What? Support local agriculture and food traditions, adhere to the obligation we all have to walk gently on this planet and create brilliant, bona fide food are all peripheries that Chef Vinny throws into a cauldron called Linguini Fini. The restaurant was wildly popular before it heart-shatteringly closed back in 2012. With a pledge of return, foodies in Hong Kong have been expectantly monitoring the space on Elgin that Linguini Fini was set to reopen in, and now rejoice by packing it out at lunch and dinner.
- Homegrown Pressed Juice
The drinks: Committed to sustainability, Linguini Fini don’t shout about their benevolence, but rather envisage that we would all do our bit to stop the spread of more nasty practises in our respective industries as an expected standard. Water is to be bought by the bottle ($20), but is actually created in house in both still and sparkling options using everyday tap water and a purifying/alkalising machine (Beyond H20). This is important in the reduction of waste, transportation and harmful plastics. The options of cocktails and beers exist, as well as made to order fresh pressed juice of the likes of beetroot, carrot, orange and basil, and cucumber, green pepper, celery, granny smith apple, bitter melon, and honey.
The eats: We tried some of their homemade spicy pork sausage, that tasted excellent and truly handcrafted, zingy with the right amount of punchy spice and slathered in mustard and grilled veg ($108). We loved the common theme of having bulk vegetables garnished with meat. Though we certainly had a more carnivorous lunch meal, there were many vegetal options, and much locally grown produce supplied by Homegrown voyaged on every plate with the meat, which is just how we think it should be.
What came next was a pizza with the apt sobriquet “The Bronx Special” ($308); a rousing 18 inch pie topped with some of the more meaty options: fresh mozzarella, porchetta, pepperoni and meatballs. This has to be amongst, if not singularly, the best pizza in Hong Kong. We struggle to find a pizza that is even worth ordering on a Sunday night with a movie, but would battle our way through the throngs in Soho any night for this mighty American-Italian classic. Order this if you go. Even if you don’t really enjoy meat lovers pizza, order this; trust us.
The three newest additions to the pasta menu made sure carb loading was the day’s primary activity, and of the Italian Xiao Long Bao ($168), Uni Macheroni Carbonara ($188) and Radiatore Alla Vodka ($148), the latter was our favourite. The other two are clever fusions of locally inspired traditional dishes, but we thought the piquant and rich tomato sauce nestled beautifully in the contours of the ridged radiatore pasta. For flavour, the more customary definitely gets our vote. The pastas didn’t impress quite as much as the pizza, but that’s probably because we want to marry the pizza and send it flowers.
The final main, and another unforeseen favourite was the grilled Lardo chicken ($158). Never would we settle upon the chicken when browsing an a la carte menu as it is usually a rather uninteresting choice. This bird, however, is divine, with its crispy savoury skin and moist flesh. Order this too. Keep on with all the trust.
Dessert: Try and avoid this course, and you will instantly regret such a life choice, as your neighbours plow through the fragile crust on the outer of a warm caramelly apple pie ($78). Avert your gaze and then you will be trapped by other neighbour, barely exerting force to slice through the wonderfully luscious chocolate banana cake ($78) which takes symphonic flavours and conducts them splendidly.
The verdict: Decent fare, fair prices, and prize-winning flavours. No wonder there are soon to be three of these wondrous restaurants in the Asian region.