Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Pici in Wan Chai – delicious pasta, flavourful starters

Be prepared to queue for a seat at this extremely busy restaurant, where we liked almost everything we tried, including a fantastic liquid parmesan raviolini

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 6:04pm

My friends and I visited Pici on a miserable day, during a torrential downpour when the Hong Kong Observatory had declared an amber rainstorm warning. I told my friends to meet at 6pm sharp – the popular restaurant doesn’t take bookings and we didn’t want to queue for seats. But I had second thoughts and told them, “We can probably meet a bit later, because who's going to be out in this weather?”

Newly opened Pici in Wan Chai – Italian fare in a crowded house

It’s a good thing they didn’t listen to me; by the time I arrived – soon after 6pm, the restaurant was almost full, and there were still people waiting when we left two hours later.

Thankfully, my friends had already secured seats at the counter, although they did try for one of the few tables, only to be told that they were only given to groups of four. We were annoyed when they then gave the table to a group of three men.

The food was good enough to soothe any feelings of annoyance.

We decided to order several rounds because we worried that all the dishes would come at once and there wasn’t space at the counter for all the food we wanted to try.

Burrata (HK$95) was soft and moist, but could have used a few flakes of sea salt. The cherry tomatoes served with it were sweet but the rocket was a bit tough. We liked the flavour and texture of the house-made meatballs (HK$85), although they would have been better served hot instead of warm.

Our favourite starter was the vitello tonnato (HK$85). It’s not an attractive dish, unless you like different shades of beige, but the thinly sliced veal was tender, the tuna mayonnaise was smooth and intense, while the caper berries added a sharp bite.

On to the pasta dishes that Pici is known for. Liquid parmesan raviolini (HK$120) was just fantastic – thin, tender pasta sheets that enclosed a flavourful, oozing filling. Tagliolini with white truffle paste and shaved black truffle (HK$160) was another winner. The black truffles weren’t the most flavourful we’ve tasted, but the amount was generous, and the creamy sauce was delicious.

Our favourite pasta of the evening was orecchiette with Italian sausage, spicy ’nduja and cherry tomatoes (HK$120). The orecchiette were small and chewy and went very well with the rich meatiness of the sauce.

The only dish we didn’t like was the pasta of the day, pappardelle with duck ragu (HK$130). The duck was cut into small, dense chunks that were tough and dry, and we wanted less meat and more sauce. We left about half of it uneaten.

Pici, 16 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, tel: 2755 5523. About HK$265 without drinks. There’s no service charge

While you’re in the area ...

Restaurant review: Sushi Masataka in Wan Chai – succulent, decadent, perfectly seasoned courses

Hong Kong’s top restaurants: Fook Lam Moon in Wan Chai – upscale home-style Cantonese, and doggy bags for leftovers

Restaurant review: Bistro Seoul, Wan Chai – enjoyable modern Korean fare