Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Linguini Fini - (Hong Kong)

  I believe Linguini Fini doesn’t need much more introduction as it had clearly hit the HK dining scene with such a big bang,  it almost woke everyone up with its bold and ethical concepts and even managed to carry the concept through into a very successful business.  We already caught glimpses of hope from their preliminary intentions which had first began with their sister restaurant Posto Pubblico or Posto Privato upstairs.    Nose-to-tail dining are highly treasured here and not only for marketing purposes,  which is further substantiated and complimented by using sustainable local organic produce sourced within Hong Kong itself.    Such is the way that they persisted on practising this preached approach,  they also either ended up managing or farming their pigs and local vegetables and since then have began selling these vegetables under the wholesale arm of Homegrown Foods.   All of these,   fall under the umbrella of the IHM Group,  which wholeheartedly deserves a round of applause for their grandest efforts   -  and Linguini Fini despite some lapses of concentration was definietely deserving of its 2012 Michelin Guide recommendation on the local context of comparison…!


Concepts are concepts,
but how about the food taste?    After 5 separate visits and apparently I was purely by accident the 1st outsider blogger to have read its menu before the opening,  but was sworn in to secrecy,  and a pre-opening tasting event was totally completed without any tweets or premature blogger reviews possible,  I already suspected that this was really onto great things here.   Their nose-to-tail eating philosophy has really been carried into reality,  kudos to the team for pulling it through in the end…     Their lunch set menu @ HKD $98 is also a bargain which includes an Entrée, Main course as well as a Drink and they don’t even charge any 10% service charge, which gives extra motivation for the staff to serve you well. Even the lower priced Pizza Huts and Spaghetti House can’t lay claim to that approach and here it is fully trusting in its good will and service. Another reason to visit here, although not everything was flawless but is getting there.


Home Made Bread -
Yes,  the whole house made concept trickles down all the way to even their bread, or home made pastas,  SAUSAGES, or house cured meats and beef tongues,
   and they have a central supplying bakery which also supplies to other restaurants.   I thought the bread has improved as of late actually,  it has more aroma and is more aerated,  also arrives warmer than before.   ~  8/10


Entrée -  Polpettine
Meat balls made with Parmigiano cheese and tomato sugo sauce are a popular item here,  during lunch they’re served on grilled bread with arugula leaves.   This was quite soft and pillowy,  and for a meatball this was surprisingly light!   The sister version at Posto Pubblico seems to be slightly different in taste,  both have their own targeted audience.   ~  7/10





Main Course -  Salt Cured Egg ‘Genovese’ -
1 of the signature dishes here is the home-made pasta with Chinese salt-cured eggs and a Genovese pesto sauce with tomato.   I’ve heard some reviewers said that the pasta can sometimes be undercooked and I do agree on this part as I’ve tried at least 60 dishes here now.  Today’s pasta was cooked perfectly spot-on,  and today’s upgraded version came with shaved salted duck eggs.    This was a lovely dish and in concept,  although as much as I appreciated the loose herbs being chopped up rather than made into a thick Pesto Paste,  I thought the dish was slightly too Olive Oil oily or perhaps that is partly from pasta water too?    I also think this was slightly under-salted but that could be easily fixed with a pinch of salt by myself.   ~   6.9/10

Caffe Latte (La Colombe Torrefaction from Philadephia) -
As a former barista myself,  all I have to say is that past visits to Linguini Fini has landed me quite satisfactory coffees but those were made by the old Lavazza blends.  Their new change to a new Direct to Trade coffee supplier on this particular day has landed me a coffee which was bordering on bitter but strong enough to cut through the milk.   *Hard to explain,  but without knowing which bar tender made this today or the method,  it is difficult to pinpoint which variable it can be improved upon.   Nevertheless,  getting there but needs retuning!   ~  6/10



**********************Other Dishes that I really like **********************

House Cured Artisan Salumi Platter -  $118
With wild boar and pork salami milano,   mortadella ham and bresaola beef (front left).  Comes with pickled vegetables.   All of these are made in Hong Kong in house,  just as if it was being in Italy.  Seriously,  the effort itself is worth our support but the quality in the end is up there with Italian standards.   ~   8.5/10

Salami, Goat Cheese, Cherry Pepper Flatbread -  $88
I have already tried all 4 versions of their flatbread but this was easily the best.  Not much salami was apparent but there was an abundance of goats cheese and peppers,  with a tenacious flatbread base but just baked on the edges.  A lovely starter and definitely one of the best within the Hong Kong even counting in other dedicated pizzerie ~   9/10


Stracetti di Manzo -  $98
This warmed beef salad comes with artichokes,  gorgonzola dolce as well as anchovy dressing,  a perennial winner.  Having tried this over 3 visits I think sometimes the beef can be under-cooked and therefore a little chewy as the tendons/sinews/fat has not melted enough.   But overall this is one of the most memorable dishes in Linguini Fini bar the occasional executional slip  ~  9/10



I ♥ Milanese -  $68
A fried pig’s heart is what I’d really looked forward to the most.  Unfortunately the batter was a bit too crunchy hard and the heart a little over-fried.  Purely an executional problem,  but the concept was going to be fun.   ~   6/10 


Homemade Spicy Sausage -  $78
With roasted garlic mostarda!   Some have commented that the mustard lacked roasted garlic,  or the sausage was a bit too lean (I like them leaner though, as I’m prone to becoming fat too easily,  even though I love fatty tastes.  Sigh..)    I think the recipe of this was promising and it is a struggle to balance between it all.   Sausage aside,  I did think the sauce needed to taste more of its advertised flavour!    ~     7.5/10

Chitarra with Chicken Liver, Pancetta, Sage and Brown Butter - 
This dish took L.F. a few tries to get it right but at the end it was exemplary and one of the best dishes in the restaurant.  The livery paste is accentuated with the bacon and the herbs and browned butter,  and if you could disregard the cholesterol level this is a VERY ADDICTIVE pasta.  LOVELY! ~   10/10




Cured Beef ‘Lingua’ Tongue -  $68
Some have claimed this to be too soft after ‘curing’.   To be frank I have no idea what to expect from ‘cured tongues’ at all,  as I’ve had smoked tongues, grilled tongues or other versions of cured tongues but this seemed to be a thinner version with an acidic twist in the sauce, which is a bit soft, but appetising.  For Asian palates however I think tongues are meant to be slightly crunchy rather than flappy right?   But from a Western cuisine’s point of view texture isn’t as much appreciated?    I don’t want to pre-judge using my own standards,  but from a proprietor’s point of view I think making anything to do with tongues in Asia should ensure that it has some sort of crunchiness?    I loved the concept of this dish however    ~  6.5/10




Fazzoletti ‘Nose to Tail’ Bolo -  $78/118
Pork Testa head meat,  veal & oxtail ragu, with Parmigiano Reggiano and Tomato based sauce.  This dish is using over what are normally discarded meats from a carcasse and true to its intents,  are fully utilised in the dishes.  A lot of criticism had been received about this thick pasta and its ragu,  some say it is over-hyped and some think it doesn’t carry enough of the gravy like taste.  But at the end of the day this is still decent and using up meat muscles otherwise neglected.   Considering the lowish price-point,  this to me could have been better in richness and taste but is already more than satisfactory for the price range ~   7.5/10


Sweetbread Ravioli – $78/$118
Pork jowl and sweetbread,  with porchetta sugo di arrosto and ricotta cheese and onion puree,  I think most people expected a lot from this ‘sweetbread’ based dish,  but ultimately it is a little too simple in the final taste and often had too thick a ravioli skin at the edges.   I still think sweetbreads are better as fried or grilled to bring out its best,  but from an environmental point of view,  this pasta was decent rather than outstanding.  ~   6.5/10



On Top of Spaghetti – $98/118
Homemade meatballs covered with cheese.  This is lovely and a little less doughy-soft than the one at Posto Pubblico or Posto Privato.  I liked this version served with the al dente home-made pasta.   ~   8/10


Lamb Gnocchi – $68/118
With lamb and sweet onion ragu.  The gnocchi were potato-y and decently cooked,  but in this particular dish seemed a little too small in portion.  The lamb was cooked well enough though not as rich as I’d thought.    It is still good in this way as sometimes one wants a lighter dish ~  7/10



Dried Shrimps Diavola -  $58/88
A Chinese dried shrimps based powder was used to cook the homemade pasta with a slightly chili tomato sauce.  This was quite fragrant as expected and an interesting recipe involving both Hong Kong and Italian ingredients -  which come to think about it is not to strangely out of place,  considering many Chinese and Italian recipes share similarities.   I liked this dish,  but thought it could do even more with dried shrimps taste but at this lowish price,  it was more than enough decent  ~  7/10



Rotisserie Porchetta – $158
Belly wrapped with fennel sausage and served with chili mustard.   This comes in either whole round pieces,  or chopped up like tonight’s version.   People seem to prefer ‘either’ of these,  but I personally prefer the non-chopped up version.   The skin was crispy on 1 visit but a bit harder and chewy on another.  The pork meat meanwhile is decently done but seemed a little fatty.   ~   6.9/10




Cast Iron Charred Hanger Steak – $168
This was really good and served with a similar sauce to the beef salad above.  The steak was gamey and charry,  and at this price a bargain.   On 1 occasion this was slightly too undercooked and therefore a bit too chewy and red,  but that could be fixed easily.  ~  8/10


Olive Oil And Lemon Sponge and Poppy Seed Ice Cream -
This is everyone’s favourite.  Despite looking simple,  this was fully of egginess and olive flavours,  with a poppyseed essence filled scoop of gelato.   A must order ~   9/10



Tiramisu -
With mascarpone and home baked base,  and coffee gelato and just a touch of kahlua in the final version.  This is an ever improving recipe and to some -  this deconstructed version is a little ‘different’  but I do appreciate it for what it is.   ~  7 to 8/10



Caffe Latte -
This caffe latte was better than the one above I got at lunch,  which is made from another blend.  Once again,  hard to tell what went wrong in between.   But it was obvious that the foam in this cup was much better than the one above,  so it could well just be a barista issue?   8/10



House Cured Meat items -
Done pretty decent. 
The whole concept behind the restaurant is rather ambitious.
Some dishes clearly worked better than others but as far as I know,  it is still finding its feet and evolving as we speak.   And considering it’s lowish price point vs their goals,  this really is definitely a culinary feat.    It could easily charge double the price for what it is trying to achieve.






Price: $108 (Lunch)  to $200-250 per person (night)
Food:  ♕♕♕ 1/2 to  ♕♕♕♕♕♕   (Here it really runs the gamut depending on what is ordered,  but is highly recommended.  Concept is totally unbeatable,  but perhaps due to the lowish entrance price-point,   some dishes weren’t executed to its 100% potential.   I don’t mind paying a little more to achieve that level, really…  I definitely totally buy its concept over the execution and results,   but at half the price of more fancier Italian restos in town  this is already a success story which also carries with it,  an ethical approach.)


Opening Hours -
Mon to Thurs  12:00 - 14:30;18:00 - 22:30
Fri     12:00 - 14:30;18:00 - 23:00
Sat    12:00 - 16:00;18:00 - 23:00
Sun   12:00 - 16:00;18:00 - 22:30

Address: 中環皇后大道中139號
1/F, The L Place, 139 Queen's Road Central, Central
Ph: 2857 1333



  1. I am sad I missed this place when I was in HK as it looks great. I did have great Italian at Posto Pubblico though.

  2. Dear Gourmet Chick,

    This is a restaurant which is a must-visit for me in HK! : ) I love their food recipes and concepts, but as a new restaurant they're still refining their recipes for now. Think they'll be getting better and better soon !




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