Giando (Lunch Set)

Giando (Lunch Set)

Where:
Giando
1/F The Fleet Arcade
1 Lung King Street Fenwick Pier
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2511 8912

Price:
Set lunch costs HKD268 (+10%) – three courses plus tea or coffee.

The deal:
Giando is run by Gianni Caprioli, who used to be the Head Chef at Isola.  Not that I give that much fucking weight because that Isola style of two super overpriced agnolottis chilling in some cream sauce, masquerading as a main size serving in a ridiculously huge white plate with a big-ass rim that resembles a comedic ceramic sun hat doesn’t really float my boat.  Giando is going for that casual, elegant dining vibe and claims its focus is on “minimalist, classic Italian dining” using largely Italian produce and was no doubt banking on getting some of that sweet HK harbour view to tempt the punters to their venue.  Unfortunately for them, the foreshore is currently a mess at the moment so instead you get to peer out through the large glass windows at a not-so-scenic construction site.  That’s an unlucky fuck no bummer, Giando.

We sat down and got started on the bag of housemade bread which was a combination of foccacia, bread and crackers.  The staff forgot to ask if we wanted any olive oil or butter but that was the only minor issue with the service during lunch, with Giando’s service staff being largely on top of their shit.  Giando’s bread was ok and not served warm, but it was definitely not that next-level bread game which makes you want to fist handfuls of carbohydrates into your face, throwing all caution about ruining your lunch appetite to the wind.

The lunch set at Giando is a very reasonable HKD268 (+10%) for three courses and a tea or coffee at the end.  Nice touch Giando in not gouging another HKD40 out of your customers for post-lunch coffee.  To start, I went with the Sicilian octopus olive salad.  It was a fuck yeah combination of tender octopus and some freshness provided by the olives, thinly sliced radishes and the lemon in the smashed potato that the octopus was served on. My optimism levels regarding the rest of my meal were fairly good at this stage.

For main, I ordered the black squid ink tagliolini vongole.  The pasta didn’t scrimp on the seafood, providing lots of fuck yeah fresh clams and octopus pieces.  Fuck yeah, I can get behind restaurants which don’t stinge on the quality items.  However the pasta itself was so middle of the road that I’m starting to fucking yawn just thinking about it.  The taglioni was very fine (as it should be) but may have been slightly overcooked, meaning it had barely any texture or al dente bite to it.  The actual flavouring of the pasta was just ok but there wasn’t much going on to bring this dish together.  To be clear, my main wasn’t fucking terrible and I was fine to eat almost all of it but I was just so fucking bored of eating this dish by the end.

Dessert was a pannacotta with a berry sauce which was absolutely inoffensive.  The texture of the panna cotta wasn’t as soft as I prefer but it wasn’t a gelatinous rock hard lump either.  It did the job, qualifying comfortably as an adequate dessert. At least the Americano I ordered was pretty decent, which is a bit of a HK lunch rarity given the shitty coffee you generally get served post meal.

So this is the drum, Giando’s food is fine (I think I’ve used the word fine about 2,368 times in this review) and I’d describe everything as “very edible”.  Which isn’t the highest praise to heap upon a restaurant.  Nothing was a total disaster but shit just wasn’t exciting enough for me to want to come back to see more of what Giando can do and nothing was executed well enough for you to lump Giando’s food into the category of “fuck yeah examples of classic dishes”.  It really was the sort of meal that you eat because you had to eat lunch without being offended, rather one that makes any sort of long lasting impression.

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I gotta note too that Giando is in a super awkward location in the middle of nowhere which isn’t really close to public transport so you’ll probably have to cab there.  That’s not too bad when you’re getting there but when it’s time to leave, you’re gonna be forced to schlep through Wan Chai before you actually find a cab.  So weighing up the inconvenient location and logistical transport issues against an inoffensive meal that has a sweeping vista of HK’s best cranes, tarpaulins and excavated earth, shit just doesn’t stack up for Giando.  Maybe it’s because I was ordering off a set lunch menu but I don’t make excuses for restaurants – cause fuck, if you serve me a mediocre lunch menu I ain’t coming back to give you another chance at dinner.

Verdict:
Fuck no – because I can’t be fucked with sufficing, unobjectionable meals with construction site views.  There’s simply better restaurant experiences in HK at this price point and style.

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