Double happiness at Trattoria Doppio Zero, Sheung Wan

Why is Doppio Zero called Doppio Zero?  It means double zero in Italian.  So does this restaurant have a license to kill?  Does the owner like roulette? Actually it’s the finest flour under the Italian rating system.  Flour so fine that it’s super fine.

Down to bizness.  I was there for Sunday brunch (1pm) with a gaggle of foodies, so they knew their macarons from their macaroons.  Only found out after that this place was Michelin-recommended.

I should add that before this Sunday brunch review I was here for dinner the week before, so it’s sort of influenced by both experiences.

Descend into the pasta cave.

Simple but not bare.  It wasn’t full at all that Sunday afternoon, which suits me just fine.

First up was the signature truffled fried oysters ($40 each), apparently a fav of most patrons.  The fragrance was apparent once it hit the table and you should dig in immediately while its warm.  Enjoying the slightly crunchy exterior and molten inside, together with the spinach cream and parsley lending flavour, I watched in amusement as one friend had a mini foodgasm.

Looks like an egg white doesn’t it?  Next was the burrata cheese with pickled onion, watercress, eggplant jam and 15 year aged balsamic vinegar ($95).  It was the first time I had burrata, being mozzarella-ish on outside, ricotta-esque creaminess on the inside.  The balsamic was a smooth ride and not overpowering, and everything went together nicely.

Linguini vongole with Manila clams, pancetta, chilis and parsley ($120), was next.  It seemed slightly salty but still very edible with some nice white wine sauce.

The “smashed” meatball frittata with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and house greens ($110).  Meatballs were more crumbly than usual, presumably from being “smashed”.  All round yum and all too filling!

To go with the eggy dish above, the baccala hash, being fried potatoes and spicy ‘Nduja sausage ($48).  I didn’t really see the sausage, but the potatoes were firm, relatively dry with a very slight crunch.

And finally, the desserts.  Co-owner Kevin was nice enough to comp us free dessert even though we were already stuffed before even ordering the one dessert to share, the affogato.

Something that I also enjoyed over last time’s dinner, the unique yin yang affogato, composed of milk tea gelato, an espresso shot and a peanut butter cookie ($40).  You pour the aromatic espresso over the gelato.  The peanut butter cookie was OK but a bit tricky to eat with a fork.

Lemon polenta cake with fresh raspberries, lemon curd and rosemary scented cream ($40 – on the house!).  A relatively light cake with subtle flavours, this went down easily.

Coconut panna cotta with kaffir lime gelee ($40 – on the house!).  The coconut gives it slightly stronger flavour than usual panna cotta and the lime freshens things up.

Total was $631 after service, or $158 each, after the very nice gesture of two free desserts compliments of the house.  Didn’t order drinks, but we were overflowing and with good food, so can’t complain.

Service was friendly and the waiters will engage with you, especially if you make an effort to learn all their names, at which we failed miserably.  They were pretty knowledgeable about the menu.  Last time though as one of us knew the co-owner he sat down and had a quick chat with us, naturally not something that can be replicated every dinner, every night.  If you’re lucky (and stay til the end of the shift), you might also get to say hi to the chef Jake.  Overall it’s a not a massive operation which gives it a cosy feel, and most importantly, it has “heart”!

One thing that we were disappointed to learn was sold out that day, was their Hong Kong style egg waffle with Nutella and ricotta stuffing, orange curd and moscato syrup, another signature dish.  So much for waffles for brunch!

As this place is known for its fresh, lovingly handmade pasta which we didn’t have much of for brunch, I should mention dinner’s beetroot ravioli with gorgonzola, Italian butter and poppy seeds, and ricotta gnocchetti with caprese, cherry tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella.  No photos sadly.  The beetroot raviolio was unique, purple and a nice, healthy, vegetabley touch to your dinner, but the ricotta gnocchetti was cheesy, creamy and amazing.

It’s hard to go to back to normal, limp or rubbery pasta after this.  Taste the difference, seriously.

Restaurant rating: NOM NOM NOM NOM N- (out of five)

Address: G/F, The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan 上環文咸東街22號地下(地庫店)

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 6-11pm; Sun 11am-4pm

Tel: 2851 0682

Web: official, official Facebook, Openrice English, Openrice 中文, The Wanderlister Asia review

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