Classic Italian dishes at Fenwick Pier
When I think of Italian food, I think of comfort dishes, quality produce and a whole lot of passion. It’s a fail safe, favourite cuisine for many people the world over, and we’re lucky to have our fair share of Italian dining options here in Hong Kong. That being said, this beloved fare is executed with varying levels of authenticity. There are many places that just don’t do Italian food justice, offering sad servings of stodgy pizza and bland pasta dishes that make you think more of a drunken night in Lan Kwai Fong than the winding streets of Rome. Thankfully, Gia Trattoria Italiana is certainly not one of those places!
Gia Trattoria Italiana prides itself on authentic, regional Italian food. It’s Italian in every way, down to the little details like the homemade bread. The ingredients are of the highest quality, imported from Italy itself. Head Chef and Founder, Gianni Caprioli, is seriously passionate about the food of his home country and has a deep, genuine respect for traditional Italian recipes, the history of food and where he sources his ingredients from. This comes across in his fresh and exquisitely prepared dishes, which are simple, comforting and made with care.
We had a long tasting menu ahead of us, which started with bold and vibrant plates of La Vera Mozzarella Aversana di Bufala ($398) – that’s Napolitan style artisanal buffalo mozzarella and organic tomatoes to non-Italian speakers! The Buffalo Mozzarella was truly enormous, and the cheese was oh-so soft and creamy. The cheese sat upon a bed of beautiful, bright tomatoes of varying colours, flavours and sizes. You can’t go wrong with this classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, but this was a great example of how the high quality of the ingredients can really take something simple to another level. It was basically the most extravagant and flavourful version of a Caprese that I’ve ever had!
After tucking into the addictive mozzarella and fresh, sweet tomatoes, we moved on to the Fiori di Zucca Ripieni di Acciughe ($158) – Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. I was excited to try these as it’s unusual to find them in Hong Kong, and these elegant pockets of creamy goodness didn’t disappoint. The contrast of textures with the crisp and the creamy ricotta inside was delightful, the hints of mint pesto and anchovies adding much-needed bursts of tangy flavour.
Usually I wouldn’t get too excited about pizza, but Gia’s were delicious. The Roman style pizzas (my favourite!) were perfectly crispy, and you can choose from a tomato or non-tomato base. The parma ham pizza with arugula was light and airy but still indulgent with the saltiness of the parma ham, and the black truffle paste with mixed green leaves pizza (part of the Summer Truffle menu) was absolutely divine. The strong smell of truffle is enough to make anyone salivate, and paired with the cheese and thin crispy pizza base, I was in heaven! Pizzas range from $178 – $268.
Following the pizza was two pasta dishes (I was waddling out the door by the end of this lunch!). The first was a classic Rigatoni Amatriciana ($158), with tomatoes and guanicale pork cheek sauce. Simple and straightforward, this dish was quite basic but had a authentic, homemade feel to it. Made with the knowledge of where it’s come from, Gia manages to keep the integrity of Italian classics by using the best ingredients and using traditional techniques.
Pasta number two was a Spaghetti with Summer Black Truffle pesto, bottarga and asparagus ($278). The thin slices of truffle were generously shaved over the fresh pasta, coating the dish completely. Every mouthful felt decadent and rich, the distinctive, earthy truffle flavour blending perfectly with the freshness of the asparagus and the soft egg pasta.
Yet more food was delivered to our table, including the Golden-Fried Salted Cod Fish on a Chickpea Puree. I was so surprised at how light the batter was, it was almost like a fritter rather than a classic deep-fried fish and chips! The cod was cooked to perfection, meaty and moist how it should be, the batter light and crisp.
It’s safe to say there’s plenty to try at Gia Trattoria Italiana. The menu is full of rustic, Italian classics that use only the very best quality produce and techniques that have been perfected over centuries. There’s a lot of love, care and attention that goes into the food, and you can taste this in the fresh, familiar flavours. If you love Italian food and want somewhere that’s truly authentic, then Gia Trattoria Italiana is definitely worth a try. It may be tricky to get to, but once you’re there tucking into homemade fresh pasta, pizza that you would find in Rome, or sumptuous main dish, you won’t regret it.
Check out the Summer Truffle menu now to get your fix of this indulgent ingredient (available until 30 July), and don’t forget to try their semi-buffet weekend brunch. It starts at only $308 per person and includes a buffet counter loaded with antipasti, hams, cheeses and salads, or an appetiser of your choice plus a main, dessert and coffee or tea. Add $138 for two hours of free-flow Prosecco…