Italian

Where:
Zucca London
184 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3TQ

Phone:
+44 (0)20 7378 6809 or fuck yeah, online booking (HK, Y U not as good at this as UK?!)

Price:
£123 (approx USD210) for two people (service charge is not included), excluding tip.  Three courses, but including a £45 bottle of spectacular as fuck Coppi Barberra bottle of red wine and a £10 glass of grappa.  Spoiler alert – you better fucking leave a goddamn tip here, motherfuckers.

The deal:
The UK Supercoach provided us with a list of UK recommendations and out of all of them, he declared that Zucca was the absolute must visit, fuck yeah stop.  Pro tips from the UK Supercoach also included do not order the carpaccio, the free bread will ensure that you forget the breadsticks at Grissini, get the zucca fritti, make sure to have at least one pasta (and if available, get the white truffle pasta) and the panna cotta. I may have received more than one reminder to get the panna cotta.  I fucking love people who have firm opinions about food (fuck, who would have guessed), everyone should take a vow not to be one of those bullshit friends who when you ask them for somewhere to go, they recommend some half-assed mediocre restaurant but when you really push them, they go “I mean, I guess it’s ok”.  Apathetic homies, Y U recommend just ok restaurant?!  Rules to fucking live by – make your words count for something, always!!

The service at Zucca was a top notch fuck yeah, with our waitress walking us through the menu, explaining all the Italian terms (without the vaguest hint of a condescension) and the backstory to some of the dishes. All the points in the goddamn universe for the menu which states boldly at the bottom “Using your mobile phone is unnecessary and anti-social” – ALL THE FUCK YEAHS EVER TO THIS SENTIMENT.  How fucking nice to be in a restaurant buzzing with people getting their nom on, talking to each other and there was only one guy who was on his goddamn mobile at the table.  No stupid fucking pauses for food photography , checking their blackberries or whatsapping with the fury of a thousand suns.  If you really want to see some pics, check out these beautiful as fuck pictures of Zucca over at The Hunt.  But really, carpe fuckin’ diem for once, you super connected assholes, you can exist outside of your mobile device I swear to god.

We followed the UK Supercoach playguide when it came to ordering.  At Zucca, they make all of their own bread, pasta and ice-cream.  The bread board contained a medley of different types of bread and came out with their own extra virgin olive oil, which is beautiful and green, grassy and complex which almost saw me ruin my appetite as I wanted to demand more bread to get more of dat oil into my life.  For entrees, we got the Zucca fritti and the vitello tonnato.  The Zucca fritti were fuck yeah, crispy as fuck, delicate batons of pumpkin tempura.  The vitello tonnato was a play on the Italian classic of the veal with the tuna flavoured mayonnaise – getting all vice versas chocolate styleez on it, serving barely seared tuna with a pork mayonnaise and  then thin slices of pork with a tuna mayonnaise. A serious fuck yeah, as we dragged fuck yeah bread through the remaining mayonnaise to ensure neither fish nor pig died in vain.

Mr Noms ruminated between getting the pork shoulder or the pork chop and I solved this dilemma by imploring him to consider ‘WWRS?‘ – What Would Roxette Say?

Appeared that the pork chop was calling to him and he tried to imply that I had pork chop envy.  But whoa, back that up homie, cause he was fucking wrong because my bucatini all’amatriciana was giving me life, with each tubular bucatini strand which had even more surface area than a solid linguini/spagetti, to carry dat rich as fuck tomato and pork cheek sauce into my life.

When the panna cotta with gooseberries arrived, I realised why the UK Supercoach had been so adamant that we order this.  Fuck yeah to panna cotta which quivvers to the touch but melted away once you ate this snowy white beauty.  I don’t want to get too Descriptive Food Wank 101 on yo ass but fuck meeeeee, this is probably one of the best panna cottas I’ve had in my entire life. Not being fucking dramatic either.

Sometimes it’s easy to get fatigued with boring as fuck, basic bitch Italian food – but then you have a meal like we did at Zucca, a serious boss bitch where there are NO lowlights and there is nothing more that you could fucking want. Mr Noms laid it down last night, taking price out of the equation saying “If it was free, where would you go back to – Dinner by Heston or here?”.  Which made me think about food and dining and all that bullshit – the tricks, the rankings, the stars, the hype, the photos, the techniques – but what does it all fucking count for?  Who really fucking cares – all I know is that I couldn’t get this magnificent, flaw-free, boss bitch out of my head all day, replaying the whole goddamn thing.

Verdict:
One of the best meals I’ve had so far this year. Fucking stunning.  FUCK YEAHHHHHHHHHH.

Where:
Grissini
2F/Grand Hyatt
1 Harbour Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2584 7722

Price:
HKD500ish for a 3 course set lunch.  HKD880 for free flow prosecco Sunday brunch.

The deal:
It sounds like I’m being entirely dramatic when I say that it’s worth going to Grissini alone for the breadsticks.  No one understands me until they go themselves.  I’ve had a few good meals here at Grissini, but all I truly remember are those breadsticks.  I’m sure there were some white plates, white fish, a smear of pesto and a delicately placed sliver of carrot.  But, let’s get back to the main event which is forever etched into my psyche – dat bread.  So at Grissini, they bring out three long breadsticks to the table, wrapped in a white napkin.  You then have to dip them into olive oil / balsamic vinegar and eat them until your belly is entirely distended and you cannot possible eat more.  It’s good to know that when the breadsticks cool down or there’s a little stub left, they bring out more, straight from the pizza oven. Everything else you will eat at Grissini will pale in significance.  I honestly believe this is one of the best fucking bread products I’ve eaten in my life.

From a Sunday brunch perspective, I really enjoyed the Grissini one.  I know in HK, everyone’s all about Zuma (Zuma, Y U no change your brunch menu, ever?!) but while their pasta station was a bit disappointing (under normal circumstances, this would be an automatic fuck no for an ITALIAN place) their antipasti selection, salads and main stations were more interesting than a lot of brunches that I’ve been to.  But, I cannot emphasise this enough – I can’t begin to explain the pure transcendence of dem breadsticks.  GET IN MY LIFE, YOU DOUGHY WONDERS, MY HEART IS YOURS FOREVER.

Addendum – June 2014:  I’ve watched the service at Grissini continue a steady decline over the last year and my recent adventure to gluten town resulted in seeing a total shit show of a service going down.  It’s all well intentioned but when you’re paying that fucking much, it’s not about intention but the fucking result.  Why are the staff unable to clear all the menus once they’ve taken orders?  Why did your meals arrive and out of 8 people, 6 people got the wrong fucking meal?!  FFS HK, I don’t even work in a fucking restaurant and I know how to write a fucking ticket which shows who is having what?! How come when you managed to correct seven of the dishes, the eighth dish remained absent for an uncomfortable amount of time while the other seven diners just looked at our guest waiting for his meal?? I still fucking love those breadsticks with all my heart but you can’t just use white linen tablecloths and expect that to make you a fine dining establishment – DON’T REST ON YOUR DOUGHY BREADSTICK LAURELS YOU LAZY GRAND HYATT FUCKERS.

naomilaurels

The verdict:
Fuck yeah!!

(Addendum:  But based on the shit show I witnessed today – GRISSINI, SORT YO FUCKING SERVICE OUT)

Where:
Cenacolo Steak & Pasta
G/F, 45-53 Graham Street,
Central, Hong Kong

Phone number:
+852 2525 2430

The deal:
It’s almost a foregone conclusion – Soho/Mid-levels + Italian = average.  I can barely even remember what I ate here.  A minestrone soup, a lamb chop for main and a lemon tart for dessert.  I’m not even sure if the cream on the side of the lemon tart was real cream.  I can’t even muster the energy to write derisively about this place except it was terrible, average and if any of your friends suggest you should go, make like an Amy Winehouse song and say no, no, no.

The verdict:
FUCK NO.

Where:
208 Duecento Otto
208 Hollywood Road
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Phone number:
+852 2549 0208

The deal:
sub-HKD200ish for entrees/antipasto.  HKD250 – 300ish for mains.  Italian’s always a crapshoot – particularly in Central HK.  People tell you somewhere is good and then you just end up with some pasta that was ok, a pizza that was ok and you’re HKD500 poorer for the whole mediocre affair (but you did have the privilege of declaring to your fellow diners that you ‘totally could have made this at home’).  Anyway – 208’s food was on point.  Pizza wasn’t a doughy greasy mess.  I ate half a chicken – don’t worry, it was fancy as fuck – pine nuts, oregano, orange, all roasted up.  The downside?  Service was a bit spotty – had to resort to making thirsty / hungry faces at the waitstaff periodically to get their attention and had to beg for menus.

The verdict:
Overall – FUCK YEAH.  But hey, 208 if you ever read this, your service gets a FUCK NO.

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