2/F Cosmo Hotel, 88 Tai Kok Tsui Road, Mong Kok
Tel: 2529 0199
Price: about HK$370 without drinks and the service charge
Ambience: Cinecitta has lost much of its Italian cinema-inspired character in the move from Star Street in Wan Chai to its new home in the Cosmo Hotel in Mong Kok. The warm and bright interior, white tablecloths and cushy chairs make it a pleasant place for dining, but gone are the classic Fellini films projected onto the wall and the swanky island bar from the old location.
Pros: overall, the short a la carte menu consists of no-fuss, authentic Roman classics, such as prosciutto and melon, grilled calamari, margherita pizza and gnocchi with four cheeses. The service was relaxed but on-point and the by-the-glass pours of wine are generous.
Cons: the food could be called familiar, but generally errs on the side of blandness with a few 'uh-oh' moments. My guest thought that the fresh simplicity of the beef carpaccio (HK$128) was somewhat undermined by the use of a synthetic-tasting lemon oil, rather than fresh lemon juice. Similarly, the lovely fig halves in the air-dried beef appetiser (HK$128) were covered in an overly sweet red berry sauce which took away the natural ripe sweetness of the fruit. The big no-no was overcooking the fettuccine in the Amatriciana (HK$128) into a goopy pile. We sent it back right away. The redo was only slightly firmer, but not the al dente we requested.
Recommended dishes: we enjoyed the fried baby artichoke (HK$108) for the outer crispness and meaty heart - no sauce or garnish to distract from the natural flavours. The lamb chops (HK$288) - two medium rare pieces - could not be faulted for their seasoning and cooking; the meat was rosy moving towards red in the centre, with a nutty crust contrasting with the juicy interior. The simple Napoleone (HK$48) made a nice finish to the meal; the berries, crisp and rich puff pastry layers and light, vanilla custard held together well and satisfied the sweet tooth without overloading it.
What else? Cinecitta is offering a Roman set dinner at HK$188 for two courses, HK$258 for three, and HK$298 for the four-course 'Roman Orgy'. Dessert is HK$38 extra.