PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am


Shop R011, Elements, Civic Square, Kowloon Station
Tel: 2811 2681
Open: 11.30am-11.30pm (until late on Friday and Saturday)
Cuisine: Italian

Price: about HK$370 without drinks or the service charge.

Ambience: it tries hard not to feel like a restaurant in a shopping mall, but there's no escaping that fact when you have to go down the escalators to use the toilets. The interior is warm and simple, with an open kitchen, blackboards for specials and decorative glass jars containing assorted pickles.

Pros: the heavens had opened by the end of dinner and we were grateful for the umbrellas the staff pushed into our hands. We were impressed by our knowledgeable waiter.

Cons: the deep-fried zucchini flower (HK$130) was too bready and cheesy. Bread is not free, so we had to order focaccia (HK$30) to mop up the sauces.

Recommended dishes: we rarely say no to fresh burrata cheese (HK$128) and Papi's - which came with sweet cherry tomatoes and raw, succulent ice leaves - didn't disappoint with its buttery ooziness. Under 'finger food/small bites', which is where the restaurant concentrates its efforts (along with 'fork food/appetisers'), we ordered the house-made pork meatballs (HK$68). They were tender, moist, slathered with a tasty tomato sauce and delicious with the anise-like flavour of fennel seeds. An unusual combination that worked was the risotto with amaebi and borlotti beans (HK$250). The rice had a satisfying chewiness and the prawns added sweetness, although the beans were undercooked. We were all saving some space for the piece de resistance: Chianina Florentine steak (HK$2,200). My guests insisted on paying for the 1kg T-bone, one because the taste had remained with him from Italy, where the rare cow produces some of the finest meats, and the other because he'd never had such expensive fare before. It was wonderful; all the thick cut needed was seasoning and minutes on the grill.

What else? Some fans of the Florentine steak order in advance to avoid disappointment. Papi (from pasta and pizza) offers gluten-free pasta on request.