Washing down bites of Italy with a few choice brews

Updated: 2014-03-09 07:51

By Donna Mah in Hong Kong (China Daily)

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It used to be a challenge in Hong Kong to find places that served decent food at reasonable prices and had good atmosphere. Happily, it is now much easier to find a spot where a nice glass of wine or premium beer can be sipped with food that is fresh-made in pleasant surroundings. You can dine with your children, too!

On a visit to Brim 28, formerly Sanlitun, in Wan Chai, we dined at DiVino Patio and tried their terrines with wine and beer pairings. As some of us had arrived early, we enjoyed the complimentary Italian antipasti (Italian "tapas") offered from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. These small bites of both hot and cold items - cold cuts, pate, pizza, cheese, served with our drinks - were enjoyable outdoors on the patio, a relaxing way to start the evening after a long day.

When everyone had arrived, we moved easily into the indoor dining room and sampled a variety of terrines paired with both wine and beer. The suds matchings were particularly interesting because the beer, 32 Via dei Birrai, is from an artisan micro-brewery based in Italy.

Only a limited number of bottles are made of each brew - there are eight - and DiVino Patio is one of the few places in Hong Kong where you can find them.

We indulged in the chunky and meaty country pate, which was paired with 32 Curmi, an elegant and fruity beer. Country pate is a personal favorite, with the coarsely chopped ingredients that went well with the light wheat beer, but perhaps the 32 Audace beer would be good as well. With higher alcohol content (8.4 percent) and hints of citrus, almond and peach, this Belgian strong ale is good with rich foods.

Washing down bites of Italy with a few choice brews

The free-range chicken breast and fresh tarragon terrine was on the lighter side and not as rich as the others. Paired with a hop-heavy spiced light ale, it was fresh-tasting with the tarragon flavor coming through, but my preference is for the richer pates and terrines.

The traditional duck pate and the foie gras terrine with yellow wild mushrooms (chanterelles) were both rich and smooth. The foie gras terrine was served with the 32 Oppale beer with caramel, toffee, and pineapple notes, while pate of Barberie duck and pistachios was served with the 32 Audace, a strong Belgian ale.

The terrines are available by weight with prices ranging from HK$118 to HK$168 ($15-22) for 100 grams. The beers are all HK$180 per bottle.

DiVino Patio also serves a selection of fresh-made as well as dry pastas, plus hand-tossed pizzas, antipasti and main courses from the rotisserie, including spit-roasted piglet and game hen, and the skillet. There is also a formaggeria and salumeria where cheeses and cold cuts can be purchased by weight to go.

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 Washing down bites of Italy with a few choice brews

Foie gras terrine and yellow wild mushrooms. Donna Mah / for China Daily

(China Daily 03/09/2014 page8)