Monday, August 15, 2011

Linguini Fini (Hong Kong)


Mochachocolata tried it, HK Epicurus experienced it, Dorothy is about to review it after her many visits. Many reviewed it on and I expect plenty more to come as well for this newly opened New York-Italian lofty restaurant named Linguini Fini. Reviews so far are mixed but it is only normal because we all have preferences when it comes to taste and we are all entitled to our own opinions as well. The key is once again in sharing in a way that truly expresses one's experience for others to enjoy or simply to provide information for readers. My approach has always been to share my experiences / adventures as factually informative as possible so readers can be their own judge. My first visit to Linguini Fini was a pleasant one thanks to the warm hospitality of the restaurant in letting me try out a great number of dishes beyond which my already expandable stomach can handle. There were hits and misses on my first visit (and Dorothy's 10th visits), but there are a few things this "lofty joint" truly stand out among similar establishment in my opinion.


  • Following its sister restaurant Posto Publico, Linguini Fini implements the no service charge policy as well 
  • The most expensive item on menu is the Hanger Steak which set you back for HKD168
  • Implementation of no reservation policy, creating a rather casual, down to earth atmosphere. True that it can be a hassle out even outright annoying during peak hours to wait in queue but then again, people do not seem to be bothered to queue for a bowl of HKD100 ramen out of the street right? Queue up if you like, leave if you don't. Although I hate queueing up, it is a fair system nonetheless. If I wanted to go, I would go during non-peak hours, but it is a choice one has to make, fair and square.
  • The concept of sustainable dining deserves the attention which it lacks. There are varying levels to the concept of sustainable dining, the one that many would often hear is the increasing use of locally produced ingredients and the other is the reduction of food wastage (ie: use of as many animal parts as possible for example) 

We started off the meal with a glass of refreshing Watermelon Basil Punch, perfect for the summer.


The bread basket came in a retro style tin container which I wanted to take home so badly! The bread itself was fair, nothing overly exciting about it but I like how they provide flakes sea salt together with olive oil to enhance the subtle flavors.


Stracetti di Manzo, rare beef with artichokes, gorgonzola dolce and anchovy aioli was a great way to start the munching. A rather strong dish to begin with especially with the gorgonzola dolce blue cheese but as a cheese lover, I was more than happy to have the whole plate to myself.


Home cured Lingua was one of my favorites dishes on this visit, the ox tongue was thinly sliced and mixed with a simple drizzle of olive oil and some peppers. Simplicity works in most cases. Correct me if I am wrong but this is not a common dish one can find in an Italian restaurant in Hong Kong and the fact that they decided to include this in its menu somewhat shows how they want this establishment to be different and perhaps fun as well.


The 8 Hour Tripe was yet another uncommon offering among Hong Kong Italian restaurants, at least based on my experience. The inclusion of a beef tripe dish can be an example of the sustainable dining efforts. Nothing too fancy but I find the flavor of the sauce slightly overpowering for my liking.


I love Milanese which was breaded & fried pig's heart. Again, a sustainable dining effort in my opinion.   The breaded crust was too thick while the sliced pig's heart was too thin. Flavors of the breaded crust was overpowering, very difficult to distinguish the taste of the pig's heart.


Chicken is usually not a popular item at any restaurant for various reasons such as difficult to eat for diners or often overcooked to extreme dryness. However, it is how well a restaurant handle the chicken dish that can illustrate how ... good it is?  or how dedicated chefs & cooks are towards the quality of their food perhaps? Maybe it was my good day, the Lardo Roasted Chicken was sufficiently tender with crispy and flavorful skin. It was flavorful enough that no dipping sauce was required. Yes, eating the chicken skin is a key part in enjoying chicken, no matter what sort of chicken dish we are talking about!


On Top of Spaghetti, a simple pasta dish with a huge homemade meatball sitting on top. The tomato sauce was on the light side. One may find the sauce on the runny side (I had that feeling as well) but the  sauce started to thicken as the cheese started to melt. Perhaps that was what the chef intended? What can I say about the homemade meat ball? I wish there was more than ONE!


As mentioned, another idea of sustainable dining is to use more local ingredients and this Classic Linguini Fini - Dried Shrimp used local dried shrimp paste as the main ingredient. Similar the the meat ball dish, flavor was on the lighter side which I actually prefer. The lightness of the tomato sauce allowed the flavor of the dried shrimp paste stand out.


Tiramisu, deconstructed. It tasted like Tiramisu but I would not call it so in a technically sense. Perhaps it is a Tiramisu-flavored dessert at best. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much, the "lady finger" part was slightly crunchy with strong flavored coffee cake crumble in every spoonful. Make sure you eat with the frozen chocolate tiramisu gelato to get the best contrasting texture.


Apparently this Lemon Olive Oil Cake is a popular item at Linguini Fini and I understand why. The subtle lemon flavor can be tasted on every bite of the dense / firm cake together with a crunchy outer crust.


  • Decor & Atmosphere. lofty and casual. The no service charge policy is one of the key selling points in my opinion along with how reasonably priced most items are within its own category. 
  • Home cured Lingua - such a simple dish yet you want to come back for more. 
  • On Top of Spaghetti - In addition to the meat balls, how the melting cheese would slowly thicken the rather runny tomato sauce impressed me. I wonder if it was intentional though ... 
  • 8 Hour Tripe - the tomato sauce was overpowering 
  • I love Milanese - pig's heart sliced too thin, the breaded crust became the star of the show instead of the pig's heart. 
Avg Spending: (by invitation) should be around HKD 200 - 300 per person

Linguini Fini 
1/F, The L Place,
139 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2857 1333


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