My favourite typical night in Hong Kong is meeting up with friends, catching up over a delicious meal, either one that one of us has been wanting to try or one that one of them thinks I HAVE to try, and then off to cap the night with a foot massage. No after dinner drinks at a bar anymore and long gone are the days when we would head off to a club for endless rounds of drinks at Lan Kwai Fong. Is this a sign of age? Has my generation officially given way to the Millenials? I don’t even have kids yet! Is it a crime to want to get home at a decent time, turn on Netflix and just veg out until I pass out? It doesn’t mean that my life is any less exciting (I don’t think). It just means I don’t have to pop a Tylenol and jugs of coffee to get rid of that pounding headache the next day. I think we are just officially smarter now.
One of my first nights in Hong Kong last week was just that. Scarlet suggested Pici Bar, Meliss hadn’t been yet, and I had walked by it and loved the exterior and marked it on my must-check-out list. We got there almost half an hour before the restaurant’s doors swung open and there was a line a few meters down the block ALREADY. Or I should say swung up because this cute, little Italian restaurant located near Star Street has large windows that swing up allowing the perimeter walls to function as dining counters for people sitting outside. Brilliant!
We sat at the bar where we watched the assembly line of fresh pasta workers tossing and cutting fresh pasta like nobody’s business. Non-stop because throughout our whole meal and even as we walked out, the line outside never ceased. You might as well call this place a pasta factory.
We ordered the pasta tasting menu which comes with 3 appetisers that they decide for you and 4 pasta dishes that you can choose from their pasta list. For our appies, they chose a board of prosciutto with some parmesan, and two plates of buffalo mozzarella with tomato, basil, and rocket.
I was excited when the waitress announced the dish as burrata when she set it down on the table! But then she quickly took it back in haste. Darn it. That’s a wide ravine between mozzarella and burrata! I was a bit bothered by the fact that they counted 2 dishes of buffalo mozzarella as two appetisers when they were just 2 portions of the same dish. Nevertheless, it was still delicious and the service all night was so amiable that all that was forgotten. See what a little customer service can do.
Tagliatelle with porcini mushroom, butter and parmesan. Yes, that’s truffle on top.
Orrechiette with Italian sausage, spicy n’duja and cherry tomatoes.
Pappardelle with 8 hours slow cooked veal shank ragu, onion, carrot and celery. We found the pasta a tad too thick. But, hey, they’re new and service was good so I’ll give them another chance.
Pici Amatriciana with pork cheek, tomato sauce and black pepper.
The first 2 pasta dishes were served cold. Not lukewarm, but cold. So cold that we wondered if the dishes were intended to be served and eaten cold. When I asked our waitress whether this was the case she said no, and then walked off to call the manager immediately. He came a minute later to apologise and without hesitation asked if they could offer us another pasta dish. Another fresh pasta dish? Absolutely.
We chose the Liquid Parmesan Raviolini with beef ragu, butter and sage. Liquid parmesan? Yes, liquid parmesan literally oozed out the centre. And just like that, all was forgiven. My brother owns a restaurant so I completely sympathise with the trial and tribunes of a small kitchen trying to make it in a big city, especially when you are a new player. There are bounds to be mishaps and all it takes is good customer service and training to help ease all the inevitable problems away. We appreciated the quick apology and the offer to make it up to us. And, yes, we checked immediately as soon as each dish was set down on the table, everything was served hot thereon.
We finished off our tasting menu with a glass of tiramisu each and then Meliss suggested we go for a foot massage. Scarlet and I nodded our heads in unison. Exactly what we wanted, exactly how we would like to cap off any night. So off we went to Happy Foot to get a 75-minute foot massage, all the while still chatting non-stop even going to the bathroom together so as not to interrupt our conversation. It has been YEARS since I last saw them. Before midnight, there I was lying in bed at home feeling totally relaxed and extremely satisfied with our meal. Yeah, that’s my idea of fun. Wolfing down 5 different handmade pasta dishes and guess what, I was up before 8 am the next morning ready to brace the day.
Pici Pasta Bar
Address: GF, No. 16 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (+852) 2755 5523