Restaurant review: Cacio & Pepe Restaurant and Bar

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 5:47pm

3 Mee Lun Street, Central
Tel: 2217 3133
Open: Monday-Saturday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm
Cuisine: Italian

Price: about HK$400 without drinks or the service charge.

Ambience: we were the only diners when we arrived, but the front room, where we were seated, gradually filled.

Pros: because the restaurant is somewhat off the beaten track, it's a good place for a tête-à-tête.

Cons: better advice from the waitress would have helped us avoid ordering three pasta dishes and a main course which were all tomato sauce-based. A special lasagne dish (HK$160) had overcooked pasta sheets and a few scraps of overcooked and unidentifiable seafood. The pasta stuffed with gorgonzola and topped with tomato sauce (we had the choice of that or pesto, and the waitress recommended the tomato version; HK$160) was too sweet and we couldn't taste the gorgonzola. Meatballs with tomato sauce (HK$180) needed more flavour and texture - they were too smooth.

Recommended dishes: the gragnano spaghetti with scampi (HK$180) had well-cooked pasta, a mildly spicy tomato sauce and fresh, head-on scampi. Delicious in its simplicity was the mixed seafood grill (HK$200) which had two large shrimp, a lightly seared piece of fish, and - my favourite part of the platter - tender squid, all seasoned just with olive oil, lemon and salt. The puntarelle radish (HK$120) was a vegetable that was unfamiliar to us, but we liked its crunchy texture and slight bitterness that was offset by a plentiful amount of anchovy in the tangy sauce.

What else? The restaurant replaces Didier. The venue is on a set of steep steps between Hollywood Road and Gough Street.