Restaurant review: Involtini in Causeway Bay – affordable Italian prepared with passion and flair
Staff are knowledgeable about the menu, on which pasta is the star attraction
In a city where service is efficient but often indifferent, it’s a pleasant experience to visit a restaurant that’s not too expensive, and where the staff seem passionate about what they’re serving.
It wasn’t just the enthusiastic manager who impressed us at Involtini in Causeway Bay; the servers were also helpful and knowledgeable.
We should have skipped the starter: you could tell by looking at the brief menu that the pasta dishes were the star of the show. The seafood carpaccio (HK$180) was a mixed lot: it was a beautiful presentation and the scallops were sweet and fresh, but the thinly sliced octopus didn’t have much flavour and the head of the red prawn actually tastes better cooked.
We were hesitant about ordering the carbonara tagliolini (HK$148) because, as one of my guests pointed out, it’s something we can make at home. The manager protested, saying that this version was better, and that it was correctly made, without the mushrooms that you so often find added in Hong Kong. It was indeed very good, with house-cured pancetta and a rich sauce that gently coated the strands of pasta. We also liked the ’nduja sausage orecchiette (HK$178), although the house-made sausage didn’t have the fiery bite we were hoping for.
A special of red prawn tagliolini (HK$380) was described so enticingly by the manager that we had to try it. The pasta and soft prawn meat had a deeply flavoured sauce made from the prawn heads with semi-dried tomatoes.
For a main course, we enjoyed the roasted baby pork (half a pig for HK$528), which had delicately crisp skin, moist meat and a delicious, flavourful stuffing of sausage meat studded with mushrooms.
Involtini, 11/F The L Square, 459-461 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2658 2128. About HK$470 without drinks or the service charge