When done well, nothing quite compares to Italian food. It could be Black Squid Ink Risotto at a Michelin-starred restaurant in a luxury five-star hotel in Milan. It may be a plate of Linguine Pasta with Seafood at a tiny family-run restaurant in a small town in Abruzzo tucked away off the street. It might even be at a friend’s apartment in Rome who has prepared a home-cooked classic Mushroom Lasagna with Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese.
Like a glass of Barolo or a bottle of Ferrari Brut, once you have tried Italian food as it was truly meant to be, it’s hard to go back to the way you knew it before. What a delight it is then, to have found Oggi Enoteca.
I must admit, I was excited to hear that the Oggi group was opening a new restaurant in Shenzhen. Oggi opened its first branch in Guangzhou in 2005. Over a decade later, the Italian brand has opened another four restaurants in Guangzhou and one other in Shekou. Each branch represents a different aspect of Italian culture and cuisine, but they have all become synonymous with quality in the dining scene of Southern China.
Their restaurants are the places to be seen and the guest list on any given night can be like a who’s who of some of the most famous people in the city. The likes of World Cup winning football coaches Marcelo Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari, Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, and world-renowned pianist Maksim Mrvica are all counted amongst Oggi’s guests.
In UpperHills, Oggi has found the perfect place to open their latest restaurant. Boasting some of the most exclusive fashion brands and the world’s first ever Muji hotel, the newly opened complex is fast becoming one of the hippest areas in town.
The layout and furniture are exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Oggi name. From the simple and clean modern seating to the touch of quality you can feel when you take your seat or run your hand across the table top. The lighting is set perfectly to a warm glow. The music is at a volume where it can be enjoyed without it impeding on the conversation. Oh, it’s Andrea Bocelli, in case you were curious.
What is most striking about the restaurant is the wine collection located on the second-floor balcony. Accessed by a spiral staircase, those who ascend the steps are rewarded with one of the finest selections of wines this side of Tuscany. For Oggi Enoteca, which Enoteca translates as Wine Shop, wine is at the heart of their concept for the restaurant.
In fact, speak to the staff and they will be on hand to recommend a bottle of wine that pairs perfectly with any of the dishes. Speaking of which…
The food menu is like a tour of Italy. Reading through the dishes you get a real sense of the history and the culture of the country. Unsure of which part of the Beautiful Country to visit, we ask the manager, Alessandro Petrini to be our guide and to select some dishes for us.
There are several famous quotes included in Oggi’s menu. From Irish poets to Italian proverbs, they are full of wit and no small amount of wisdom. One in particular reads, “You don’t age while seated for a meal”.
As the chef prepares our dishes, we have fascinating chat with Alessandro. We talk about Italian politics, football, and everything in between. And true to the quote in the menu, by the time our meal arrives, I do not feel I aged one bit. It’s a welcome reminder that a good conversation can be as nourishing as a Calzone Folded Pizza or a Seafood Stew from Tuscany.
Another quote from the menu reads, ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn’t eaten well’. After the meal we were about to enjoy, we would have no problem doing any of the aforementioned.
The starting courses set the bar high. Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado and Quinoa Salad arrive alongside Seared Tuna peppered in Pistachio Crust with Sweet Peppers Cream and Sicilian Caponata. The salad is rich with hearty and fresh ingredients, but it is the tuna dish that really captures the imagination with its mix of European and Middle Eastern flavors.
The starters leave us wanting more, and thankfully, more dishes promptly arrive. A risotto, a dish that is hard to find in China the way it is intended, and a ravioli, a dish I struggle to find in China at all. The Radicchio Risotto is a piece of art in balancing the bitter Italian chicory and the bite of the gorgonzola. While the black colored ravioli catches the eye, it is the inspired filling of poached salmon and mascarpone cheese that stays with you long after your last bite.
There is still more to come, however, as the Pan-Fried Sea Bass Fillet and the Roasted Rack Of Lamb appears. The Sea Bass comes with roasted potatoes and a sauce of made from capers, olives, and oregano. The pan-fried fish is locally caught, but tasting it you would be forgiven to feel you were in a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast. The Rack Of Lamb is served with a puffy potato sufflè and a Montepulciano red wine reduction. Farmed in New Zealand, it is truly a superior cut of meat.
All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that includes a meal at Oggi Enoteca. Yet it’s no time to despair because before we leave there is still the desserts to sample. The selection proves to be inspired as the rest of the courses. The Fresh Strawberry Tiramisu is recommended for two, but you would be forgiven if you wanted to order one of these all for yourself. The Hot Chocolate Cake is served with Vanilla Ice Cream, providing the kind of contrast that all fine desserts have.
After I take my last spoonful of tiramisu, I am left with an unfamiliar feeling. My heart and stomach could not be more content, but as I cast a glance at the menu on the table, I see so many more dishes I still wish to try. And as I leave, I’m already planning my next visit.
Oggi Enoteca truly is a tour of Italy and its rich and beautiful cuisine. One evening you come and through the Radicchio Risotto take a trip through Northern Italy. Come for lunch and explore Sicily by sampling the Seared Tuna with Pistachio Crust or the Melanzane alla Parmigiana.
So, what are you waiting for? Begin your tour of Italy today with Oggi Enoteca.
Address: S205, 2nd Floor, UpperHills, No.5001 Huanggang Road, Futian District, Shenzhen (深圳市福田区黄岗路5001号深业上城二层S205铺)
Tel: +86 (755) 88662289
At Oggi Enoteca, they believe each dish has a wine that it is meant to be paired with. Chef Giuseppe Di Silvestro shared with us his recommendations…
- INSALATA DI PATATE DOLCI, AVOCADO E QUINOA
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES, AVOCADO AND QUINOA SALAD
A new concept of salad following the latest healthy trends using wholesome ingredients like quinoa and avocado.
CENTINE BIANCO “Banfi” IGT – TOSCANA (ITALY)
Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio
- TONNO SCOTTATO IN SALSA DI PISTACCHI, CREMA DI PEPERONI DOLCI E CAPONATA SICILIANA
SEARED TUNA IN PISTACHIO CRUST WITH SWEET PEPPERS CREAM AND SICILIAN CAPONATA
That definitely a plate inspired by Sicilian tradition with middle-east influences. The sweet and sour of eggplants reminds to the Arabic domination of Sicily.
CUVEE ROSÉ “Santa Margherita” IGT – (ITALY)
Grape variety: Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon
- RISOTTO AL RADICCHIO CON FONDUTA DI GORGONZOLA
RADICCHIO RISOTTO WITH GORGONZOLA CHEESE FONDUE
Typical risotto from north of Italy (Veneto), which balances brilliantly the bitterness of radicchio and the spiciness of Gorgonzola cheese.
CHIANTI “Barone Ricasoli” DOCG – TOSCANA (ITALY)
Grape variety: Sangiovese
- RAVIOLI SALMONE E ANETO, GAMBERI SALTATI E BISQUE RIDOTTA
DILL AND SALMON STUFFED HOMEMADE RAVIOLI, SAUTEED PRAWNS AND BISQUE REDUCTION
Strikingly looking black handmade ravioli with squid ink, poached salmon, and mascarpone cheese filling with a reduction of prawns bisque and cherry tomatoes.
SAUVIGNON BLANC PRAIL “Colterenzio” DOC – SUBTIROL (ITALY)
Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc
- BRANZINO ALLA GRIGLIA CON PATATE ARROSTO
PAN-FRIED SEA BASS FILLET WITH ROASTED POTATOES, CAPERS AND CHERRY-TOMATO SAUCE
Pan-fried local caught sea-bass with crispy potatoes and Mediterranean tomato sauce with capers, olives, and oregano.
PINOT GRIGIO “Santa Margherita” DOC – VENETO (ITALY)
Grape variety: Pinot Grigio
- COSTOLETTE DI AGNELLO, FLAN DI PATATE CON CAROTE NOVELLE GLASSATE E SALSA AL MONTEPULCIANO
ROASTED RACK OF LAMB, POTATO FLAN WITH GLAZED BABY CARROTS AND MONTEPULCIANO WINE SAUCE
New-Zealand farmed rack of lamb with a puffy potato sufflè and Montepulciano red wine reduction.
PROMIS CA’MARCANDA “Gaja” IGT – TOSCANA (ITALY)
Grape variety: Merlot/Shiraz