Sunday, 4 October 2009

Food Journey #25a -- Part I -- Italian Lunch Experience (Isola Bar & Grill)

An old favourite of mine but however, after this visit, I will have to have 2nd thoughts on this. Purpose of the lunch was a client meeting but I was not impressed with the food quality and service and was rather red-faced with the overall impression left.

Best Part of the meal was the bread basket & the main course (grilled sole fillet). The bread basket was fresh, warm, just the way I liked it. The main course was a grilled sole fillet with fresh asparagus, a slightly healthy alternative choice on the menu selection rather than the usual pizza, risotto, pasta and the sole fillet was cooked very well. A dash of lemon was vital to give the sole fillet a good kicking with the slight citrus flavour.

Now comes the disappointment:

The infamous Antipasti Buffet used to my favourite part with such an abundance of food selection which often tickles my fancy including fresh salmon, prosciutto, italian cold cut, grilled Italian peppers, salad, seafood salad, etc. As soon as we approached the buffet area, I had a sense that there was something different this time round. The salad leaves looked very dull & liveless, the salmon was colourless unlike its usual bright orange colour, the prosciutto appeared the quality which one can shop for at Wellcome or ParknShop. The quantity of items also have decreased which didnt leave us with much choices to choose from. Our client also appeared slightly disappointed after I was raving about the quality of Isola's lunch - NOT A GOOD START!

To top up, our client ordered a Mushroom Risotto which was the worst of the bunch. The Arborio rice was still fairly uncooked, it lacked the creaminess of an usual risotto and the lack of Parmaggiano did not help the case either. The dish was definitely not up to my client's standards as she only completed 1/2 the portion and I bluntly asked her to allow myself to try a spoonful and she was right, it was purely bland and boring! TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT

For Dolci, our disappointment was turned into anger. Approached the dessert area and the cakes & cheese selection looked extremely dull and appeared like it had been lying on the same spot since Isola first opened up its doors. Completely switched off my appetite and hoped the final piece of jigsaw - cup of Ice Coffee could rescue the meal. Well, when you can screw up a coffee, that says something about the restaurant. Coffee arrived without sugar and took us around 10 mins to recieve the sugar and during the process, the services from their waiters & waitresses were extremely unattentive.

A so-called Corporate Venue for a Corporate Lunch, this was not an experience or food which I expected. Hello, maybe you are ripping off the Investment Bankers & Lawyers working in IFC but please do something about the quality of your lunch. Simply do not understand how the standard, service, food quality for such venue located in Hong Kong's premium shopping centre have dropped their standards so dramatically. For the price of HKD248 per head, Isola, you were once one of my favourite Italian restaurant in town but now you are the weakest link, good bye!

Happy Eating for now!


Address: Level 3, ifc Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong (

Tel: 2383-8765

Food Quality (5* the highest): *

Price for Lunch (5$ = very expensive): 3/1/2*


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