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Thursday 24 April 2014

Taking a gamble? Bombana plans move into Macau

9th January, 2014 by Euan McKirdy

Acclaimed Italian chef Umberto Bombana announces expansion into the burgeoning Macau dining scene.

Chef Umberto Bombana inspects truffles with Galaxy Entertainment Group's Francis Lui

Chef Umberto Bombana inspects truffles with Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Francis Lui

Macau’s raft of fine dining establishments will welcome a new member next year as celebrated Hong Kong-based chef and ‘King of White Truffles,’ Umberto Bombana, announces the opening of a sister restaurant to his critically acclaimed 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA in the Southern Chinese city in “mid-2015.”

The Special Administrative Region (SAR), which liberalised the gambling industry in the early 2000s with the issuance of six additional gaming licenses, is pushing to diversify its income by steering focus away from the gaming rooms and casino floors and on to the city’s numerous restaurants, floor shows and other entertainments.

Bombana, who has operated out of Hong Kong for over two decades, opened his first restaurant as chef-owner in Hong Kong’s Central district in 2010, following a fruitful partnership with the now-relocated Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong.

It has since garnered three Michelin stars, making Bombana the first Italian chef outside his native country to claim the honour. The restaurant takes its name from Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film about a search for inspiration.

Bombana’s empire is growing, with new restaurants in both Shanghai and Beijing, and the recently opened CIAK, which offers diners a more casual, lower-key experience than the three-star Otto e Mezzo, in Hong Kong’s Landmark Atrium.

He says he was approached by Galaxy Entertainment Group to create a similar concept to his original Hong Kong offering.

“I was invited by Galaxy Macau, who want a great restaurant,” he told the Drinks Business. “I see this as a good opportunity to do a good restaurant in Macau. [The city] is growing vibrantly with an increasing number of international gourmands, who expect to enjoy exceptional dining experiences including beautiful food expression and impeccable customer service, as well as learning the philosophy behind the creation.

“A world-class Italian restaurant is needed in Macau for these sophisticated diners.  My goal is to please my diners by our service and food. I hope to satisfy the culinary senses of the numerous tourists in Galaxy Macau.”

The city already boasts a number of fine dining establishments, including the three-star Robuchon au Dôme, one of famed chef Joël Robuchon’s outposts.

The partnership with Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment Group brings benefits to both sides, says Francis Lui, Vice Chairman of the group.

“Phase 2 of our resort development will enable Galaxy Macau to add a whole new dimension to our already unique and exceptional offerings.

“We are delighted that our partnership with 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA will allow us to re-unite two great names in hospitality, with the new signature restaurant situated at the impressive Ritz-Carlton, Macau.

“This partnership is symbolic of our ambition to make the New Palace of Asia the finest resort of its kind, and our determination to bring the very best culinary experiences the world has to offer to Macau.”

After a brief blip following the global financial crisis in 2008/09, Macau’s developers are once again back to speed and with investment of HK$19.6 billion, Galaxy Macau’s Phase 2 is emblematic of the city’s high-end development boom.

“We don’t know yet how much support investment-wise we will have,” Bombana admits. “But we believe we will have the best kitchen, equipment and ingredients.”

The resort will include the first all-suite Ritz-Carlton and world’s largest JW Marriott, which will make Galaxy Macau the only property in Asia to boast five 5-star hotels.

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