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A classic Hong Kong eatery has been revitalised and rebranded with the arrival of Ramato on Hollywood Road.

Change can come in many forms. It can come in big, bold waves, and it can come in little evolutions. There’s little doubt Hong Kong is changing in big ways – we all feel it – but why that’s a game-changer for many, sometimes change is a more subtle force.

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Take 208 Duecento Otto for example. Most of us have graced that Hollywood Road shrine to Italian comfort food at one time or another; in a city where many restaurants measure their life cycles in the same terms as monarch butterflies, 208 lasted the distance, until now. Replacing JIA’s iconic pizza and pasta joint is Ramato, a new eatery that, in serving “hearty and authentic southern Italian food” seems oddly similar to its predecessor and that kind of subtle shift just might be what we need during such turbulent times.

A classic Hong Kong eatery has been revitalised and rebranded with the arrival of Ramato on Hollywood Road.

The ‘new’ Italian restaurant – named for the Yamato tomato of Puglia – will be helmed by Naples-native chef Antimo Maria Merone, who will serve traditional southern Italian fare inspired by his own childhood and paired with happy hour aperitivos. Sound familiar?

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Home inspired signature dishes include sauteed clams with garlic, parsley, Datterino tomatoes, and white wine; Dry Spaghetti, Ramato Tomato Sauce, a re-invention of the iconic Spaghetti Pomodori, using dry durum wheat spaghetti with Ramato’s signature tomato sauce made from Ramato tomatoes and preserved cherry tomatoes, Parmigiano, and basil; Homemade Pappardelle Ragu with slowly simmered eggplant and Sagabuta pork ragu; and 1.5kg Baked Seabass, a local bass baked with Mediterranean herbs, and finished with a sauce created from Datterino tomato, clam water, white wine and parsley. 

A classic Hong Kong eatery has been revitalised and rebranded with the arrival of Ramato on Hollywood Road.

To conclude the feast, indulge in one of the many traditional southern Italian-style desserts on offer, which range from classic Tiramisu to Limoncello Baba, a traditional Neapolitan baba soaked in limoncello syrup, served with lemon cream and sour cherries; and Sicilian Cannolo, deep-fried cannolo shells filled with sweet buffalo ricotta and topped with Sicilian pistachios and candied oranges, come highly recommended.

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Italian mixologist Mario Calderone of one Michelin-starred Duddell’s Hong Kong has designed the beverage program at Ramato, offering simple and familiar drink staples centred around four categories: Italian Classics, Modern Classics, Hall of Fame Classics, and Signature Drinks.

The former 208 space has been updated with bold print wallpaper and a lively new terrace format by JIA’s design team, bringing a modern touch to a venue steeped in history.

A classic Hong Kong eatery has been revitalised and rebranded with the arrival of Ramato on Hollywood Road.

The downstairs bar area highlights a specially commissioned hand-painted mural of Napoli by Elsa Jeandediu, while the stairway that leads to the upstairs dining room prominently features portraiture by emerging Ghanian artist Wahab Saheed, as well as process-based canvas work by American artist Jeff Elrod.

Because there’s something comforting in the familiar.

For more Wining & Dining inspiration click here.

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