Pici, one of the crown jewels under Pirata Group’s ever-growing empire, continues to expand in Hong Kong. With humble beginnings, this intimate pasta bar started off on Star Street, Wanchai, then added a larger, semi-al-fresco dining location in Central. Nobody can seem to get enough of Pici, so Pirata set its eyes on Kowloon and New Territories, expanding successfully to Tsim Sha Tsui and Sha Tin and adding the newest location in Lai Chi Kok.
I’ve recommended Pici to everybody I know and have listed this cosy pasta bar as a must-try in Hong Kong. Handmade pasta never goes out of style – it’s simple and straight to the point, and if you’re having a carb craving, it’s an easy fix. In short, Pici is a pasta lover’s dream!
The Lai Chi Kok location is larger than the others. The restaurant maintains its intimate and easy-going atmosphere with its modern interior, large booths and bar lined with wooden stools. The staff are welcoming, and the pasta remains fresh, with the same consistently excellent quality as at the Central and Wanchai locations.
We opted for the tasting menu ($290/person), which is supremely affordable – you’ll receive one starter, two pasta dishes and one dessert. A warning: prepare your stomach before going to Pici, because the portions are worth the carb indulgence!
We went for the tuna tartare ($100) and homemade meatballs ($90) to kick off our dinner. Lightly marinated, the tuna tartare was fresh and was given a sweet, acidic kick from the pickled red onion, with the avocado adding a different texture. The homemade meatballs were comforting and tender, just breaking down with a melt-in-the-mouth effect after the first few bites.
Each location has created a special dish that can only be ordered there, so we were compelled to try Lai Chi Kok’s prawn casoncelli ($170). The pasta is dyed with squid ink and filled with a smooth prawn purée. Drenched in crab bisque and topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and chilli, the spicy kick was balanced with the fresh burst of tomato.
Moving on to my favourite tagliolini ($180), this vegetarian pasta dish is one of Pici’s bestsellers, handmade tagliolini tossed in a light, creamy cheese sauce with white truffle paste, shallot and a generous amount of shaved black truffle. It’s cooked to al dente with a bit of a chew. This dish is luxurious and my go-to pasta at Pici – a must-order, especially if it’s your first time there!
The playful girasoli carbonara ($130) is a riff on the traditional carbonara. Cut with a knife or spoon, the filling bursts with oozing egg yolk, making the creamy sauce even smoother and richer and neutralising the salty, pan- fried guanciale. Available only during dinnertime.
A bonus dish was served to us, but, unfortunately, my stomach was at capacity for pasta. Taking one for the team, I had a few bites of the green ravioli ($140), another vegetarian dish. The ravioli burst with smooth, warm ricotta and was topped with fresh spring vegetables – peas, asparagus and finely chopped broccolini – a creative way of getting in your greens.
To drink, we tried the marzipan ale ($95), which combines amaretto with ginger ale. Smooth, simple, light and easy to drink, it was almost a dessert in itself.
Of course, we had some room for the sweet stuff. Pici’s famous tiramisu ($60) and panna cotta ($60) came rolling out, and I was ready to indulge. The tiramisu is the most popular dessert at Pici with its cacao sugar topping, creamy filling and coffee-soaked cake that isn’t overpowering. On the other hand, I find the panna cotta underrated. I love its simple, luscious texture, and it’s less sweet than its counterpart, with a zingy kick from the raspberry coulis.
I’m still drooling. I don’t have any negative words for Pici, not just because it’s one of my favourite restaurants here in Hong Kong, but also because the fresh pasta remains consistently delicious and generous in portion. It’s a go-to comfort-food spot and family friendly but also perfect for first dates. Where else are you going to find truffle tagliolini with the perfect amount of shaved truffle for below $200? Riddle me that.
Shop G03, G/F, D2 Place TWO, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Lai Chi Kok, 2557 7227
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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