Restaurant review: Passione Ristorante Italiano, Causeway Bay – out of the ordinary
A chef who's passionate about his food, some unusual dishes and few misses - what's not to like?
Price: about HK$375 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: true to the name of the restaurant, it’s obvious that the Italian chef is passionate about his food – he visited every table (including ours) to talk to customers about the dishes.
Recommended dishes: from the specials menu, we chose the Italian fresh sardines Venice style (HK$128). They had been marinated in onion and vinegar, which made the oily fish seem lighter, although the polenta they were served on made the dish hearty. Prawn linguine (HK$188) had a delicious, intense sauce with two large head-on prawns that had a smoky flavour from being grilled. Pappardelle with lamb ragout and mushrooms (HK$158) was lighter in flavour and texture than expected, probably because it wasn’t overwhelmed by tomato. We liked the guinea fowl – an excellent deal at HK$268 for a dish meant to serve two. The bird had been boned then stuffed with a rich mixture of minced meat, pancetta and pistachio. A special chocolate dessert (HK$138) was complex and delicious, with different elements that included chocolate and olive (a combination that is better than it sounds), steamed chocolate with cream and eggs, chocolate with cherries, amaretto ice cream and grappa-soaked grapes.
Pros: there are some unusual dishes on the menu, including several that incorporated polenta and salt cod.
Cons: veal chop with butter and sage sauce and slow-cooked porcini and morels (HK$288) was let down by the meat, which was tough.
What else? Passione is tucked away in an office building that doesn’t have much character, but which is home to several other restaurants, including Iroha, Old Beijing and Xenri No Tsuki Japanese Cuisine.
Passione Ristorante Italiano, 3/F Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay. Tel: 3523 1955. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm