27-29 Hollywood Road,
Tel: 2530 2830
Grub: Pasta in a box, plus a few other snacks.
Vibe: The address is on Hollywood Road but the place is actually a few steps down the Mid-Levels escalator, on Cochrane Street. Pasta Mio is little more than a kitchen and a service counter. There are only about three tables, and they are all alfresco. Now that cooler weather is here, this would be a great place to hang out and people watch.
Who to take: You could take family or friends; the only rule is they must like pasta, as there is not much else.
What's hot: This is a pastafarian's paradise. There are 10 types of freshly made pasta and 10 different sauces to combine with them.
The sauces are divided into three groups, according to price. Tomato is prevalent in most of them. At the cheaper end, there are two great vegetarian options, one seasoned with basil, the other with chilli.
The pastas are grouped into classic and premium. Classic includes farfalle, fusilli and penne. The premium pastas include spinach tagliatelle, tortellini- pasta wrapped around spinach and ricotta cheese- and fiocchi- little pockets stuffed with smoked ham and fontina cheese. First decide which type of pasta you want, next decide which sauce you want and finally the size you want. Three sizes are available, Fit is the smallest size, and the menu includes a table of calorie counts for the various types of pasta and sauce combinations. Then there are regular and huge. Extra cheese and sauce can be added for a few extra dollars.
We opted to share a spinach tagliatelle with a melanzana sauce, consisting of tomato, grilled eggplant and provolone cheese. It takes only a few minutes to prepare, but we decided to try a salad while we waited.
While there are about half a dozen salad options on the menu, only Caesar and Caesar with chicken were available. We went for the chicken. It was disappointing, as the chicken came with rather tired lettuce and an anonymous dressing.
The pasta, on the other hand, is wonderful- piping hot with a fresh, tangy, tomatoey sauce and a mound of cheese on top. It came in a rather awkward box.
To finish, there are fresh coffee and tea and a selection of cupcakes to choose from.
What's not: Don't go on a rainy day. The umbrellas offer limited coverage at best: if there is a bit of a breeze as well, you will get soaked.
While the coffee is good, the cupcakes aren't particularly memorable. Luckily, if dessert is important to you, and you're still hungry, there is a Ben & Jerry's ice cream counter just two doors away.
Cost: Prices start at HK$38 for a small classic pasta and can go up to HK$102 for the largest dish with a premium pasta and one of the more expensive sauces. Most people will be able to eat their fill for less than HK$100, even if they add side orders.