Manzo Italian Steak House
Shop 1104, 11/F Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2735 3980
Open: noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm
Cuisine: Italian and steaks
Price: about HK$800 for a three-course dinner before drinks and service charge
Ambience: the large room has an open kitchen at one end; whole prosciutto and strings of garlic hang from one of the wooden beams. The feel was rustic.
Pros: a large bottle of tap water was put on our table immediately. Appetisers were the most tempting part of the menu, offering some of our favourite dishes such as roasted veal marrow and carne crudo (chopped steak tartare).
Cons: the service, although friendly, could be improved. We told our waiter that we were sharing everything and wanted the dishes served one course at a time. During the long wait after the starter, it was clear he had planned on serving the pasta with the main course. The spinach ricotta ravioli with roasted tomatoes (HK$168) had a heavy filling and was tepid. A side dish of parmesan-stuffed mushrooms (HK$58) tasted like ordinary sauteed mushrooms, with just the faintest hint of parmesan.
Recommended dishes: burrata with vine tomatoes and basil (HK$158) had cheese that could have been softer, but the ripe and sweet tomatoes made up for it. Although the menu stated the Heritage Angus bistecca Fiorentina (HK$980) was 32 ounces (about 900 grams), we were surprised by the massive piece of meat. It had just enough char on the outside and was cooked to our requested medium-rare. The olive oil cake (HK$68) - dense and slightly dry - was fancied up with chunks of hazelnut praline and a quenelle of smooth chocolate ice cream.
What else? For those who dislike beef, grilled branzino, pork chops and pasta are available.