Pirata Group is taking Hong Kong by storm this month with two new restaurant openings: TokyoLima and Pici Pasta Bar. After the sustained success of their other Italian restaurant, Pirata, their decision to open a pasta bar in an up-and-coming neighbourhood in Wan Chai was a smart move. Pici Hong Kong’s focus is on creating authentic, homemade pasta dishes in a cozy, modern dining space. What’s more, the price of each dish is around the HK$100 mark, making for exceptional value in a city where diners often pay a pretty penny for less-than-stellar food.
Vibe at Pici Hong Kong
As I was walking up towards St. Francis Yard (an up and coming foodie haven in Wan Chai), I noticed a crowd of people gathered on the street. Initially confused at what was happening on a seemingly quiet street during the week, I quickly realized all those people were actually waiting for a table. In terms of appearance and vibe, Pici is incredibly charming. The windows at the front and right side of the restaurant open up to allow for stool seating and the tables around the main floor are cozy. If you’re looking for a bit more space, there is a small upstairs dining area as well. The design throughout the entire restaurant is filled with warm, minimalist tones, and a bit of rustic decor (stacks of old books, and black and white framed pictures). Basically, love at first sight.
What better way to start a carb-heavy meal than with a plate of beautiful Burrata (HK$95). A forkful of creamy burrata, tomato, and rocket in a light balsamic and olive oil dressing.. heaven. We continued to be healthy (before we sampled every single pasta dish on the menu) with the Radicchio Salad (HK$65). This mountain of red and green leaves came with a decent portion of goat’s cheese and hazelnuts, tossed in a balsamic dressing. The subtle flavors, and mix of smooth and crunchy textures made this salad a great choice if you’re looking for a light starter. Not wanting to miss a chance at ordering Pirata Group’s much-loved meatballs, we couldn’t resist ordering Pici’s pork and beef Homemade Meatballs (HK$85) with tomato sauce. I can honestly say these were some of the best meatballs I’ve ever had and are definitely a must-order.
Moving onto the carb-heavy portion of our meal, we began with the Oven Baked Gnocchi Gratin (HK$90). Gnocchi is my favorite pasta, however, it’s hard to find a restaurant in Hong Kong that has it on the menu, let alone makes the gnocchi from scratch. To cut straight to the point, Pici’s gnocchi did not disappoint. The tomato dressing, basil, and mozzarella were the perfect light accompaniments to the fresh gnocchi. Also known as ‘little ear pasta’, I found the Orecchiette (HK$110) with Italian sausage and spicy n’duja to be a bit too salty, but would have been a stellar dish otherwise. Surprisingly, I had never tried pici (essentially a thicker version of spaghetti) before and I quickly fell in love with the Amatriciana Pici (HK$ 85), made with pork cheek, tomato sauce, and black pepper. Despite not having much sauce, this dish was full of flavor and is a must try for every pasta lover.
Since we were all spilling out of our pants at this point, we settled with the lighter choice of the two desserts on the menu: Raspberry Panna Cotta (HK$55). This cup of velvety panna cotta was hands-down the best I’ve ever had and even converted some panna cotta haters at our table into lovers with one bite.
My expectations of Pici Hong Kong were quite high coming into the evening and were all met by the time we left. Pici is inviting, cute, and cozy; perfect as a casual date spot or to catch up with a few friends. All the dishes are great value; very reasonably priced without sacrificing quality of ingredients. If you haven’t already been to Pici, what are you waiting for?
Pici Hong Kong
16 St. Francis Yard
Tel: 2755 5523