I didn’t think we missed out on anything as the desserts were also very unimpressive
. Offerings included the chocolate cake, the mini fruit tarts
, etc, and they were not much better than your neighborhood bakeries (and definitely inferior to most other hotel bakeries I have tried). Too bad that our meals didn’t end with a sweet note, though the time that we had with my mom and friends was really the best part of the meal, which I savored every minute
Knowing that Angelini is supposed to be one of the better Italian restaurants in the city, I couldn’t help but to feel very disappointed by the food.
For the price and the reputation, I think they should excel more than just pasta. The kitchen should at least put some heart to the preparation of imported goods, which I didn’t see during the brunch. So why does this restaurant keep getting all the praises? Is it because of the lack of competition? Or am I just being too demanding? I was so tempted to give a crying face, only decided not to do so because of their strength in pasta which I didn't get to try much this time
. Perhaps I need to revisit on a weekday, but I doubt that just pasta alone can drastically change my opinion about this restaurant.
Bread was average; The pesto sauce fared better
差: Large variety; Low quality and poor preparation
OK Seafood. Cured Seabass & Salmon were great!
These are the only things that I would recommend
Lamb Chops: Nothing exciting
Orata: Zucchini outshone the fish
Pappardelle Pomodoro: Simiple yet satisfying
差: Subpar desserts at Angelini
Cheese, fennels, cured sea bass and salmon belly
Date of Visit: May 10, 2009
Occasion: Mother's Day
Spending per head: Approximately HKD480(Lunch)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3