Pasta Masters

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Four new restaurants are paving the way for the city’s carb craze with high-end, artisan pastas. By Dorothy So. Photography by Calvin Sit

Al Molo (Strongest chef backing)



Celeb chef Michael White’s restaurant empire is built largely on its bold pasta dishes. It’s the same story at Al Molo (White’s first venue in Hong Kong), where head chef Jimmy Everett and his kitchen team peddle nine different housemade pastas every day. “Different pastas have different textures and thicknesses,” says Everett, which is why it’s important to use the right pasta for the right purpose. He recommends the garganelli ($178) – a quill-shaped, rolled pasta with three different layers – for those who prefer their noodles on the more al dente side. The ridge marks on the surface and the tubular shape also make the garganelli ideal for holding onto sauces. At Al Molo, Everett pairs it with a heady truffle cream sauce dotted with prosciutto and sweet peas. Flat noodles like the supple stracci ($148) are suitable for richer and chunkier sauces, which is why Everett opts for a wild mushroom and rosemary sauce for this particular pasta.

Shop G63, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 7-23 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2730 7900.

Linguini Fini (QUIRKIEST FLAVOURS)



The Posto Pubblico guys have upped the ante for pastas with this new graffiti-laden, no-reservations offering. There are well over a dozen pastas on offer here but the hardest hitters are the signature linguini finis, which include one classic pomodori and five infused pastas. For the infused selection, head chef Vinny Lauria (of former Babbo fame) combines rustic, nonna-style Italian cuisine with old-school Chinese ingredients. There’s the briny sweet puttanesca pasta made with Chinese olive-infused linguini fini tossed with tomatoes, chilli, oregano and anchovies ($58 small; $88 large). Another signature coats the pasta in a creamy goat cheese fonduta perfumed with herbal fragrant grass ($58 small; $88 regular). Then there’s the stark yellow linguini fini flavoured with powderised salted duck egg, served alla Genovese ($58 small; $88 regular). All the pastas are made in-house and most of the ingredients are sourced locally. Another must-try is the fazzoletti ($78 small; $118 regular) – a softer, handkerchief-shaped noodle that Lauria douses with a chunky ‘nose-to-tail’ Bolognese made from pork jowl, veal shoulder and oxtail. Pastas don’t come any cooler than this.

1/F, The L Place, 139 Queen’s Rd Central, 2857 1333; www.linguinifini.com.

Trattoria Doppio Zero (BEST FLOUR)



After a stint at BLT Steak and BLT Burger, chef Jake Addeo returns to his formal Italian culinary training with a casual trattoria at The Pemberton. The space is named after an ultra-fine ‘00’ flour Addeo uses to make the restaurant’s signature pastas. Doppio Zero offers a small selection of imported dry pastas, as well as six fresh homemade pastas for lunch with two additional pastas for dinner. On top of using the finest ingredients for his pastas, Addeo is also meticulous when it comes to sauces. “You should treat pastas like a salad. The sauce should only just lightly dress the pasta,” he says. His current lineup includes a tagliatelle Bolognese ($140 dinner) made from veal, chicken and pork cooked in milk with a little tomato paste. Asian touches also crop up here and there in his menu – his spaghetti neri ($140 dinner) is coloured with fresh cuttlefish ink and mixed with baby cuttlefish, chopped scallions, tomatoes and Thai chillies. Addeo plans to introduce an omakase-style concept soon with a pasta tasting menu that plays around with market-driven ingredients and provisions sourced from his nearby dried food stores. Keep your eyes peeled.

G/F, The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 2851 0682; www.doppiozero.com.hk.

Pasta Mio (MOST CONVENIENT)



Lori Granito may be most famous for her Cajun cooking at Magnolia, but she’s also ready to take on pasta with her new noodle-to-go concept. Her little takeaway store by the escalators offers 10 different pastas and sauces designed to be mixed and matched to your heart’s content. Customers can also choose from three different sizes (fit, regular or frickin’ huge), their level of al dente-ness and the option of cheese or no cheese. Although Granito doesn’t make her own pastas on-site, she offers five premium, handcrafted noodles sourced from artisan pastamakers in Italy and flown in on a weekly basis. Among some of the most popular offerings are the fiocchi (little parcels of smoked ham and fontina cheese, $70-$88) and the spaghetti alla chitarra ($60-$78), which can be blanketed in anything from spicy arrabbiata sauce to pesto sauce and carbonara. The quality of the pastas is on par with a lot of the glitzier restaurants in town but the noodles are sold at only a fraction of the price you would pay at most other places. As Granito explains: “The idea of Pasta Mio is to strip back what you would get at a high-end Italian restaurant and see how much fun we can have with it.”

27-29 Hollywood Rd, Central, 2530 2830.

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6 Comments Add your comment

  • I've tried Linguine Fini, Doppio Zero and Pasta Mio and I got to say, Doppio Zero is my choice! I have tried their lunch and I can't wait to be back for dinner as I took a sneak peek at the dinner menu which looks incredible!! Tried their linguine vongole and ended up eating more than half of my gf's beetroot ravioli - just amazing and I'll definitely be back for more. Linguine Fini simply didn't work for me but if price was put more into consideration, i would say give it a try for comparison's sake. For me though, I wouldn't go back for at least 2-3 months until their menu is more complete (I enjoyed the veal and oxtail ragu but that was about it). I don't understand how Pasta Mio really falls in to this article, to be honest. It is comparing apples to oranges as it really is just pre-cooked dry pasta (which allow it to be whipped up in less than 1 minute, much like Pasta Te). It was quite enjoyable after a drunk Saturday night with friends though! Although my blogger friends have all hated Al Molo, I can't wait to try it out to round out my tour on Hong Kong's Pasta Masters!!!

    Posted by Filippo H on July 6, 2011 at 04:58 PM
  • OMG! Trattoria Doppio Zero was incredible. We went recently and told Chef Jake to feed us. Feed us he didn! We got to try a great many of the pastas, sorry I don't remember the names but they were all delicious. The sauces were great, not over sauced and each one had a surprise taste that was unexpected and excellent. I highly recommend Doppio Zero for a pleasant change. Not sure about the rating system. I give it a 10 out of 10. Hope 5 is the best rating on this site.

    Posted by Rhonda F on July 8, 2011 at 05:00 AM
  • opps last comment should read: Feed us he DID!!!!!

    Posted by rhonda F on July 8, 2011 at 05:02 AM
  • tried linguini fini, the prices are good but pastas overrated, way too salty and some very sweet.

    Posted by jhalpern on July 15, 2011 at 07:05 AM
  • Doppio Zero will attract many customers, but they will only go ONE time and won't return, because you can eat better for the same money elsewhere in HK, and trust me in HK there are plenty options. I had high expectations and I don't mind paying, but it's overrated. It seems more like a tapas bar, people may enjoy to have a drink, but it's not for a proper ITALIAN meal. 1. We had no reservation, arrived at 7pm, the restaurant was empty and they put us at the bar. By the time we left, the restaurant was still 3/4 empty. 2. I ordered Ravioli (7 pieces). Miserably stingy. 3. I asked for bread. They replied: 'Oh, do you want bread?'. Yes, indeed I expect bread (a good Italian restaurant has a bread basket) in an ITALIAN restaurant. I was given half a slice of bread. I think they were hiding the bread. If I would not have asked they would not have given. Miserable. My brother in law is Italian and I would be ashamed to bring him to this so called 'Italian Restaurant'. If food is more important than drinks, then you may leave frustrated. Does anybody have recommendations for good Italian Food in HK? Of course NO Spaghetti House! Something genuine, clean, fresh ingredients, bread, fair portion of pasta...

    Posted by William on August 13, 2011 at 03:11 PM
  • The best pasta I ever had was not in Italy but in Singapore, a place called Pasta Mania

    Posted by alvin jeffrey phee on September 11, 2011 at 03:10 PM

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