Cecconi’s Italian

Cecconi’s Italian

Where:
Cecconi’s Italian
2/F, 77 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2565 5300

Price:
HKD750 each for three courses and a bottle of wine between two people.

The deal:
Cecconi’s has moved from its Elgin Street digs to the cursed second floor of 77 Wyndham Street. There’s some bad mojo going on that floor because I’ve been to so many different unmemorable restaurants at that location. I heard a rumour that it’s now haunted by the Ghost of David Laris, who slaps steaks and choreographs awkward dances for leggy models while screaming in anguish the names of restaurants past, before fixing his steely gaze upon you.

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Sauce

“LAAAAAAAARIS”, The Ghost of David Laris shouts in a double barrelled reference to his former Laris restaurant and his last name. Cries of “THE BELLBROOK!” have also been known to ricochet across the floor before The Ghost of David Laris rhythmically slaps another steak while shouting “NO PRETENCE! NO PRETENCE!” at all that dare to pass. Regardless of the rumoured second floor hauntings, Cecconi’s has rebooted itself less than two months ago, shipping in Chef Michael Fox (of Cecconi’s Melbourne and Vue de Monde fame) to flog their contemporary Italian fare.

We’re seated by our slick head waiter and settle on our choices from a menu which at least seems interesting. Cecconi’s bread game was on good form and I’m shovelling their fuck yeah bread and grassy, intense olive oil into my head while I settle on the “Poached veal, fried tuna mayonnaise, caper berries” (HKD178 +10%) for my entree, pondering whether there should be a comma between fried tuna and mayonnaise. I always fucking love that classic Italian veal vs tuna vitello tonnato combo and I was looking forward to checking Cecconi’s shit out, even while I did think that HKD178 is not an insignificant amount of cash for a starter.

However, while leaning towards being expen$ive, Cecconi’s starter was a beautiful fuck yeah – poached slices of medium-rare veal against the deep fried cubes of creamy, shredded tuna. This fuck yeah combination of proteins was set against a herb sauce, mayonnaise and briney, punchy capers. Fuck yeahhhhh, even at the price point I can get behind this substantial serving of masterfully balanced ingredients with its fuck yeah presentation. It was fucking great, I would most definitely order this again and I’d recommend it to anyone who is never happy with just the one animal on their plate.

Although the secondi dishes looked really interesting I always judge an Italian restaurant by their pasta and I decided to give one of their less traditional pastas, ordering the “Pumpkin ravioli, red mullet, bouillabaisse sauce, shiso” which clocks in at at a solid HKD238 (+10% service charge). It arrived looking pretty rad – packets of ravioli against several precisely poached pieces of red mullet. This dish was interesting in the sense that I’ve never had pumpkin ravioli with bouillabaisse and shiso but while I was ok with this dish I can imagine that a lot of people would not be down with this fairly fishy dish. The bouillabaisse sauce is giving off some big seafood feels which I can jive with but I could imagine some people don’t appreciate being socked in the face with a shellfish broth when they’re getting their pasta on. I get what was meant to be happening here – salty bouillabaisse sauce reminiscent of the ocean is meant to play against the sweet red mullet and the pumpkin filling of the pasta, with a fresh herbal shiso note thrown over the top of it all. While I liked it enough at the time, I certainly wouldn’t be telling anyone that they have to get involved with this dish if they were to come to Cecconi’s. I always think that a fuck yeah pasta should involve deep, primal emotions where every fiber in your body is desperate to cram every last piece into your being while you force yourself to eat slowly so this carb-filled dream can last as long as possible. I didn’t get such feelings from Cecconi’s pasta, which means that sure, you can file this one under an interesting dish where I’ve never had that flavour combination before but fuck me, I don’t know if my lifetime ever needs me to revisit said flavour combination. My dining homie ordered the duck parpadelle which he was more underwhelmed with, declaring it to be only a 6/10. So I’m assessing that Cecconi’s pasta performance hasn’t exactly killed it and for an Italian place, they’re on the edge of a FYN fuck no death knell because I’m of the view that Italian restaurants need to slay on the pasta front if they want to claim they’re the shiz at what they do.

While the entree and main servings had been of a decent fuck yeah size, I stayed true to my FYN motto and decided to power on though pudding. While I wanted to get the tiramisu (fuck yeahhh, cream, coffee and liquor – what’s not to love?), I decided to mix shit up and go for the “Mango panna cotta, macadamia, coconut sorbet” (HKD78 +10%).  After one bite, I knew that this is where Cecconi’s was going to stave off the fuck no death knell of an only adequate pasta course through their monumental fuck yeah efforts on the pudding front. Cecconi’s panna cotta game was off the fucking hook with every component pounding its fist down in a resolute FUCK YEAH. Even though I’d been served a very generous scoop of coconut sorbet, I desperately wanted at least two more scoops of that fuck yeah, delicately flavoured snow white coconut beauty in my life. Then you pair that good sorbet shiz with a perfectly smooth panna cotta which wasn’t a gelatinous mess (fuck no to over-gelatinised rock hard panna cottas), sweet mango and some toasted macadamias and you know you’re having a major FUCK YEAH dessert moment which makes up for the interesting though not amazing pasta experience.

Aside from the major fuck yeah entree and dessert that I had here, the staff at Cecconi’s were definitely on their shit all night and get a big fuck yeah for consistent, attentive service. In a HK rarity, our waitress was even able to remember who ordered what and accurately presented all our plates without checking, so I gotta give props to that. Cecconi’s head homie was a solid fuck yeah host – checking in at appropriate points to see if everything was ok and keeping us well watered all night. What a novelty for HK – a restaurant which actually kept my wine glass filled all the time instead of my normal go to move of where I cast desperate eyes trying to find anyone to help me, while my parched tongue lies thick and boozeless, a victim of apathetic and inattentive service.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah! While Cecconi’s might not have nailed the pasta dish, everything else I ate there was a fuck yeah and I gotta throw my full hearted support behind waitstaff who are on their A game from start to finish. I’d definitely brave the chance of running into The Ghost of David Laris again, even if it was just to have that veal and tuna dish and mango panna cotta in my life again.

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