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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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