Hong Kong’s recent bout of brilliant weather sent us packing to the beach, with scooter, beach mat and an arsenal of beach toys in hand along with our squirmy, ever-inquisitive toddler. We decided on Fratelli, which is currently in its soft-opening phase, mainly because we go to The Pulse almost every weekend and have been craving something new. Opened by the same group as ever-popular pizzeria Amalfitana just a few doors down, Fratelli is cheffed by Michel Degli Agosti, who also headlines the pizza joint.

At 12pm on a Saturday, the restaurant was fairly empty, and we were quickly whisked to a comfy banquette by a friendly server. The menu was straightforward, consisting of one page of comforting Italian eats. We settled on the bruschetta burrata ($150), which arrived at the table looking rather like dessert with its caramel-sweet ripples of balsamic vinegar reduction. The wobbly, creamy globe balanced on sugary, slow-cooked cherry tomatoes and two pieces of toast was delicious, but we wished that all that sweetness had been balanced by a dash of savouriness or punctuated by fresh herbs.

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The meatballs (3 for $90) were on the small side and densely packed (not in a good way). Anyone who swoons over Carbone’s famous meatballs will be disappointed by these. The consistency was dry, and the meat needed a good dash of seasoning. We tried to add more flavour to the meatballs by slathering them in sauce, but sadly the dish still proved to be quite bland.

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Despite just having had Pici’s orecchiette with spicy n’duja the day before, we were still hankering for more. The orecchiette ‘nduja ($170) arrived under a bed of peppery salad dolloped with creamy burrata. The pasta could have been a little more al dente, and the sauce lacked the spicy vibrancy we’ve come to expect from this type of pasta dish. The portion size also did not warrant the $170 price tag.

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While most kids’ menus at The Pulse waver around the $40–60 mark, the kids’ pastas ($80) at Fratelli are much more expensive. For our mini vegetarian, we went for a simple tomato-basil sauce with fusilli, which was okay, but a tad bland and overpriced for what it was.

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We capped off our meal with the tartufo ($80), a chocolate, espresso and vanilla ice cream dessert with a bit of caramelised sugar on top. There was nothing to fault here, but also nothing to write home about.

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Along with the service charge and a bottle of San Pellegrino, our bill clocked in at $704. We get it – we’re paying for the beachfront location, but we’ve also dined at other eateries along that same beach for a lot less. And, most importantly, we didn’t feel that the flavours at Fratelli warranted the high price tag. This could perhaps show the differences between a hosted media tasting and a visit as a paying customer – we’ll try to highlight both whenever we can.

Shop 112B, G/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2887 0082

This write-up is based on an anonymous, independent visit. The meal was paid for by the author and no monetary compensation was provided in exchange.

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Editor-at-Large, Jetsetter Food Nomad

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