Risi e Bisi
Date of review: October 23, 2014 | Reviewed by: Esther Wong
Located on Kau U Fong, Risi e Bisi is the sister establishment of neighbouring French seafood restaurant Le Port Parfumé. The dimly-lit space is cosy with a few tables at the front of the restaurant and bar seating along the wall, with more formal seating upstairs. Vintage newspapers have been used to create unique wallpaper, and perhaps one of the greatest features is the giant Coke bottle chandelier that hangs at the entrance. An open bar area allows diners to view all the action as mixologists create their concoctions, attracting mostly a trendy young professional crowd.
The menu is concise here, with just 15 listed options to choose from. We begin our meal with the sinfully satisfying fried scarmoza – an Italian cow’s milk cheese akin to mozzarella – that has a crispy exterior but is melted just to our liking beneath. The overall dish has a subtle smoky flavour, and with the addition of a little lemon juice, keeps you wanting more. Next up was the octopus potato salad, which had clean flavours and the freshness of the seafood was evident, but didn’t make much of an impression. The 72-hour spare rib on the other hand (which is actually marinated for 96 hours), is rubbed with a secret blend of herbs and spices. The tender meat fell off the bone effortlessly. Another dish to order is the strozzapreti pasta with chilli ‘nduja and homemade sausage – the homemade noodle had a springy consistency that was filling without being too heavy, and its tube shape was conducive to retaining the sauces of the dish in each bite. Although not written on the menu, there is currently one dessert on offer: “Autumn fruit” with poached apples, pears, and figs, served with Amaretto cream. While we appreciated the seasonality of this dish, we found it to be a little on the sweet side, with the Amaretto cream an odd addition that masked the fruit flavours.
Drinks are taken seriously here, with a focus on rare bottlings of Japanese whiskies, boutique craft brews, wines sourced from lesser-known areas of Europe, and unique cocktails. We were thoroughly impressed with the cocktails, in particular the Risi’s Whisky Sour, which uses a housemade malted beer syrup that tempers the sometimes overwhelming whisky notes in this drink.
Overall friendly, servers are knowledgeable on the (albeit) small menu, but are happy to give recommendations on what to order and how many dishes to share.
A satisfying meal for two including drinks comes to approximately HK$900, which is good value considering the excellent service, quality ingredients, and convivial atmosphere.