Restaurant review: Gianni's Trattoria Italiana
1/F, 51 Elgin Street, SoHo
Tel: 2525 1838
Open: noon-2.30pm, 6pm-11.30pm
Price: HK$400 for a two-course meal without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: we were given a table for two right by the windows which were open because it was a nice, breezy evening. The place filled up quickly.
Pros: the chef uses quality ingredients and cooks them well.
Cons: our waitress didn't seem to know the menu or the dishes. She told us there wasn't any burrata on the menu and we pointed out there was, then she brought us a plate of pasta, telling us it was pappardelle, when it clearly was not. Our dishes were served in an odd order: the appetiser, then seafood pasta (which we ordered about 10 minutes after ordering all the other food), main course and then our second pasta. The veal scaloppine with lemon sauce (HK$208; it can also be ordered with Parma ham and marsala wine) was slightly tough, but the sauce was light, tart and intensely flavoured.
Recommended dishes: The mixed platter of salumi with burrata milk cheese from Puglia (HK$198) didn't disappoint because the ingredients were so good. The burrata was particularly delicious because it was as runny inside as it should be. The house-made cavatelli with shellfish, rocket leaves and broad bean sauce (HK$198) had wide curls of pasta that did a good job of capturing the delicate sauce. Even better was the house-made pappardelle with wild porcini mushrooms and speck ham (HK$188). The rich, perfectly seasoned sauce coated the wide ribbons of al dente pasta, and the slippery fresh mushrooms and salty pieces of ham gave textural and flavour contrast.
What else? The chef, Gianni Lacalendola, was chef and owner of Panevino when the restaurant was on Mosque Junction.