Although one could say that Hong Kong isn’t truly in dire need of another Italian restaurant, it’s hard to turn our nose when Osteria Felice boast a menu featuring imported Italian cheese and cold cuts, bespoke martinis, and of course, Neapolitan pizza.
One requirement of a true Neapolitan pizza is that it must be baked at 485 °C for 60-90 seconds. The longer your cheese stays under the intense heat, the more likely you will see the milk solid separating from the moisture, which causes rubbery cheese and a soggy pizza. Traditionally, only wood-fired ovens have been able to maintain such a high temperature viably and you can imagine the difficulty of using a wood-fired oven in a Grade A commercial building in Central.
Epicurean Group and executive chef Brian Moore have recently installed a state-of-the-art electric oven in their new restaurant, Osteria Felice. This oven, which reaches the required temperature, is the first one to be used in Asia, and it gives us a great reason to try out Osteria Felice.
Decor-wise, it's an old-school vibe with a modern twist. The floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with bottles behind the bar combined with the traditional Italian decor gave the restaurant a comfortable atmosphere, and somewhere you would go to have a drink after work. In the back dining room, we enjoyed the pictures of all things happy which ties to their name; osteria meaning restaurant, and felice meaning happy.
They’ve also got a great happy hour deal between 5-9pm. It’s not the buy-one-get-one drink deal that should bring you down, but the hearty, complimentary bar snacks that grabbed our attention.
As any proper full-service Italian restaurant should have, Osteria Felice boasts a full bar, and there were a number of special cocktails that caught our eye. We were immediately drawn to the “Bespoke Martini” menu which gave us the opportunity to build our perfect martini. From liquor type and level of dryness, to the type of bitters, finishing touches, and garnish, we took this chance to have an extra dry Monkey 47 dirty gin martini ($220).
Finally for those of you looking for something more festive, Osteria Felice serves fresh fruit Bellini’s ($100 / glass, $550 / jug) with flavours that change seasonally depending on what fruit is in season. A full cocktail and wine list is available as well, including a number of dessert wines and aperitifs, including four different grappas.
We started first with their Grilled Octopus ($165), which is first cooked sous vide and then finished over a grill to provide that balance between tender meat, and crispy bits on the outside. Served with a spiced potato salad and celery hearts, this starter was a winner.
One of the things on the menu we had been looking forward to was their entire section devoted to mozzarella and burrata. After some deliberation, we decided to choose the Burrata & Osetra Caviar ($228), served with a traditional garnish of shallots, ginger, and chives. No disappointments here, friends. Osteria Felice flies all their cheese in directly from Italy, and this burrata was creamy and fresh. We loved the balance between the saltiness of the caviar and the aromatics of the garnish.
When our Salciccia pizza ($188) arrived, the table became suddenly quiet and we started divvying up slices for our table. Imported from Naples, the Fiore Di Latte mozzarella was creamy, stringy, and retained a full milk flavour to it. We especially enjoyed the springy, sourdough crust and the Italian sausage and wild broccoli toppings were fresh, flavourful, and complimented each other well.
For all you Nutella fans out there, we highly recommend the Housemade Hazelnut Tartuffo ($88) dessert. A scoop of creamy hazelnut ice cream (with an oozy chocolate center) is housed by a sculpted ball of dark chocolate, nuts, and pop rock candy. Yes, you read that correctly, there’s pop rock candy added to the chocolate mixture. Just say yes.
We know Hutchison House is a bit off the beaten path, and for most of us, it will take a special trip to try this place out. We always love great pizza, and this had all the components of a winning pie: a chewy sourdough crust, high-quality mozzarella, and fresh, hearty toppings. For those of you looking for a new favourite Italian spot, it's a great spot to start your evening off with a cocktail, and end up in the dining room for a meal with your closest friends.
Open: Mon - Sun from 11:30am - Late