Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong


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Aberdeen Street Ascension

It doesn’t take a genius to work out where this latest restaurant is. It does however, take some sturdy thigh muscles to trek up this street to reach it, a street which usually induces a wrinkling of my nose whenever I need to walk up it. However, for the love of a pretty outdoor terrace, cool decor, (think gigantic bottles of tequila- fake unfortunately, and contemporary art) and a chance to eat away from the madding crowd, Aberdeen Street could become a few people’s new favourite haunt.

Aberdeen Street

Aberdeen Street

 By kind invitation, my friend and I went to check it out one evening a couple of weeks back and after sweating like a pig from our mini-hike, declined the offer to sit on the terrace for fear of ending up like a puddle, reminiscent of Senator Kelly in the first X-men film *geek moment*. After taking up a table near the front, we got a good look at the sweet, compact space decked out in sea blue and tan hues. A bar area and the giant tequila bottles are the decorative features and creates a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.IMG_7347 IMG_7331 IMG_7333

The menu is quite extensive and has a good selection of starters, salads, meats and sharing plates. Croquettes are always so enticing, probably because they are so easy to eat and pop-in-your-mouth parcels of fun when done well, and their Vegetarian croquettes of rice balls with carrots and mushrooms were a tasty start. Up next were a dozen Australian oysters which were fresh, fleshy and filling but I would say go easy on the oysters and get a half dozen if you intend to eat more and there’s only two of you!

Vegetarian croquettes

Vegetarian croquettes

Australian oysters

Australian oysters

Aberdeen Street highly recommends their monster Soho salads which are all quaintly named after various streets in Soho. The Old Bailey Street salad intrigued us with its various ingredients- chilli prawn, red and green peppers, Feta cheese, cucumber, watermelon and lettuce. It was crisp, light and our chosen dressing, the ‘Aberdeen Street’ vinaigrette did not drown out the refreshing watermelon.

Old Bailey Street salad

Old Bailey Street salad

The Meat Touch was quite the show-stopper and definitely encourages parties to embrace the ‘Sharing Spirit’ that it is labelled under on the menu. Grilled back ribs, mini beef burgers made with grilled steak tartare, foie gras rècme brûlée, cornichons, pate de campagne, cold cuts and sauteed potatoes fill the eyes before the stomach. The ribs were disappointing, overly grilled and so were tough to pull apart from the bone. The mini burgers were rather nice, but I wasn’t sure about the patties being made from steak tartare specifically, as I couldn’t tell the difference between that and a normal patty. The foie gras creme brulee was smooth and delicious with cornichons and the extremely moreish potatoes.IMG_7358 IMG_7359

The Meat Touch

The Meat Touch

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To end we had their vanilla Crème brûlée which would have been good if it weren’t for the too charred caramelised sugar on top which left half of my mouthfuls with a burnt aftertaste. The custard itself was pleasantly sweet but this could have been executed far better.

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

Aberdeen Street has good service, the manager Morgan, is attentive and helpful and as mentioned, the ambience is laid-back and chilled. There is also a good brunch offering on the weekends with free-flow booze from 12pm to 3pm ($348), eggs done any way you like and ‘Total Recovery’ dishes for those hangovers. The food was a bit hit and miss, but I do think that with time this could become something worth making a visit to, even with that bloody steep climb.

 Chopstixfix rating: 3/5

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Aberdeen Street, UG/F King Ho Building, 41-49 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2546 5833. contact@aberdeenstreet.com.hk

This was by kind invitation- thank you Aberdeen Street for having us!

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Piccolo Pizzeria & Bar

Wan Chai is choc-a-bloc with a variety of tasty eateries lately, from the swanky to the modest and cool.

Piccolo Pizzeria and Bar is one of the latter, and after successful branches in Kennedy Town and Tai Hang, a third restaurant has now opened at Tai Wong East Street. If you enjoy their Roman-style pizzas and satisfying pastas, but found Tai Hang and Kennedy Town just that little bit too far to get to, then the Wan Chai is nicely in the middle to sort out your needs.

Homey and family-friendly were the two things that sprung to mind when I stepped foot inside one Saturday evening. The premises are thankfully larger than their Tai Hang branch which, despite my best efforts, I could never get a seat at. The word ‘friendly’ persists, with happy, helpful staff who showed me to my table and were just on the right end of chatty to talk me through the menu and their specials.

Piccolo Pizzeria

Piccolo Pizzeria

I had a good view of the restaurant, gazing up at their muted tin lights with different shaped tungsten filaments lining the centre of the ceiling and their open bar. 70s and 80s music washed over me, and I had to stop myself from showing my age and busting out some karaoke warblings to The Police and Spandau Ballet.

The menu does not try too hard with too many dishes or anything overly fancy. The focus is on the freshly-made pizzas and pastas with the addition of a daily special.

I started off with a basic Beetroot and Rocket salad, which was nicely dressed but could have done with a slightly more generous helping of beetroot to what was a forest of rocket on my plate.

Beetroot and Rocket salad

Beetroot and Rocket salad

I tried a small portion of the special that day which was an Italian seafood soup called Cioppino, with Red Snapper, squid, shrimp, clams and lobster. The shrimp were sweet, the broth full of flavour and quite clearly the result of a good amount of reduction with half the sea in it.

Seafood Cioppino

Seafood Cioppino

The staff recommended I have the Nduja de Calabria pasta with live prawns tossed with chilli. This was by far, the most delicious pasta I have had for a long time. The Nduja, which is the Calabrian version of salami, is spicy and typically used as a spread on breads or served with cheese. In this pasta dish, the chorizo-like piquant sausage lovingly coated the pasta and the prawns were so fresh and sweet, that I clean forgot I had pizzas to look forward to and tucked into this dish with gusto.

Nduja de Calabria pasta

Nduja de Calabria pasta

I was able to sample two of their pizzas- the signature Pizza Pancetta with bacon, tomato sauce and a soft egg and the bestselling Prosciutto di Parma with Parma ham and rocket. Both were excellent though I especially loved the Pizza Pancetta. The pizza bases were crispy and thin and the cheeses melted and bubbled to perfection. I stopped at two slices from each and excitedly asked to have the leftovers to take-away, a brilliant decision on my part as my lunch at home the next day was amazing. The Pizza Pancetta was, I think, even tastier and I had it cold. Not that I would encourage this, but I am definitely ordering this pizza again and saving some for leftovers.

Pizza Pancetta

Pizza Pancetta

Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciutto di Parma

Although I was on the verge of bursting, no meal would be complete without some dessert. I had to try the Tiramisu which was lovely and light and child-friendly. The portion is just enough to satisfy anyone’s craving for a sweet ending without being too cloying. The Panna cotta was smooth and full of vanilla pods which I love and I was pleased to note that it was not overly rich or sweet and the fruits were a refreshing complement.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Panna cotta

Panna cotta

I can see exactly why Piccolo Pizzeria is able to open a third branch. With reasonable prices (around $120-180 for mains) for hearty, unpretentious but well-executed food, it is somewhere that I know I will be finding my way back to for a tasty meal with solid service and a friendly atmosphere.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5


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Piccolo Pizzeria & Bar – Wan Chai, 22 Tai Wong East Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Reservations: 2824 3002

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 12pm to 10pm; Friday to Sunday & Public Holidays: 12pm to 10:30pm

 This review was done on behalf of Sassy HK and can be read here.