April 24, 2013

Pink and raw

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I don't have many occasions to do business lunches these days, as I normally just get something really simple and (often) local for a quick bite.  Actually, these days I'm likely to be found sitting at my desk having salad for lunch... but that's another story.  Well, I didn't want to have the task of choosing the restaurant, so I was quite happy to go along with the choice of Carnevino.

I hadn't been to Carnevino before.  I haven't been to Mario Batali's other Hong Kong outpost Lupa, either.  Lupa has been panned by every single foodie friend whose opinion I trust - as well as other friends who aren't foodies - and that is no mean feat...  Carnevino fared somewhat better in terms of feedback, but given it's another Dining Concepts restaurant... I was in no real hurry to check it out, at least not on my own dime.

I decided to check out the menu online before my visit.  I had decided to forgo ordering à la carte in favor of the set lunch, and curiously the first thing that caught my attention was... duck confit!  On second thought, though, I figured I should order something with beef... and the choice was between the flat iron steak or the burger.

Insalata Romana - on the surface this would be a "healthy" item, and a continuation of the two salad lunches I'd had earlier this week.  But the dressing that was liberally doused on top of the Romaine lettuce and purple endives had a ton of Parmigiano-Reggiano... so not exactly light.  I did like the little strip of anchovy.

Carnevino burger - as my friend chose the flat iron steak (perhaps she felt that grabbing a burger with her hands during a business lunch was un-ladylike?) it naturally behooved me to choose the burger.  I asked for medium-rare, and figured that this place would know how to get their "doneness" right.  The burger arrived and I was a little surprised to find that grill marks on the bun, but it certainly smelled delicious.

I took my knife and cut the burger in half, revealing a very pink and moist patty.  In fact it was pretty raw - not that I am complaining.  It was refreshing to see a place in Hong Kong not afraid to serve up beef that was raw.  The pancetta and cheddar helped to make this a very delish burger indeed.

Wanting to make up for my sinful burger, I opted for - you guessed it - the salad on the side instead of fries.  This was a huge plate of lettuce, radicchio, shallots, chick peas...etc. together with some salumi and cheese, dressed in some vinaigrette that was a little too acidic for my taste.  I think I could only finish half of this... but guess which ingredient I picked out and made sure there was none left?  Heh heh heh...

Sooo... altogether not a bad lunch, but not quite fair to judge the place based on a simple 2-course set lunch.  Maybe one of these days I'll come back and try some of the more interesting items... but only if I could get others to come with me.  That may yet prove to be the challenge...

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