Pastas are the stars at new Italian eatery
A well-positioned pasta bar in Hong Kong, Pici, recently unveiled its first outpost on the Chinese mainland, tucked inside The Green House, a new food hub in the basement of Jing'an Kerry Center.
Simple and to the point, Pici is a charming pasta bar brand under the Pirata Group that has opened six outlets within four years in Hong Kong. It is that kind of place we all wish we had in our neighborhood, featuring a relaxed urban vibe and delivering genuine plates of fresh hand-made pasta full of flavor and character. Most importantly, it is very affordable without compromising on quality.
The brand's first opening in the center of Shanghai, though not happening in one of the charming streets shaded by plane trees, is still great news for pasta lovers looking for carb indulgence.
The restaurant maintains its cozy, easy-going atmosphere, similar to its other venues with large booths and wooden furnishings. Hong Kong-based chef Andrea Viglione helped set up the kitchen and ensure the right quality.
Pici's philosophy is straight forward – pastas are the stars. The eatery's fresh, hand-rolled pastas lovingly prepared from scratch stay true to authentic Italian flavors and textures, and there's no compromising or adjusting to local tastes.
There are currently eight pasta options on the dinner menu. The signature Pici dish "Cacio e Pepe" is definitely worth a try, arguably the most Roman of all the pasta recipes. Its very simplicity is what makes it attractive. This pasta dish met my expectation and brought my memory back to a true trattoria in the eternal city of Rome. Pici knows how to make it right, with a nice balance of pecorino cheese and pepper. The hand-made pici (thick strands of pasta cut into strips and then hand rolled) has that perfect al dente bite.
Another favorite is the Orecchiette Nduja, full of rich Southern Italian flavor. Nduja, a chili-spiked, cured pork sausage paste from Calabria, lends bold flavor and heat to the ear-shaped pasta, while the stewed cherry tomatoes and chunks of Italian sausage add another layer of texture and taste. It was my favorite dish among them all.
As a bonus, Pici caters to gluten-intolerant guests.
Pici plans to open more mall-based locations on the Chinese mainland.
Opening hours: 11am-9pm
Address: Shop SB-11, B2, Jing'an Kerry Center
Average price: 150 yuan (US$23.14)