Become a pastafarian with the city’s best carbs
Beach season’s over, so what are you waiting for? Grab a fork and dig into the ultimate comfort food as we count down eight of the best pasta dishes in Hong Kong. By Leslie Yeh
3 Vodka Rigatoni Carbone
No list of best pasta dishes in Hong Kong would be complete without Carbone’s spicy vodka rigatoni, a dish that captures the bold flavors, generosity and simple artistry of Italian cooking in one bright orange tumble of glistening pasta tubes. The key here is the Calabrian chilies, which add a complexity of flavor and subtle spiciness to balance out the luscious vodka cream sauce. $208. 9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St., Central, 2593-2593.
1 Squid Ink Linguine with Sea Urchin Fish & Meat
Wrapped around in a bundle vaguely resembling a bird’s nest, the squid ink linguine at Fish & Meat unfolds into delicious, black strands of smooth al dente noodles, with red carabineros prawns, sea urchin and salmon roe lending a salty, oceanic pop to every forkful. It’s simple yet stunning, and proves what can be done when just a few key ingredients are left to shine. $385. 2/F, 32 Wyndham St., Central, 2565-6788.
5 Radiatore alla Vodka Linguini Fini
A jazzed up version of penne alla vodka, which traditionally contains vodka, heavy cream and tomatoes, Linguini Fini’s take on the dish substitutes radiatore, “radiator”-shaped pasta with ruffled edges and grooves that are perfect for catching the thick, tomato-based sauce. The addition of spicy ‘nduja, or spreadable salami, and a layer of melted mozzarella puts this pasta over the top. $149. 49 Elgin St., Central, 2387-6338.
2 Mac ‘n’ Cheese Stone Nullah Tavern
Stone Nullah Tavern’s infamous mac ‘n’ cheese is a nearperfect bowl of carbs and not much else—save a sprinkling of chives. The aged white cheddar cheese sauce takes on another layer of creaminess once the organic egg yolk is broken over the macaroni, resulting in the ultimate mash-up of cheesy carbs. Add on black truffle, pickled jalapeno or homemade bacon for an extra charge ($10-30). $128. 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, 3182-0128.
4 Maccheroni with Blue Lobster Ragout 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
More refined but just as comforting as the other contenders on the list, chef Umberto Bombana’s homemade maccheroni with blue lobster ragout features creamy lobes of sea urchin complementing sweet chunks of lobster, and a quenelle of raw diced crustacean adding another dimension to the dish. The rustic pasta tubes are, as expected from a threeMichelin-starred chef, faultless—cooked all the way through yet still toothsome to the bite. $420. Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Rd., Central, 2537-8859.
6 Capellini with Golden Garlic Mercato
A newcomer to the Italian scene with a somewhat lighter take on the cuisine, Mercato’s pastas are all made in-house, with fresh ingredients driven by seasonality. While the rigatoni and meatballs is a classic crowd-pleaser, we’re more enamored with the capellini, a thin variety of pasta that stands up well against flavors like garlic and lemon. Mercato’s version has all the comfort without the heavy cream, with fresh ricotta creating a smooth coating, and golden garlic and jalapeno adding an extra kick. $108 small portion, $128 large. 8/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar St., Central, 3706-8567.
Butternut squash lends its natural sweetness to a simple filling in chef Mick Bolam’s paper-thin ravioli, with grated chestnut, nutmeg and pecorino rounding out the flavors of fall. For large groups, also go for the wagyu Bolognese pappardelle and lobster fettucini, or the porcini and wild mushroom risotto which is finished off in the kitchen’s latest toy— a giant Parmesan wheel used to infuse creamy cheese into every bite. $178. 208 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2549-0208. Homey Italian restaurant Pirata’s “liquid” ravioloni sounds much too tempting not to try, and indeed the dish is just as delicious as you’d expect. The “liquid” portion comes from the melted parmesan sauce that gushes out of the heartysized ravioloni; together with the meaty ragu and fried sage, the combination is up there with the best. $180. 29-30/F, 239 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2887-0270.