Thursday, December 10, 2009

Posto Pubblico

I had no clue that it was the opening night for this restaurant when I stepped into it and no wonder it was so crowded! The front half of the establishment was occupied by the bar area so my friend and I had to squeeze through the crowd to get into the main dining area. It wasn't as big as I imagined, with only a dozen or so tables from a quick scan.

The first thing you will see when you enter the dining area is the open kitchen RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the premise. A bold move indeed to have such a huge open kitchen smack in the middle of the restaurant. (Did I mention that there is a NO SERVICE CHARGE POLICY? and it said on the menu that "when it comes to tipping, whatever you feel reflects the meal") Yet another bold move by Hong Kong's standard of course! (the no service charge policy is how it always works in many parts of the world to my humble knowledge, ie: United States. TIPS are always extra, on top of the bill and not included)

Aside from the above-mentioned, the decor was very nice with brick styled walls and has a true bistro feel to it. There were many items on the minimalistic menu that I wasn't sure what they were so I asked the waitstaff in explain to us in details. Throughout our attempt to ask the waitstaff to translate many of the items in Italian that we were unfamiliar with, the following two words were being repeated many times: Organic & Homemade. Alright, I get it, your ingredients are mostly organic and most pasta (& sauces) were homemade (including the Mozzarella cheese). Hence the homemade bread basket arrived soon after ordering.

(1) Roasted Potatoes, Rosemary
The skin was crisp and the potatoes were still very hot. The waitress informed me when ordering that the potatoes would be a bit on the sweet side but I found it quite the opposite. The rosemary was more to show than anything else because I did not really notice much rosemary flavors. In any case, it was a nice dish to start with; o o o crispy skinned hot and mushy roasted potatoes, my favorite!

(2) Beets & Leaves, Ricotta, Salata, Pin Nuts
The organic beets, as repeated by the waitress, were nice but no surprised here. The Ricotta was not as strong as I hoped.

(3) Cacio e Pepe Pasta
So what exactly is Cacio e Pepe? It is a traditional Italian pasta with pecorino romano sheep cheese and black pepper. You really have to know your pasta in order to come here. I had to ask in quite a detailed manner to know what they are because I had no clue but I am learning new things about food everyday and I am enjoying every second of it! I tried some and the pasta was al dente indeed (perhaps slightly, just slightly undercooked). Cheese flavor was rich and strong. Simple yet satisfying.

(4) Bombardoni Pubblico Veal, Pork, Beef
The bombardoni was al dente but the sauce was rather salty to my likely, a bit strong in terms of flavors but by no means bad. Italian pasta sauces tend to be quite rich and strong to my understanding, but it was too strong for me. Obviously with the strong flavors I could not really distinguish the various meat being used but it was a comforting dish indeed.

Note to self: I think it is I either use the flash or buy a DSLR. Tough decision indeed!

  • Roasted Potatoes - skin crisp, hot and mushy in the inside.
  • Cacio e Pepe Pasta - rich cheese flavors and a simple pasta dish
  • The relatively massive open kitchen was a nice touch (and yet bold move). Every square inch is valuable real estate especially in Hong Kong.
  • It gets quite NOISY when full house!
  • The table arrangement was quite packed within the dining area
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

Check out CNNGo's review on Posto Pubblico as well!

Posto Pubblico
G/F, 28 Elgin Street, Central
Tel: 2577 7160

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Jodi said...

As I have told Babedolphin, cacio e pepe is very simple to make and if you wish to try more cooking, you really should try this at home and save hundreds of dollar! To round off the meal,you can have some Mont d'Or. Nice idea, right? I'll show you the recipe some time and I am sure that your product can beat the restaurant.

Jason said...

@Jodi: from the look of the dish it seemed rather simple to make and definitely worth trying to make it myself, perhaps my next venture into the kitchen! lolz ... and yes, some Mont d'Or would be WONDERFUL!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy there is a restaurant like this in HK. There is a definite Italian scene in NYC and these guys just nailed it! I felt like I was sitting in the middle of SOHO (manhattan) Instantly transported back with the selection of pastas, simple menu done perfectly, and the overall vibe. Those who don't know what its like to dine is NYC should visit this place - completely cutting edge for HK! Well Done.

Jason said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for dropping by! I do have to agree that the vibe and the atmosphere was great, carrying the NYC feel to it especially the bar area and the cozy environment. I think I will return soon to give their pizza a try!

Anonymous said...

The food does not look that delicious....BTW, most Italian restaurants in SOHO of NYC are overpriced with sub-par quality!

Jason said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for dropping by. I think even many of the restaurants in SoHo HK are slightly overpriced as well because I think they are more keen about profits than the food quality to a certain degree. This Italian joint is not the best but it does give you a cozy / homely feeling which many nearby restaurant lacked. There are plenty of room for improvement indeed :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,

Note to self: Buy a Canon S90. Low light king of pocket cameras. With it's F2 lens (when not zoomed) and cleanish ISO1600, you'll be taking awesome pictures.

Keep up the good blog,


Jason said...

@Fred: Thanks for the suggestion! I am looking for a new camera for food pictures and S90 is indeed on top of my list. Also thinking about GF1 but rather expensive due to its ... ummm ... advanced features.

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