Bombarded by photos of BluHouse’s carbonara on our Instagram feed recently, we managed to secure a table on a Sunday evening at the newest Italian eatery. It’s helmed by Chef Giovanni Galeota, who previously worked at Macau’s Don Alfonso, and we were pleased with the meal’s authentic tastes of Italy.
The dining hall, imbued with pastel hues and mosaic tiles, resembles buzzing yet laid-back ambience of an Italian piazza. Anchored with various food counters, diners may causally saunter around to the deli, or to the pizza, rostocceria or dessert stations to select food which look aesthetically pleasing and inviting.
A warm basket of bread was up first. The balsamic vinegar was lusciously sweet and thick, and we polished our plates clean with the soft and fluffy bread.
The dish that stood out for the night was their pizza al taglio ($98), a rectangular pizza originated from Rome. Filled with irregularly-sized holes, the dough was chewy and tender in equal measures with an audible crisp on each bite. The tomato-based pizza diavola packed a spicy and tangy punch. It was topped with oozy agerola cheese which balanced and toned down the spiciness of the Nduja, finished with fresh basil.
The bianche guanciale pizza we ordered was hands down the BEST pizza I’ve ever eaten. Topped with rashers of cured pork jowl, caramelised onions with crispy brown edges and earthy mushrooms, it was the ultimate savoury delicacy. All of us literally squealed with delights while devouring this perfect pizza.
The octopus salad ($210) was not among the most tender I’ve had, but I actually liked how it was slightly chewy and firm to the bite. Bella di cerignola olives carried a mild astringency, and with its vinegar brine made the dish a perfect whet for our meal.
Carbonara ($210) is definitely the calling card of BluHouse. Chef Giovanni Galeota switched up several ingredients in the recipe by using Pecorino instead of Parmesan and Guanciale instead of Pancetta. Being a sheep’s and younger cheese, Pecorino is smoother and less crumbly in texture, and grassier and less nutty in taste. The use of a milder cheese allowed the guanciale to take the limelight. The crisped-up golden cubes of guanciale nuggets were juicy, robust and umami-filled due to heftier fat content than pancetta. The perfectly al dente rigatonis were slicked with a luscious concoction of Pecorino cheese, rendered Guanciale fat and yolk. Other than the rigatoni that tasted slightly floury and starchy, everything was on point.
The ruffled pasta sheets of the lasagna ($220) were filled with layers of oozing creamy cheese. It was cooked slightly unevenly, with the pasta sheets at the edges being perfectly al-dente, but a bit mushy at the centre. But we loved the fruity tang of the bolognese.
The porchetta ($240) was an insanely fragrant dish. The beauty of it lies within the contrasting textures. Being cured with herbs and salt, the flesh was tender, moist, and burst with aroma. Sandwiched between the flesh and the bubbly, crackling skin is a thick layer of buttery, melt-in-the-mouth fat. With the golden crisped-up potatoes that soaked up all the unctuous essences, the dish was sinfully addictive.
The tiramisu ($88) at BluHouse has the most balanced flavour and texture profile amongst the ones I had recently at Grissini, Pici and Cannubi. Cannubi’s alcoholic element was mild and was overpowered by cocoa powder and mascarpone, while Grissini’s was quite heady. Pici’s tiramisu has a firmer and creamier consistency, which I found a little heavy. BluHouse hits the trifecta with the best balance, texture and taste.
The assorted pastry selection ($110 for 4) was vast and we enjoyed choosing from rows of pastries at the display counters. We recommend the chocolate hazelnut cannelloni and their gianduja pastries.
BluHouse makes for an excellent choice for an after work get-together with its laid-back ambience and profusion of food. The dishes we sampled, especially the pizzas were authentic and delectable. With a little rejig in their services, it will surely become a widely popular dinner destination.
Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 3891 8888