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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Newly opened Pici in Wan Chai – Italian fare in a crowded house

Delicious handmade pastas are the highlight at this tightly packed spot, but make sure you get there early as they don’t take reservations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 12:32pm

Tucked away on a small street near the Star Street Precinct is Pici, a pasta bar opened by the same people who brought us Pirata and the recently opened TokyoLima.

This is the place to come if you like handmade pasta. It’s a quaint spot with 56 seats. The restaurant definitely packs in the guests, with seats taking up every available space, including the bar. We came just as Pici opened (the restaurant doesn’t take bookings), and had a nice and relatively private spot near the kitchen.

As with many other small places, we wondered how we would manage to have all the plates on our table. The meal required some fast eating, or trying to make room to squeeze everything on the table.

We plunged right into the hearty meal with the burrata cheese (HK$95) dressed with olive oil on top of a bed of greens and cherry tomatoes. The slice of Puglia burrata was creamy and good to the last bite.

Next came the house-made meatballs (HK$85) – three of them topped with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. While the meatballs were tender and moist, the taste was on the bland side and desperately needed the sauce to enhance the flavour.

Soon, our pastas arrived. First was the Pici Amatriciana (HK$85), named after the town (Amatrice) it was invented in, which sadly suffered an earthquake last August. The pasta sauce is composed of salt-cured pork cheek, pecorino cheese, tomato and fresh black pepper. We liked the al dente pasta with the meaty sauce, which had some crunchy pieces of pork on top and was finished with finely shaved Parmesan cheese.

Another delicious pasta was the orecchiette (HK$110), featuring the ear-shaped pasta in a sauce of Italian sausage, spicy ’nduja sausage and cherry tomatoes. The meaty bits were hidden underneath the pasta, but once we dug into the dish, we found them.

Pici offers two desserts – tiramisu and raspberry panna cotta (HK$55 each). The tiramisu, served in a glass, was large enough for two to share. It was on the soggy side, and not very creamy, with only a hint of the espresso taste.

Pici, 16 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, tel: 2755 5523

While you’re in the area:

Restaurant review: Deng G in Wan Chai – not overly spicy

Restaurant review: Bistro Seoul, Wan Chai – enjoyable modern Korean fare

Restaurant review: Samsen in Wan Chai – well worth the wait