1/F, Cheung Hing Commercial Building
37 Cochrane Street, Central
Tel: 2110 6910
Open: noon-10pm (last order 9.45pm)
Cuisine: International and fusion pasta.
Ambience: Tucked away in an old office building, Te is a quiet sanctuary in the busy Central area just steps away from the Graham Street wet market and Mid-Levels escalator. It's decorated mostly in white, but the effect isn't stark. Padded benches and long tables mean you can't have an intimate tete-a-tete. The other seating option is at high chairs looking into the open kitchen. It's a semi-self-service restaurant: you place your orders with the cashier at the entrance and sit down. The food is then brought to you by a server.
Price: Less than HK$100 per person for pasta and herbal tea.
Pros: The most expensive pasta dishes are a reasonable HK$68. It's a place for a no-frills but comfortable and inexpensive meal.
Cons: The sauce in the Bolognese (HK$58) was too sweet, giving it the flavour of tomato ketchup. The parmesan on the communal condiment table was the powdered stuff that comes in a green cylinder.
Recommended dishes: Our favourite was the mentaiko spaghetti (fish eggs and cream sauce, HK$55, above right). The garish pink from the preserved fish eggs was rather alarming, but we enjoyed the pure, intense seafood flavour. We also liked the spaghetti vongole bianco (HK$68, above left), which had fried garlic and a healthy portion of fresh clams. Siciliana (with eggplant and ham, HK$58) was less interesting, although the bland tomato sauce was pepped up with dried chillies.
What else? The original Te is in the fashionable Roppongi Hills area of Tokyo. There's a second branch in Hong Kong in the Cooked Deli food court of City'Super in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui.