Restaurant review: Pausa, Wan Chai- simple Italian staples
With its stylish red-and-white theme, it is hard to overlook Italian eatery Pausa, which has taken over the spot on Ship Street where Beautifood, the hip salad bar by Bo Innovations' Alvin Leung, used to be. Pausa, which means "break" in Italian, is a takeaway concept, although the small shop also has a couple of seats where you can eat and listen to the Italian radio playing in the background.
The menu is made up of simple, hearty Italian staples such as square pizza (HK$30 to HK$40), focaccia (HK$40 to HK$50) and pasta (HK$48 to HK$63), all of which are served in handy boxes great for grab-and-go. The pizza and focaccia are ready-made and reheated, but the pasta dishes are made-to-order and take about five minutes to prepare.
There are eight sauces for pasta including bolognese, amatriciana, carbonara and pesto Genovese to go with your choice of spaghetti, penne or shortelli (a kind of fusilli).
The menu says there are seven kinds of pizza, including margherita, four cheese, spicy salami, and ham with mushrooms, although it really depends on what they have on display when you visit. The same goes for the focaccia, which has three options — mortadella, ham and cheese, and Parma ham with mozzarella.
The ham and mozzarella focaccia (HK$50) had a crisp crust but the filling — and the inside of the bread — was soggy and chewy.
We loved everything about the tomato and olive penne (HK48). Presented in a cute noodle box with a wire handle, the al dente pasta was evenly coated in a well-balanced sauce seasoned with a generous amount of parmesan, and rings of green and black olives.
While we were waiting for our food, co-owner Francesco offered us a taste of the very creamy gelato (HK$48, cup; HK$38, cone), the flavours of which change every three days. Our options were milk and tiramisu. There are other sweets including a daily cake (HK$24).
Pausa, J Senses, shop 3, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2523 4168. Open: 10am-10pm