How should I begin? On Sunday afternoon, I returned with friends to Al Molo after opening night for a full serving of veal ravioli. Alas, it is only served during dinner :( This pouty face occured several more times during our meal.
Well, fret not, for I am at the restaurant of the king of pasta and there is an abundance of pasta dishes to choose from. Actually only 5-6 pasta dishes, and my friend complained about the limited menu. I disagree; I believe shorter menus allow quality over quantity. A long menu tries too hard to please too many people and sacrifices quality. The wine and drink lists, on the other hand… I don’t know about their quality but there were sure a lot to choose from!
Firstly, we ordered an appetizer to share – yellowtail sashimi. I believe it is served with chopped sundried tomato and a sliver of spring onion which did not overpower the sashimi’s flavour. (On a side note, my pet peeve is people having sashimi or sushi with a ton of wasabi. Jeez, why don’t you just squeeze the entire tube in your mouth and gargle some soy sauce.)
I ordered a seafood tomato pasta all for myself. [Edit: It is the Casarecci: manila clams, white wine, calamari, hot chilies] The pasta was fresh and springy. The diced tomato and onion were crisp, not overcooked until tender, perfect for summer. Unfortunately I bit into a chunk of tomato which released a lot of salty and chili flavour – I wonder what happened there. The amount of clams and squid were almost in ratio to the pasta. I found them a bit less cooked than I preferred (one of the squid tentacles – thought very tender – seemed slimy). The portion was moderate in size but amply filling.
My friends picked the desserts. I loved the base of the Chocolate Tarte – I think the crust is coated with caramel to prevent from going soggy. The caramel tasted nutty, or perhaps it came from the chocolate filling that had a crispy base. The crispy base reminded me of rolled puffed rice. The chocolate filling was rather sweet so the vanilla ice cream created a good balance.
Our second dessert is Strawberry and rhubarb compote panna cotta. The panna cotta is very creamy, unlike the common gelatin pudding you find in Hong Kong. A scoop of tarty hot pink strawberry gelato rested next to the compote of crunchy rhubarb with strawberries. I love the inclusion of rhubarb because it gave texture to this liquidy dessert fit for my toothless granny. It was also light and not overpowered by sweetness. The portion was also generous – more than enough for one and just right for two to share. A very appropriate summertime dessert, perhaps on a date? ;)
Food aside, we encountered issues regarding service. The servers were not professional. We did not have napkins even when the bread plate was served, and we had to request it. The dessert came before the main dish, and when they were clearing the plates they dripped the melted ice cream onto our table and the chair next to us. My friend, who is in the hotel industry, was appalled and widened her eyes and grimaced in embarrassment for the server. The maitre d came to the rescue: she was warm and relaxed (in the good way), and she offered to take the dessert back and serve it after our pasta.
I can offer in their defense that it was a slow day – Red rainstorm warning was in effect, it was late afternoon on a Sunday, thus Harbour City and Al Molo were quiet. You be the judge.
We were not overwhelmed by our experience, definitely not on my recommendation list unless desperate for patio on Kowloon side. Nonetheless, I need to go back for my veal ravioli!!! There’s still a second chance for Al Molo!