I am always on the hunt for good Italian restaurants as ‘The Mother’ really likes Italian cuisine. We’ve been to 208, Trattoria Doppio Zero– to name a few but have never been to Cecconi’s before which is part of the Dining Concepts Group. Located in Soho on Elgin Street, Cecconi’s served diners ‘traditional italian favourites with modern and delightfully innovative dishes’. The menu is quite vast and everything on the menu sounded wonderful.
We started with some bread which Dragon demolished half of it. We also asked the chef to make her some pasta – just plain tomato based pasta and it was a generous serving. The pasta was al dente, the sauce perfect and no doubt Dragon demolished this! All by herself!
I started with roasted figs with goat’s cheese, flat pancetta and honey mustard dressing. I love figs and believe it or not have not eaten that many here in Hong Kong! The figs were beautifully cooked, and the goat’s cheese, generous gave it a nice kick – probably too much goat’s cheese for my liking but it was still wonderful.
‘The Mother’ opt for the spaghetti with crab, garlic, chili, tomato, basil and toasted bread crumbs. He absolutely loved it, so much that he didn’t offer me any and did not say a single word!
For main, I couldn’t go past the roasted pork loin with braised red cabbage and crispy pork belly. The crispy pork belly was fantastic – crispy skin and tender mouthwatering meat. The roasted pork loin was also incredibly tender and the red cabbage was a wonderful addition.
‘The Mother’ opt for the peppered duck breast and confit dug leg with sweet potato mash and lime jus. The duck was beautifully cooked and extremely tender. My gripe would be the sweet potato mash and lime jus – I didn’t think it went well with the duck, making it too rich in my humble opinion. ‘The Mother’ enjoyed it which is important.
Unfortunately we were too full for dessert. I hear the tiramisu is the highlight at this restaurant – shame, as we both love tiramisu! Service was friendly and they were very accommodating with Dragon. The restaurant was a little dark for my liking but the food I thought was pretty good, and would be more than happy to try their other dishes!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Cecconi’s Italian Restaurant
43 Elgin Street
Ph: +852 2147 5500
Aberdeen Street is located in Soho, just below Caine Road and the restaurant is a unique combination of bar and restaurant. It has quite a relaxing atmosphere and I love the outdoor terrace area as it is absolutely relaxing and perfect for a hot summer day with a glass of wine or beer. The menu is vast and a good one at that, it took us a while to decide what we wanted.
Whilst deciding what we all want to eat, we started with the vegetarian croquette (HKD 58) – rice bowl with carrots and mushrooms for the kids. Crispy exterior, the vegetarian croquettes were delicious and even Dragon managed to eat two on her own.
The garlic shrimp (HKD58) were panfried with garlic and white wine and were plump and juicy
We also had the veggie touch (HKD248) to share – vegetarian samosa, spring roll, mini veggie burger, vegetarian croquette, garden bouquet, beetroot and pumpkin frites. The cheese spring rolls were indeed cheesy and not too oily. I didn’t have any of the veggie burger but was told that it was delicious. The beetroot and pumpkin frites were not what I expected though, I was hoping for thin slices of pumpkin fried, but it was slightly over battered making it a little too chewy.
I opt for ‘just a disaster’ (HKD 148) – omelet with ham, cheese, mushroom, provencal tomatoes, sausage, sautéed potatoes and salad. The sausage Dragon demolished, so I assume it was good! ha! The omelet was light and fluffy.
‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the tenderloin (HKD228) which was served with sautéed vegetables and sautéed potatoes. The beef was cooked to perfection and it was incredibly tender and absolutely delicious. I definitely had food envy!
J had the pan-fried salmon, sautéed vegetables, basmati rice and caper, saffron and cream sauce (HKD178). I didn’t have any of this but she did say it was good and the salmon wasn’t over cooked.
The salad menu is extensive and everything sounded wonderful. S had the staunton street (HKD158) salad – avocado, asparagus, prawns, egg sunny side up, mushroom, soya and basmati rice. It looked divine and S did say it was excellent. Everything was fresh and he demolished everything!
Service was friendly and polite, definitely would be keen to come back to eat the salad – wonder if they do take away as it would be great to have it for lunch!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
UG/F., King Ho Building,
Soho, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2546 5833
There seems to be a lot of tapas around Hong Kong – the in thing for 2013 perhaps? Tapas a’Peel can be found in the hidden tiny lane in the heart of Soho – took me a while to find this restaurant, it is actually on Peel Street, overlooking Pak Sze Lane Park. The restaurant is tiny – probably fit about 20 diners and a private room is also available. Décor is quite rustic and warm, it was quite dark at night, making it hard to take photos!
We started the garlic loaf with rosemary and sea salt which was freshly baked and wonderfully warm. It was incredibly aromatic and came with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic which I love. Dragon really enjoyed this bread and could not stop eating it.
I couldn’t go past the avocado, Italian vine tomato and campana buffalo mozzarella with lemon dressing. It was incredibly light and refreshing and delicious!
The grilled pork skewers with tzatziki was ok – the pork was a little on the tough side but I do love tzatziki.
The sautéed chorizo and olives in olive oil, chili and garlic were a little on the salty side – even for ‘The Mother’ and he loves salty food!
The grilled beef tenderloin skewers which were marinated in garlic, ginger and soy sauce was infinitely more tender than the pork skewers.
Unfortunately we weren’t blown away by the choices of desserts hence decided to save our stomach and our calories. Meal was ok, there are definitely better options for tapas I think. Service was definitely friendly and polite.
GA’s ratings: 6 / 10
G/F., 61-63 Hollywood Road,
Soho, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2545 5988
I have heard wonderful things about Iberico and Co which can be located in Soho on Shelley Street. Part of the popular Enoteca Group – Iberico and Co serves Spanish and Portuguese food. The menu features a wide range of dishes to share which includes snacks, little plates, family-style bigger plates and a ham bar with some of Spain’s best iberico hams.
I have tried making a reservation for dinner here many times and it is always fully booked! So finally decided to try for lunch and so glad that I did! The food certainly did not disappoint. There was a lunch set but we decided to go for a la-carte as I wanted to try a lot of things! We started with the salt rubbed crunchy pigs skin with smoked paprika mayonnaise – my goodness – these crunchy goodness were seriously sinful but fantastic! It was hard not to stop eating them.
The chargrilled asparagus, shallot, sherry vinegar dressing and shaved Iberico cheese looked a little sad but surprisingly tasty!
We really loved the mushrooms sautéed with cherry tomatoes and Jerez sherry vinegar. It was so full of flavour – the mushrooms were cooked to perfection.
G couldn’t go past the tartar of salmon, traditional garnishes, smoked paprika and quail egg. I didn’t have any of this but she did say that it was delicious. The salmon fresh and the garnishes a wonderful complement
I was getting a little bit full by now, however, there were two more large dishes to come. The lemon and paprika chicken with borlotti beans, coriander and garlic came in a little stone pot. The crispy skin, the tender meat – it was delicious.
Last but not least, the cracked black pepper hanger steak with madeira. OH MY! Tender and succulent meat, it was a little on the rare side for me but it was good!
We were both stuffed – dessert sounded good but we were just too full! Will definitely be back to try more food! Could be my fav tapas place in HK
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Iberico and Co
G/F, 18 Shelley’s Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2752 8811
Enomod stands for Enoteca Moderna is a newish restaurant on Elgin Street which promotes the social dining concept. The idea behind social dining is inspired by a cultural movement that emerged in 1930s America which is reflected in the decor in the restaurant. I quite like the vibe and the open space, and the lounge area which is good for drinks with friends or colleagues.
We were here for lunch and opt for the lunch set menu. The menu I liked, brass copper and it was quite sexy I thought. We thought we would share and ordered one of each salad, pasta and main.
Started with some tapas – choice of 3, there were 4 of us so we pretty much ate everything on the menu. We had the buffalo mozzarella, black forest ham, smoked turkey breast, spanish paprika sardines, salmon gravadlax with crackers and capers relish, octopus and olives Moroccan salad, homemade sundered tomatoes in olive oil, capsicum mint and lemon, zucchini ‘escabeche’, eggplant spicy marinate, hummus and crackers, marinated roasted pumpkin. I have to say, my favourites were the hummus and crackers, salmon gravadlax, and sundered tomatoes.
The riccia, frisse, cheery, brown anchovies salad was ok, nothing too fancy I thought. It was light and refreshing
The penne genovese meat and marsala parmesan sauce was rather ordinary. Lacked umph and flavour.
The pan fried chicken breast with fresh tomato basil sauce was surprisingly tender and full of flavours
However, our favourite would have to be the homemade Mediterranean beef burger on foccacia. It doesn’t look much in the photo below, but the beef pattie was tender and the foccacia a nice touch. It was a rather small serving though, that we had to order TWO!
The place was relatively empty for lunch. I thought the food was OK, the burger was probably the best thing but I have definitely had better burgers. Shame though, as I was expecting more and my fellow diners were also disappointed. Service was friendly and pleasant.
GA’s ratings: 6 / 10
1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2555 6065
I am always keen to try new restaurants and new cuisine. It was a colleague’s farewell and we decided to try this Nepalese Restaurant in Soho. It’s quite a cosy restaurant, all the tables are quite close to each other. Thankfully we sat by the door, we wanted some ‘al fresco’ dining! HA! The menu was vast, lots of soups, dumplings, grilled meats, vegetables and countless curries!
Started with some bhenta tareko – fried eggplant marinated with fresh Nepali herbs (HKD66) was tasty.
We all loved the momocha – fresh home made dumplings with your choice of minced lamb, chicken or vegetables, steamed or deep fried (HKD78). From memory we had minced lamb and it was steamed. The dumplings were a little lamb-y for my liking but my fellow diners definitely enjoyed it.
The hass-ko sekuwa – barbecued boneless duck marinated with fresh light Nepalese Herbs and Spices (HKD158) was exceptionally tender and delicious. Could not stop eating it.
The kuhura-ko sekuwa – barbecued boneless chicken marinated with fresh light Nepalese herbs and spices (HKD118) was good but the duck was infinitely better.
We couldn’t resist the ramtoria – okra cooked with chopped onion, tomato and fresh ground spices, garnished with ginger (HKD95). I don’t eat okra very often so when I see it on the menu, would normally order it.
I can’t remember the name of this, but we got some bbq mixed meat – chicken, lamb, fish – came out on a sizzling hot plate and they were tasty and delicious.
And of course, Naan – a combination of plain naan, garlic, and onion! Delicious!
I have to admit it was a rather heavy lunch and I had serious food coma. Overall I thought it was quite good, some of the dishes were quite tasty, especially the okra, the duck and the momocha. Will definitely come back to try their other dishes.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Nepal Nepalese Restaurant
G/F, 14 Staunton Street
Ph: +852 2869 6212
Part of the aqua group, Vivo is the sister venue to Tivo. Vivo is a very contemporary and slick restaurant, I love the sculptural lighting, the colour and the ambience. The menu is mainly Italian with a few modern Asian influenced items for those with more adventurous palates. We were here for dinner one week night, ‘The Mother’s’ cousin, E, was in town and thought we would check out this place.
We started with some bread, focaccia and warm bread, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it was good.
We all went straight to mains, ‘The Mother’ opt for the crab meat ravioli, blue summer crab mousse, cherry tomato, morel mushroom and rocket leaf. This looked good, however, ‘The Mother’ didn’t think much of it. He thought the ravioli were dry and lacked flavour. I was rather surprised he ordered this, as he is usually a spaghetti bolognaise kind of guy!
E had the special from memory, smoked salmon pizza. The base was quite thin and crispy, I personally prefer the thicker base but this wasn’t too bad. Thinly based pizza usually mean that you can eat more!
I on the other hand couldn’t go past the grilled tenderloin of beef, duck fat roasted kiplfer potato, confir of watermelon, truffle veal jus. The beef was cooked to perfection, medium rare, and it was tender. The kipler potato roasted in duck fat was excellent, even Dragon loved it and she doesn’t usually like to eat potatoes!
We were all quite full and didn’t opt for any dessert. Service I thought was polite, the waiter and waitresses kept Dragon entertained which was good. Despite ‘The Mother’ not enjoying his meal, both E and I thoroughly enjoyed ours.
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
G/F, 41-43 Elgin Street,
SOHO, Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 3106 2526