Trattoria Queen Hollywood is a quirky spot. Situated where Queen's Road West meets Hollywood Road (hence the name), the place seats only about 12, and for dinner you're given the option of eating at 6pm or 8.30pm.
Blackboard drawings of Japan and Italy are prominent near the entrance, and although the menu reads Italian, the food is made with Japanese refinement and sensibility. But to call it fusion would be wrong.
The menu is brief, and is changed frequently (at least one of the dishes we tasted is no longer available). The staff were knowledgeable about the food, and attentive without being intrusive.
They changed our plates and utensils frequently and, although we ordered all the dishes together, they took it upon themselves to correctly pace the meal.
Bagna càuda (HK$180) was the best version of this dish that we've tasted - including in Italy - probably because the vegetables, which were all from Japan, were so fantastic. The daikon, tomatoes, and roasted sweet potato had so much flavour they didn't need to be dipped in the pungent anchovy sauce.
Grilled octopus with house-made garlic mayonnaise (HK$180) was another excellent dish, primarily because of the ingredients - the thin octopus slices were tender but chewy and had an intense seafood flavour.
The dishes with house-made pasta were also very good. Tagliatelle alla carbonara (HK$180) had a light sauce. Chittara with lobster and tomato sauce featured perfectly cooked lobster and a sauce that didn't overwhelm. It was expensive at HK$300.
Pappardelle alla bolognese (HK$180) initially tasted too sweet, but the heavy dose of parmesan balanced the flavours.
Pollo arrosto (HK$280) sounded simple enough, but it was the most complex dish of the evening. The chicken - from Japan - had been boned, stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella, and then rolled and cooked so the meat was moist with a hint of pink at the centre.
There were only two desserts, and we had the panna cotta with black sugar from Okinawa. The pudding was delicate, with just enough gelatine to hold it together, and the black sugar gave it an intense, caramel note.
Our one complaint about the place is that it's a little too expensive to be a regular spot, although the prices are justified because the ingredients are so good.
Trattoria Queen Hollywood, 258 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2559 6077. Open: Tuesday-Saturday 12.30pm-2.30pm, Monday-Saturday 6pm-11pm. HK$450 without drinks or the service charge.