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There have been so many great restaurants opening lately, and my “restaurants to try” list is growing by the day. I have broken the list into three sections, from one to three dollar signs, and sometimes it feels like the three-dollar-sign list is expanding the fastest. Maybe it’s because these restaurants get the most press and accolades, so we notice them more? While these pricier restaurants are certainly worth trying, who doesn’t want to find a reasonably priced gem?
So I was looking forward to trying LucAle, a laid-back Italian restaurant in Sai Ying Pun named after founding chefs Luca De Berardinis (previously of Operetta) and Alessandro Angelini (previously of Angelini at Kowloon Shangri-La).
If you’re used to dining at malls, hotels or glossy new buildings, Sai Ying Pun’s vibe seems really fresh. I walked from the MTR, up and down a few hilly streets, before seeing a spotlight for LucAle that indicated its location in a small alleyway next to Potato Head. LucAle has a lovely, cosy feel, perfect for dates or small groups.
This spring, the chefs have come up with some new dishes.
The restaurant is known for its creamy burrata. For spring, there’s burrata con gamberi ($278), which features Sicilian red prawns, melon, avocado and green apple. It’s a stunning dish – bright and fresh – that allows the delicate sweetness of the prawns to shine.
Another new dish is the tonno fresco Siciliano ($268), where fresh Sicilian tuna is paired with avocado cream, soy sauce and an Italian lemon dressing. I love lighter dishes like this one that pack so much flavour.
Other new menu items include raviolo gigante con ricotta (an extra-large ricotta-stuffed raviolo with mascarpone and egg yolk in a black truffle and green pea sauce, which was sadly sold out during our visit), fettuccine pomodoro fresco (with fresh tomato and lobster sauce) and seppioline Italiane al forno (Italian baby cuttlefish with potato cream and black truffle).
Two out of three diners in our group had never before tried LucAle, so we also ordered some of the restaurant’s bestsellers.
The pala di salumi misti LucAle ($260/2) is massive and of great quality.
The tartara di scottona ($188) is served with egg, potato waffle, horseradish mayo and puffed rice, but these accompaniments don’t overpower the delicate, earthy flavour of the beef tartare.
Our table loved the homestyle strozzapreti fatti in casa al ragù ($168), a homemade twisted pasta with sausage ragu, mushroom and spinach.
A more sophisticated yet still homey pasta is the chitarrino al tartufo nero ($198), which is made with Pienza pecorino cheese, walnut breadcrumbs and black truffle.
For dessert, we opted to share the tiramisù di LucAle ($88), which comes with a chocolate crust and roasted hazelnuts. This was absolutely delicious. With its cute presentation and elevated twist, this might be my favourite tiramisu in town.
Fans of LucAle will enjoy a return visit for the new spring dishes. New visitors will surely love the vibe and high-quality Italian cooking on offer here. I can’t wait to go back to enjoy a cosy meal with loved ones.
100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, 3611 1842, book online
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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