The standard of pizza in Hong Kong has come a long way in the past 10 years. I remember having only a few decent pizzerias when I first moved here, but now there are countless options for good pizza in HK. Kytaly is one of the best examples. They serve both traditional and reinvented Neapolitan pizza by Franco Pepe, whose pizzeria was voted as the best in Italy by 50 Top Pizza. They also have a lovely terrace, which was one of the hottest spots last fall/winter (October – March). I had first visited Kytaly for drinks after a huge dinner, and saw a large group of very well dressed Italian men (they sort of had a modern Godfather vibe :-)) having seriously good looking pizza margherita, and ended up ordering one for myself. And that was a right thing to do.
Their classic margherita is one of my favorites, but I also love the “pizza fritta ciro”. This creative cone shaped fried pizza is crispy outside, soft and pleasantly chewy inside. And the combination of flavors from the filling (cream of Grana padano cheese, rocket pesto and olive powder) fills your mouth with a joy. Oh, and their “nutella tiramisu”, which you could probably imagine everything you need to know from its name, is incredibly nutty creamy and dreamy. My husband, who devoured the whole thing in 3 spoonfuls, once said putting nutella in dessert is like cheating since it makes everything tastes great. If that’s the case I think we should all cheat more often :-).
Spanish tapas is another type of cuisines that has come a long way in Hong Kong’s dining scene. There were only a couple of good tapas places during my first few years here, which was frustrating to say the least. Then all of sudden new Spanish restaurants started to open left and right, and at some point every 1 out 3 new restaurants I hear about seems to serve tapas. I can’t even remember how many tapas places have come and go in the last few years, and I am sure I tried almost all of them.
I went to Pica Pica with no expectation what so ever, and I was pleasantly surprised. Their “lazy omelete with morcilla and chorizo” has every flavor you’d expect from Spanish comfort food with an interesting texture. It’s packed with robust flavors of chorizo and morcilla (Spanich black pudding), but the texture of omelete is slightly chewy and pancake-like, which works well with the toppings. Even though Hong Kong has no shortage of Spanish restaurants, seeing Morcilla on the menu is quite rare. I am so glad that I have found this dish.
Their tomato bread and lamb neck tapas are also delicious, but my favorites are their desserts. The “pina colada”, cleverly served in a coconut bowl is light and refreshing with a touch of richness from coconut cream. And the “dark chocolate, hazelnut, extra virgin olive oil, salt” is a heaven on earth. Every single component on a plate sings its own tune, but creates perfect harmony in the end.
Estiatorio-Keia is one of the new restaurants I waited a long time for the opening around the same time I was waiting for ICHU Peru’s opening (as mentioned in my previous post). This restaurant is also located at H Queens, and as it turns out, both restaurants are operated by the same team. And they seem to know what they are doing when it comes to the design. As a formal interior designer I cannot help scanning and judging the restaurant’s decor as soon as I step in, and like its sister restaurant ICHU, this place scores very high in ambience and attention to detail.
They serve modern Greek food in a beautiful and bright setting that reminds you of greek islands. Their “spanaki” is like spanakopita (Greek pie with spinach and feta filling), but sort of deconstructed flatbread version. I absolutely adore spanakopita, but it is a heavy dish that really fills you up. I know some people might get upset about the modern take on beloved Greek pie. But I personally like how this dish is lighter yet still has essential flavors of spanakopita, so I have a room to sample more dishes ;-).
“Saganaki” is a dish that I order pretty much all the time at a Greek restaurant. If the restaurant messes up this dish, I would never go back there. It’s fried cheese on a hot skillet, something that’s really hard to go wrong to be honest. Keia’s version is served with pear and flambéed with Ouzo, aniseedy Greek liquor, at the table. (Fun fact, the flaming saganaki started at a restaurant in Chicago’s Greektown, according to Wikipedia). It is theatrical, fun and most importantly deliciously boozy and cheesy.
I absolutely love the weekend brunch at TokyoLima. They serve Nikkei cuisine at an Izakaya setting, which is unique and tastefully designed. They have a great variety of sharing dishes from salad and soba to Japanese style fried chicken as a first course. Their buffet has something for everyone. A wonderful spread of fresh fruits, sushi, ceviche and desserts. I know having raw stuff for brunch is strange to some people, here they can just go straight to dessert :-). Their “toasted meringue with dulce de leche” (picture below) is to die for. I probably had at least 3 both times I went there.
Then you have the main course to choose from. It sounds like a lot of food, and yes it is. They make sure you leave full and satisfied. And if you add a free flow option, you will leave full, satisfied and a little tipsy. The only downside I would say here is having to control yourself in front of sweet treats at the buffet :-).