Saturday, 13 February 2016

AMMO - home made pasta, simple flavours and deliciousness

Tucked away behind Pacific Place shopping centre at Admiralty and a part of the HK Asia Society Centre is AMMO, an amazing little restaurant that specialises in homemade pasta.  It's a little difficult to find, but well worth the effort.

As you walk past the Banyan tree, which was stuck by lightening  during a typhoon in 2008 but continues to grow, and round the cultural court of the Asia Society, you're instantly taken aback by the shiny, shiny building that houses AMMO.  The heritage listed site, which was once home to a 19th century explosives compound, has been transformed into what has to be one of the funkiest restaurants in Honkers.  

The most striking element of the Joyce Wang designed interior was the liberal use of copper throughout, which gives off a luxurious yet industrial feel, that with imagination hints at the site's military history.  Especially the design and pattern behind the restaurant's bar.  The restaurant itself is almost entirely enclosed by floor to ceiling glass, which enhances the modern feel of the dining room. Surrounded by the lush tropical jungle you find throughout Hong Kong, it's impossible to believe that civilisation is only meters away.

We were guided to our bench style share table, which was the dominant style of seating within the dining room, save a few comfy looking lounge style tables along one glass wall.  It was appropriate that most of the dining room was set up for sharing, given the approach that AMMO takes to it's menu, which is split between a share slash tapas menu and a traditional a la carte selection (which also looked good for sharing).

AMMO is an Italian restaurant with hints of Asian influences, with the menu created by Executive Sous Chef - Chris Yim.  Specialising in home made pasta, there were a plethora of options that really appealed, which made our final selections just a little harder that we'd have thought!  Shortly after placing our orders, our waiter sauntered over with a healthy looking bread basked and poured a liberal helping of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on our side plates.

While we could have shared our starters, we decided that our best options were to devour our own choices, which for the girl was the Fassone beef tartare which was served with crispy bruschetta and a rocket salad.  The perfect round serving of beef came pre-mixed with the usual condiments that adorn a tartare, the gherkin, egg yolk and onion all mixed beautifully.  The rocket mostly hid the perfection that was the tartare, but it couldn't stay hidden for long.  The sweet beef was clearly high quality, was incredibly tasty, especially when combined with the lightly toasted bruschetta.  I'm not sure that the rocket really added anything to the plate, save the presentation, but perhaps the slight peppery hints from the rocket helped with the balance.

I'd chosen the slow cooked organic egg with asparagus, a soft and foamy potato fondue and a perfect quenelle of caviar.  It looked beautiful, the asparagus spears lined up perfectly and the soft sphere of an egg sitting on top.  There was a little toasty crumble sitting on the egg that I didn't really love, but that was quickly forgotten once I split the egg open and the gooey yolk exploded over the asparagus and mixed in with the potato foam.  The slightly bitter taste of the asparagus was well balanced with the creamy yolk, but the entire dish was missing a little saltiness, which was somewhat resolved by mixing in the caviar.  Overall, it was a delicious plate of food, but would have been spectacular if there was just a little extra seasoning in the potato foam.

While the starters were quite delicious, there was no doubting that the star of the show was the home made pasta, which came with a warning on the menu that it would take approximately twenty minutes to prepare.  I have to say, it was well worth the wait!  The girl's pappardelle with home made veal and pork meatballs with a parmesan cheese was just superb.  Sure, the pappardelle was cooked to perfection, light and al dente, but it was the sauce and those meatballs that stole the show.  Each of the delectable little spheres of meat were a taste explosion, and even though the girl only allowed me to taste one, it was something I won't soon forget!  I could tell that SC was enamoured with the meatballs, the way she left them until the very end to finish off was a clear sign.  She did run the risk of me stealing one off her plate, but I had my own distractions!

My distraction was the spaghetti with Boston lobster, rosemary and tomatoes, which proved that you don't need a lot of ingredients in true Italian fare.  Needless to say, my spaghetti was expertly cooked and wonderfully flavoured.  There was a little hit of chilli in my tomato and rosemary sauce, that was nicely mixed through my pasta.  The heat was wonderful, coming in layers, it didn't smack-you-in-the-face, but built over the dish to let you acclimatise to the heat.  Best of all, the heat was sensational against the sweetness of the expertly cooked lobster, the sweetness and heat working in perfect unison.  If I'd not been so engrossed in my own pasta, I'd definitely have nicked one of the girl's last meatballs though!

Even though we'd waited the twenty minutes for our pasta, things had been moving at a rapid pace, so we decided to slow things down a little and order dessert.  There were a couple of interesting looking options, but the girl went for the most obviously Italian dessert on the menu, the tiramisu.  Pre-warned that it was a deconstructed tiramisu, we were not surprised when an arty looking grouping of spherical tubes and rectangles was placed on the table.  A sprinkling of chocolate flakes covered the cream and sponge creation, which was well balanced with a hint of coffee flavour combining with the firm creamy rolls.  It was quite nice, even though the sponge was ever so slightly on the dry side -which may have been resolved if there had been more chocolate sauce.

Looking pretty as a picture, my lime curd with green apple, greek yoghurt and mango sorbet, was more modern contemporary art than dessert!  The splash of colours were offset by the shiny black plate, which reflected the orange of the mango sorbet.  I loved the sweet sourness of the lime curd, which married well with the sweet mango sorbet, but I had a little bit of an issue with the cubes of apple that accompanied the dish.  The apple was not quite as crispy as I like, and therefor the texture was a little off putting.  I'd have also liked to see a slightly more 'tart' apple accompanying the dessert, which for me would have added an extra level of complexity.

Minor foibles aside, our meal at AMMO was superb, bordering on spectacular.  Given the relatively competitive pricing on the menu, we were incredibly impressed with our meal.  Not only was the setting just to our liking, the service was super friendly and the meal transpired so smoothly from beginning to end, time just seemed to slip by!  So good was the meal that we were immediately planning a return visit, something which rarely happens for us.

At one point I left the dining room to find the bathroom, and found myself meandering through the Asia Society Centre, which reminded me so much of the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, and one of our favourite restaurants GOMA (see post here).  Definitely a place that we're going to go back an visit at some very near point in the future.

I can happily say that we left AMMO on a high, walking out of the restaurant feeling sated and happy, which it must be said, doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.  

Yep, if you've not been to AMMO yet, make sure you get along and check it out - you won't be disappointed!

No bowl of pasta is complete without a glass of red - or so the girl tells me!
An extra pinch of salt with the potato foam and this would have been mind blowing!
Perfectly cooked pasta with a generous helping of lobster
Copper features throughout the AMMO interior
As part of the Joyce Wang design, there are these staircases to nowhere!
Kind of cool, but good use of the space too
AMMO is like a fishbowl of funky design and great food
Forming part of the larger Asia Society HK Centre


  1. The menu is created by the Executive Sous Chef - Chris Yim. Nothing to do with Roland & Tony ... Roland has left for ages and Tony is not the head chef too. Chris Yim is the head chef there !!! Tony doesn't even come in for menu tasting

    1. Thanks for the info - I'll update the post to reflect.


Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...