I have spent the last 9 years since I moved to Hong Kong not realising DiVino Wine Bar and Restaurant was a restaurant. Sure, it says it in the name, but I never looked closely enough. And no, I don’t need glasses thank you very much! I assumed it to be a bar – it is in a prime location after all, and always seems to be packed with patrons enjoying a drink so it was a fair assumption. To my surprise, DiVino is the oldest restaurant on Wyndham Street.
As it turns out, there’s a lot more than meets the eye – or at least mine anyway. The front of the venue facing the street has high tables, well suited for a few beverages. With a reasonably priced wine list, and free antipasti snacks served from 6 – 8 pm. DiVino there’s no surprise it’s popular with the post-work crowd. The venue extends well back from the street into a dining area so you can always opt for a table a distance from the bar if preferred.
In common with many Italian restaurants, DiVino has an extensive menu, which we’re informed refreshes frequently and there is a special seasonal menu too – for our visit this was the black truffle menu, which helped us to choose one of our evening’s dishes.
To start, we opted for the Vitello Tonnato – thinly sliced roast veal with a light tuna, capers and anchovies mayonnaise. The veal was certainly tasty, but the dressing lacked any of the expected classic punch. Far better was our other starter, the seared Ahi Tuna from the black truffle menu. Served simply on a bed of creamed carrots and sweet baby carrots it’s not exactly a classic Italian dish, but the black truffle shavings added a pleasant aroma and taste to this dish.
Of course, we had to try a pasta but not wanting to get too full, we opted to share one – thankfully the kitchen helped us split the dish – I’m not sure we could have managed it at the table! The linguine pasta tossed with Maine lobster, fresh tomato and basil were divine – the sauce was well balanced and didn’t overpower the delicate taste of the lobster while the basil added the perfect herb accompaniment. Simple but perfectly executed.
Our other main had a whole page on the menu just to itself. We were intrigued and had to try it – Porchetta di Ariccia – traditional roast pork from Italy (of course!), served with a potato puree and artichokes. The pork had a wonderful savoury taste with hints of rosemary and garlic – a great combination which paired well with the potato puree.
So there is certainly more at DiVino than meets the eye. As they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Address: Shop 1, Winsome House, 73 Wyndham St, Central
Phone: 2167 8883
Word by Neil Bowen