LucAle serves up some of the freshest Italian dishes in town. This new Italian joint – which was missing and much needed on the Hong Kong restaurant scene – has settled in Sai Ying Pun and adds to the community’s ever-growing dining landscape.
The kitchen is headlined by two well-known chefs in Hong Kong’s F&B industry, now striking out on their own: Alessandro Angelini, who previously led Angelini at Kowloon Shangri-La, and Luca De Berardinis of Nicholini’s at Conrad Hong Kong.
By 7pm on the day of our visit, the restaurant was bustling, with communal tables full and standing guests drinking wine and ordering starters. The restaurant is bright and breezy with blue-hued walls, soft, polished wood and golden brass.
LuAle’s dishes are quite generous in size and made for sharing, paying respect to traditional Italian ingredients while modernising the flavours and presentation.
Staple starters were the first to be served, showcasing LucAle’s collection of authentic Italian imports. The pala di salumi misti LucAle ($260/250g) offers four expertly cured cold cuts, while the burrata deliziosa ($288/300g) presents a large, fresh burrata ball surrounded by slices of 24-month-aged Parma ham. No one could resist the cheese and cold cuts, and within minutes, these goodies were no more.
The insalata di rape rosse, arancia, finocchio, sesamo nero e dragoncello ($148) does justice to veg everywhere. The sweet beets and anise-accented fennel perfumed the mouth, while the tarragon amplified the earthy flavours.
Of course, our meal could not be complete without fresh pasta. LucAle’s chitarrino al tartufo nero ($198) is topped with walnut breadcrumbs and finely shaved black truffle, with the spaghettini tossed and twirled in an utterly rich, creamy sauce made with Pienza pecorino cheese. The ultimate comfort-food dish!
Another must-order is the cappelletti di bolognese bianca ($158), a stuffed pasta dish made with 24-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and a white bolognese sauce, topped with aged Parmigiano crumble. The pasta was cooked al dente, while the insides burst with silky, full-flavoured cheese.
The largest dish, la bistecca di Fassona con osso ($988/1kg), was saved for last, served with crema di spinaci ($68) and funghi porcini ($108). Generous in portion and cooked skilfully, the steak was tender with crisp edges. Meat and fish can be underrated at many Italian restaurants, but this dish is worth a try for a hungry table.
The desserts at LucAle try hard to impress. Coffee was the centre of attention in the classic tiramisu ($78), while tarragon perked up the crème brûlée ($68). The Nutella broken pie ($88) also features lychee and strawberry – it’s a bit like having chocolate fondue on a plate.
The stakes are high when you open a restaurant during turbulent times, but LucAle creates a warm atmosphere for serving up delicious, homestyle Italian dishes at affordable prices. Sit back, relax and get ready to eat well.
100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, 3611 1842
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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