Review: Refreshed ALC menu for summer at Pirata
Pirata will always hold a special place in my heart as it was where I celebrated one year of being in Hong Kong. My friend and I sat by the kitchen and enjoyed dish after dish of fresh, hearty, comforting foods and we were given shots to toast the occasion. That’s what Pirata represents for me — great food with family-like service. I’ve been back various times, including for their great value brunch, but what brought me back this last time? To check out their refreshed ALC menu for summer! I was curious to see how Head Chef Emanuele Canuto and team would freshen up their comfort food menu.
Decor-wise, Pirata looks exactly the same as it did during my first visit. For those that will visit for the first time, the 30th floor (where we sat) looks like an apothecary with the vermouth bar taking centre stage and having wood, iron and brown leather accents. A comfortable and stylish if perhaps unusual setting for Italian food.
We arrived for Sunday dinner famished and ready to dig into the new dishes.
For the small plates, we tried the Beef Tartare ($140), Sicilian Croquettes ($90), and Truffle Caesar Salad ($130).
Beef Tartare is always good at Pirata. The texture of the beef felt more roughly chopped than I remember, adding to the homey quality. The pickles were especially punchy (delicious!) though the ‘nduja oil was surprisingly muted.
The Carnaroli rice-stuffed Sicilian Croquettes were wonderful. Like pizza but with crispiness and rice. Quite rich, especially on a summer menu perhaps, but worth the indulgence.
The Truffle Caesar Salad is an OK option if you’re looking for some greens but not a must order. On our visit, the lettuce was a bit soggy and the taste quite mild.
We were warned that the Grand Wagyu Beef Cheek Papardelle ($320) would be plenty as a main for two. I was skeptical — how large could a pasta dish be? I can confirm that this dish is indeed massive and would be plenty for two hungry people. The beef was beautiful and fork tender. Perhaps the sauce could have used a little something to brighten it up and signal summer, but it’s a nice dish nonetheless.
Whenever I eat at Pirata, I usually get the Semifreddo for dessert. It comes in a cute pan, frozen and drizzled with chocolate. This time, the semifreddo was allo zabione, came in a dish and was soft like a pudding. Zabione, if you’re having it for the first time like me, is an Italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and a sweet wine. The soft, chunky texture took a little getting used to but it ended up being quite addictive.
Pirata’s known for homestyle Italian so perhaps it’s not surprising that their refreshed ALC menu for summer is on the heavier side. If you’re looking for a cheat day meal (though I don’t really like that concept — shall we say a celebratory meal instead?), check out Pirata and don’t forget to order the Sicilian Croquettes. I hope these stay on the menu long after summer is over!
30F, 29, 239 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, 2887 0270