High rents push fine-dining restaurant CineCitta to close in Star Street, but it will re-open in Kowloon
Star Street said goodbye to one of its oldest fine-dining restaurants on Thursday evening, as CineCitta opened its doors for the last time in the neighbourhood for a farewell cocktail party.
Guests raised their grappa glasses to toast the restaurant's 11-year run in Wan Chai and its smooth relocation to its new home in the Cosmo Hotel, Mong Kok.
'I've been taking care of CineCitta since day zero. It's been one of our original success stories,' said Austin Liu, director of operations at Elite Concepts. 'I remember when there was nothing else in Star Street, and look at it now,' said Liu, who has been with the company for over 18 years. Owner Paul Hsu was tied up in Beijing with the expansion of his 1949 group of restaurants and bars. But the farewell party saw a full turnout of loyal customers and friends who drank cosmopolitans and nibbled from the hors d'oeuvres buffet, as they watched Roberto Benigni's antics as Pinocchio on the restaurant's signature movie screen.
'It's really a practical move for us, Hong Kong rents being what they are,' Liu said. 'We are hoping to reach a new audience in Kowloon. The area we are moving to actually reminds me of Star Street 11 years ago when we first opened - it's very up-and-coming.