When the donut shop decided to close on the exclusive location of Elgin Street, I was relieved to think that HK-ers have given up on the American excess on sugar, at least on the pastry front. The idea of fried dough dipped in a sugar glaze as thick as glue and sweet enough to cause the teeth to fall off their cavities just thinking about it may not be our cup of tea afterall (and this comes from someone who's a sweets-junkie on most days -- Me. ) What comes after the renovation was open to speculation. When the blue-beige two-tone decor of Ricks was unveiled about 2 weeks ago. It reminded me somewhat of the indie success of 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' some years ago. It screamed Mediterranean from inside out, except the name, perhaps?
Later I found out that just upstairs you'll find Rico's, the Spanish joint. Turned out, the obsession of Rico/Rick or any variations of the same name in different language rooted from the same company that owns Rico's
, and Pizzeria Italia
on Mosque Street. This is important information, read on you'll know why. We arrived on Good Friday to find out the set-lunch sign on the sidewalk. We read it through, but were unimpressed with either poached salmon or grilled chicken breast. When we settled in one of the seats in the corner, we were only given the set-lunch menu. I looked up to find my the waitress vanished in sight. When she returned we requested the a la carte menu, only to receive a not so friendly "you guys are such trouble" look. She shuffled the menus and handed to us. Looking into the choices, the pizzas and pasta caught our attention. We ordered one each. For Pasta we had the Linguine Catanese ($75).
and for pizza, the Margherita Quattro Fomaggi ($95).
While waiting, we looked over to the tables with the set lunches, an old lady was munching on the grilled chicken breast with extra strength added. Those who ordered poached salmon got what they deserved -- pale orange tenders of salmon with an odd colour drowned in sauce, accompanied by the same veggie plating of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. The Pasta arrived first, The Linguine Catanese
, turned out, has chunks of grilled eggplants in it. Linguine was cooked a little bit longer than al dente, then tossed in a rich tomato sauce flavored with bits of mozzarella and fresh basil. The sauce itself was tangy enough, but nowhere near the "sugo" I expected from a description that boasted of homemade sauces. The eggplant chunks remained the star here, with a strong punch of oregano in the seasoning and certainly stood out among a rather mild pasta dish.
While swiverling our forks against lanky strands of linguine, we noticed a special delivery by someone on a motorbike. A Man walked in with a plastic box, inside containing a pizza box labelled from that same pizzeria owned by the guys who own Rick's. The manager gingerly carried the box towards us, but made a detour when he saw us tracking the box with our eyes, into the kitchen. 10 minutes later our pizza arrived, steaming hot on a pizza plate. The Quattro Fomaggi
, literally named "Four Cheeses", has Mozzarella, Teleggio, Fontina and Gorgonzola in it. The tomato base was thin but well flavoured letting the cheeses shine. Unfortunately the base was so crispy that it gradually flaked off by bits, much like water crackers. I've had thin crust pizza, but I've never had a pizza with a crust so toasty that the crust got thinner by the minute. The cheeses were gooey and tasted nice together, although I'd prefer a milder cheese to be used in one of the four, as the outcome was too salty. The fillng was alright overall, but I wouldn't count on the crust.
Out of curiosity, we asked of the pizza's origin. The manager claimed that the pizzas, every scrape of it, got made in the shop at the back kitchen, it's only because the day of visit turned out to be a holiday that the pizza got made at the pizzeria on Mosque Street, and delivered to the shop on request. It was a nice touch, but the story wasn't exactly believable, not in the way I was explained to. The service was not exactly prompt and the staff certainly didn't seem all that enthusiastic serving us, but they have managed to swallow any concerns or questions they have over us snapping pictures at the pasta, the pizza and the bar. I hope the quality of service and food will improve, as I hate to see a place with potentially good food go closing down like many that do so now...
Pizza Margherita Quattro Fomaggi
Quattro Fomaggi Pizza (if crust was not as toasty)
Spending per head: Approximately HKD85(Lunch)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 2