Hong Kong restaurant reviews: Casa Cucina – a short menu of filling, homely Italian classics

Hong Kong restaurant reviews: Casa Cucina – a short menu of filling, homely Italian classics

Casa Cucina is everything you could ask for in a neighbourhood restaurant – a warm, welcoming and friendly vibe, delicious food at reasonable prices, and a comfortable environment.

Too bad for me that I moved out of the neighbourhood just a few months ago.

It was worth the trip there, though, even on a rainy evening. We were seated on the ground floor of the three-storey space, an area that felt light and airy with its double-height ceiling. We took the interior staircase to look at the other dining areas: the second floor has a good view of the open kitchen, while the third floor – where the bathrooms are – felt oppressive because of the low ceilings.

Be warned, though: it’s not a great spot for a first date, the tables are close together so your conversation is sure to be overheard.

Hong Kong restaurant reviews: Casa Cucina – a short menu of filling, homely Italian classics

Burrata at Casa Cucina in Sai Ying Pun. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Hong Kong restaurant reviews: Casa Cucina – a short menu of filling, homely Italian classics

Oxtail ravioli at Casa Cucina. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The menu is short – just one page listing nine starters, four pastas, five mains and two desserts. There were many dishes we wanted to try.

Burrata (HK$105), served with a pile of rucola, was soft and mild, and our only complaint was that we wished for several more of the delicious semi-dried datterino tomatoes.

Fritto misto (HK$180) came with a lightly spiced coating over the seafood: two each of moist scallops and large shrimp, a few squid rings (which were a bit tough), plus – my favourite – lots of fried whitebait. The tomato aioli served with it was a nice touch, although the seafood was flavourful enough that it just needed a squeeze of lemon.

The six plump, well-stuffed oxtail ravioli (HK$188) were fantastic: the pasta was thin, the filling was moist and tender, and the sauce – with brown butter and beef jus – was so good I ate some on its own.

We also loved the duck ragu pappardelle (HK$178). As with the ravioli, the sauce was excellent. It was rich and deeply flavoured with the addition of chicken livers and vin jaune (yellow wine), and coated the thick ribbons of pasta and large chunks of duck meat.

We were too full for dessert, but on our next visit hope to try the intriguing-sounding tofu panna cotta with vanilla bean, red sugar and soy sauce.

Casa Cucina, Kwan Yick Building Phase 3, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2887 9666. About HK$325 per person, without drinks or the service charge.

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