January 9th, 2012
For more than two decades, Va Bene has offered it’s elegant style of classic Italian trattoria dining in the buzzing Hong Kong nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fong. It’s opening represented a breaking of new ground- a fine-dining Italian restaurant that was independent of the five star hotels in Hong Kong. The concept of high quality and authentic regional Italian dishes- prepared from the finest quality imported ingredients- has successfully stood the test of time- and Va Bene remains as popular today as it was when it first opened- a veritable institution among Hong Kong’s Italian restaurants. In recent years the restaurant has re-located around the corner from its original home into new premises- with the intimate style and ambiance of the original restaurant being carefully re-created. Va Bene has also welcomed the arrival of a new Executive Chef- Giuseppe Maria Brancati- who has refreshed the menu with his signature dishes- combining vibrant flavours of seasonal ingredients with the traditional provincial ingredients of Italy to present a carefully balanced culinary experience. Va Bene is owned and operated by the highly respected Gaia Group , who manage other leading Italian restaurants in Hong Kong such as Gaia and Isola . The combination of the authentic regional trattoria style Italian cuisine, within an elegant dining space, and with a location at the heart of Hong Kong’s most famous nightlife precinct, provide the key elements to the longevity and popularity of Va Bene. The restaurant is surely true to it’s name – “va bene” – meaning “all goes well” .
The bar at the front entrance to Va Bene
The main dining room with wine cellar along one wall
Va Bene is located within a street level space- the facade features travertine and full height glass windows overlooking the streetscape. The bar and reception are adjacent to the doorway, with a couple of tables placed at the front windows offering a great view of the constant stream of pedestrians outside. The main dining room has an elongated proportion and features the classic dark timber furnishings of the typical Italian trattoria style- with timber flooring and a contrasting light colored ceiling. A feature is the glass fronted wine cellar that extends up the length of one wall, and opposite, in an alcove off the main dining room, is the elegant private dining room. Further into the main room- the rear dining section is on a slightly raised level that overlooks the tables to the front. Tables are elegantly set with crisp white linen. Lighting is subdued, creating a warmth and intimacy to the dining experience.
The private dining room – off to one side of the main space
The bar with counter seating and small tables at front windows
Executive Chef Guiseppe Maria Brancati has recently updated the traditional provincial Italian dining menu with some of his special creations. The menu features classic Italian dishes such as pastas and pizzas, with seasonal grilled seafood and meats. The menu opens with Antipasti selections including Beef Carpacio with black truffle puree, rocket leaves and fresh parmesan; Minestrone vegetable soup; and Burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes, rocket leaves and anchovies fragrance.
Pizzas and Pasta feature traditional dishes such as Margherita pizza- with tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil; and Capricciosa- with cooked ham, artichokes, mushrooms, black olives, mozzarella and tomato sauce. Pastas include Linguine with langoustine, fresh tomatoes and light pesto sauce; and home made black Tagliolini with Maine Lobster and cherry tomatoes.
Featured Pesci and Carni dishes include Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna in black sesame crust with sweet and sour red onion; and Cotoletta all Milanese- veal cutlet “Milanese” style served with rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes.
Ever-popular Italian Desserts such as Tiramisu, and selections of artisan farmhouse cheeses complete the menu.
The wine cellar features an extensive selection of mostly Italian wines- sourced from the leading wine districts of Italy- including Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia, Sicily, and Veneto. Selected French wines compliment the Italian wines. The cellar holds a wide variety of vintages, and with prices in a range comfortable to all budgets.
Tartara di Tonno e mela verde con salsa allo yogurt ed erba cipollina- Yellow Fin Tuna and green apple tartar with yoghurt and chives sauce
Calamaretti in crosta di pistachio su vellutata di cannellini- Pan fried Baby Squid in pistachio crust with cannellini beans puree
Chef Giuseppe Maria Brancati’s Special dish- Disco di Burrata e verdurine profumata al timo con cialde- Thyme flavoured Burrata mousse with crunchy vegetables and toast
Chef Giuseppe Maria Brancati’s Special dish- Capesante scottate su specchio di Burrata liquida e polvere di prosciutto di Parma- Pan-fried Sea Scallops served with liquid burrata cheese and parma ham powder
Va Bene – Hong Kong
Address: 17-22 Lan Kwai Fong, Central. Hong Kong
MTR: Central station – 5 minutes walk
Reservations: +852. 2845 5577
Lunch 12:00 noon ~ 2:30 pm Monday – Saturday
Dinner: 6:30 pm ~ 11:30 pm Monday – Saturday
6:30 pm ~ 11:00pm Sunday & Public Holidays