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Newly opened Ee Da Le – Harlan Goldstein’s hit-and-miss Italian in Central

It has taken more than four years for Harlan Goldstein to get his restaurant Ee Da Le off the ground. Back then he had announced to media that it would be housed in the then yet-to-be-built California Tower, and then in Midtown Soundwill Plaza II in Causeway Bay. It must be some relief to the native New Yorker that it’s finally open on Lyndhurst Terrace in Central.

Ee Da Le in Cantonese means “Italy” , and the dark interiors are brightened by voluptuous red lampshades and lots of wood furniture. The evening we went had a boisterous atmosphere, packed with diners keen to sample Goldstein’s newest dishes.

Our food arrived at a fast and furious pace, and luckily we had just enough room on our table to fit everything. The crudo di mare (HK$168), with citrus-flavoured scallops, sea urchin, shaved fennel and anchovies, sounded delicious, but the citrus didn’t do much to lift up the raw seafood in what could have been a refreshing dish.

The Tuscan Caesar (HK$138) is probably the healthiest dish on the menu. It’s a big salad bowl meant for two, with romaine lettuce and kale, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, anchovies and croutons. Actually, it was too much: there’s only so much kale one can eat.

Mama’s meatballs (HK$108) featured two large meatballs made of veal, beef and pork sausage. They were moist, but quite salty and we didn’t want to eat the second one.

Of all the starters, we liked the chargrilled octopus (HK$168) the most. The tender octopus was combined with crunchy cabbage and thinly sliced soppressata on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and olives. We also liked the house-made wholewheat bread with sun-dried tomatoes and chunks of parmesan and olives to nibble on.

Most anticipated was Madam Chu’s signature linguine, and at HK$488 expectations were high. However, what arrived was a large, shallow black bowl of linguine and on top were two red prawns. When we tasted it, we were surprised to find dried baby shrimps were added into the sauce, creating an unexpected and jarring texture to the pasta. They were probably meant to enhance the shrimp taste, but they were unappealing, and we couldn’t even bring ourselves to finish what was a wasted and overpriced dish.

We finished the meal on a sweet note with a “giant scoop” each of Italian pistachio ice cream and Morello cherry sorbet (HK$38 each). But we had to ask why were these “giant scoops” were served in large cast-iron bowls that made them look average sized and were partially melted when they arrived at our table?

Goldstein has three more restaurants opening up in the building; we hope he can tweak this one first – including the prices – before tackling the next one.

Ee Da Le, 3/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2896 1838

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