Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: La Brata in Central – big portions and a warm welcome, so bring an appetite

The meal started with a friendly welcome, and a warning about the size of the dishes, the service was great, and the Italian pasta and pizza were delicious

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 8:44pm

A friendly greeting goes a long way in a restaurant, and the one we had from Jules, the waiter at La Brata in Central, was as welcoming as it gets. We were told to “sit anywhere” – only one table was occupied when we arrived (another group came later), and the two of us made ourselves comfortable at a table for four.

We were very hungry and tempted to order a starter, pizza, two pasta dishes and a main, but Jules warned us that the portions were large. We should have figured this out from the menu: the burrata cheese came in a 300 gram portion; antipasti could be ordered on a half-metre or metre-long platter. Only the pizza seemed to be a reasonable size.

Burrata Italia (HK$228, US$29) could easily have fed four. Jules explained that it normally came with one large burrata, but they were out of it so they served us two 150 gram cheeses each, along with what have been at least the equivalent weight of tomatoes. The burrata was soft, the tomatoes – several types – were sweet, and Jules put two bottles of extra-virgin olive oil on the table, so we could drizzle it over the ingredients ourselves and see which we preferred.

Piccante pizza (HK$118) had great toppings of tomato, mozzarella, n’djua and pecorino. The pizza itself wasn’t our favourite style, though; we prefer a base that’s airier and chewier, while this one used the same focaccia dough that came with the burrata.

All the pasta is made in-house. I ordered a special of strozzapreti with bottarga and sea urchin (HK$198): thick, short toothsome twisted strands that captured the intense seafood sauce. My guest, after a discussion with the friendly chef about his “style” of gnocchi, asked if he could order the gnocchi bolognese (HK$138) with strozzapreti instead. He then complained that the sauce wasn’t reduced enough – although that didn’t stop him from eating the entire portion, even though it was almost twice the normal amount (180 grams, rather than 100 grams; the chef said 100 grams seems too paltry).

We were way too full for dessert, so Jules gave us shots of limoncello, reminded us to take all the leftovers, and we went out into the rainy night with plans to visit again.

La Brata, 11 Old Bailey Street, Central, tel: 2553 3602. About HK$340 without drinks or the service charge.

While you’re in the area

Newly opened Terroir Parisien in Central – Yannick Alléno’s French bistro has finally arrived

Restaurant review: Mugung Hanwoo Beef Specialist, Central – good for beef lovers, but other dishes are disappointing

Newly opened Tempura Taki in Central – artful tempura omakase