Amalfitana Central has thrived on Wyndham Street in Soho, where many venues barely survive owing to complicated concepts and expensive menus, all thanks to the Italian pizzeria’s cool vibe and dependable tomato and cheese pies.
In a city flushed with quality Italian restaurants, Amalfitana positions itself in the Italiano equation with a dining space clean in design, bumping with old-school tunes and remaining true to the style of Italian coastal dining.
The menu at Amalfitana is brief yet snappy. Drinks are priced well and flow heavy at night. On Fridays and Saturdays from 10PM onwards, Amalfitana invites DJs to set the beat, with a late-night dining menu available until 2AM on weekend and public holiday evenings.
Chef Stefano Rossi commands the kitchen and the monolithic brick oven that crisps his pizzas to perfection. Joined by a friend, dining early at Amalfitana on a Tuesday evening begins with tuning into a hip playlist of Kanye West’s early hip-hop hits, successfully converting my workweek stress into a state of bliss.
The vitello tonnato (HKD138) kicked off our colourful meal at Amalfitana. A fiend for salty, sour flavours, the tonnato itched a scratch I needed, packing a cured-vinegar flavour with the blending of the anchovy, caper, and tuna mix. The veal was aptly prepared, with a texture that holds well on the fork before melting on the tongue.
On to our second starter, five eggplant polpette (HKD90) next graced our table, with as much excitement as my previous visit savouring this starter at Amalfitana. The crunch of the eggplant-scamorza ball mixes perfectly with an intoxicating blend of Parmesan, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts for a nutty, faintly salty, and pickled sweetness. The sauce lingers with a blissful fruity-meet-sodium-rich taste on the palate.
Under the list of artisanal pizzas served at Amalfitana Central, one flavour stood out for us – the colourful Fiorentina (HKD180), a recipe central to the Italian region of Tuscany. With a base of San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella, the pie is topped with spinach, garlic, a dusting of Parmesan cheese, and a poached egg in the middle.
The classic trappings of a pizza are elevated in a tart and salty direction that blends a green bite with the softness of the poached egg. This is a refreshing pizza flavour that tends towards saltiness, with plum-flavoured tones coming from the tomato sauce.
The second main we sampled was the steamed sea bream and baby spinach (HKD268), a new addition from chef Rossi to spruce up the à-la-carte menu. Sautéing two fillets of sea bream with a healthy serving of baby spinach, cherry tomato, white wine, and herbs, it’s hard to see where the vino and dusting of spices exist to flavour the fish.
The fillet is bitter, with the white wine and spinach pooling at the bottom of the plate, and the Italian herb mix of oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil does not tender a strong enough flavour on first taste.
After the carbohydrate-heavy mains, we dug into a cute serving of panna cotta (HKD70). Each spoonful brings together a vanilla flavour from the light double cream and a tangy sweetness from the raspberry jam topping. We instantly felt lighter after finalising the meal with our dolce.
One other point of mention is that throughout our meal, the service at Amalfitana was slow, and our cups of water were infrequently filled up again. I left satisfied with the food but also dehydrated and wishing for a friendlier touch to the experience.
Our verdict of Amalfitana Central
Amalfitana Central shows its strength with its regional Italian pizzas and a food menu complementing the charcoal-cooked pies. The pizzeria is coloured with a great hip-hop soundtrack and weekend DJ production. Chef Rossi blends sharp cheeses and fruity tomato sauce to flavour simple Tuscan, Amalfi, and Piedmontese dishes that burst alive on the palate.
|Order this: eggplant polpette, burrata, lasagne, Fiorentina pizza, panna cotta
Menu: Amalfitana’s à-la-carte menus
Price for two: HKD550–700
|Atmosphere: old-school hip-hop and rap blend with sophisticated Italian dining at a Central restaurant infamous for partying
Perfect for: Italian flavours mixed with spiked drinks and raucous laughter
This review is intended to offer an individual perspective on the dining experience and should not be considered as a definitive judgement of the restaurant’s overall quality or reputation. The views expressed in this review are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions of Foodie.