Classic Contemporary Italian Dining in Central

Classic Contemporary Italian Dining in Central

A modern Italian dining experience meets an inspirational Joyce Wang-designed interior.

Inspired by the cinematic splendour of 1950s Italy, SPIGA, on the third floor of the LHT Tower in Central, is acclaimed Chef Enrico Bartolini’s first restaurant outside of Italy. With a number of highly successful restaurants at home, including the celebrated Restaurant Glam by Enrico Bartolini at the Palazzo Venart in Venice and with four Michelin stars to his name, unsurprisingly anticipation has been at fever pitch amongst the city’s gastronomes.

Hong Kong is not short of quality Italian restaurants, however Bartolini, the youngest two-starred chef in Italy, has an enviable and well-established reputation for creatively interpreting classic dishes and the new opening is without doubt an exciting and welcome addition to the city’s superb dining scene.

The menu at SPIGA is delivered by Head Chef Giuseppe Carlucci and is full of enticing and satisfying dishes shaped in the very best traditions of northeast Italian cuisine where delicious, simple pastas, pizzas and classic dishes like his pork chop Milanese take centre stage.

A perfect setting to showcase Bartolini’s considerable talent, SPIGA is light, comfortable and serviceable. The classy Joyce Wang-designed restaurant is sectioned into distinct settings, all with a slightly different mood.

Taking inspiration from Italy’s past cinematic glories, the design features collectables from the 1950s enhanced by a collection of dramatic lighting fixtures such as the pendulum lamp. The natural textures, soft leathers and earthy colours prevalent throughout add an air of understated luxury, but above all else, and no matter whether you chose to dine in one of the private booths, at the long table or take a cocktail outdoors in the Porticio, SPIGA is an extremely welcoming venue supported by an army of knowledgeable staff.

Open for lunch and dinner, the substantial à la carte choice is complemented by Chef Bartolini’s five-course tasting menu. This is the same tasting menu he offers in his restaurants in Italy and is billed as a journey through contemporary Italian cooking.

Highly recommended, it opens up with a serving of soft potato, capers and salmon roe with a zesty lemon sauce. From this first offering it is obvious that the bar at SPIGA is set very high in terms of taste, presentation and service; a fact fully confirmed as the plates continue to flow.

Lime-stuffed bottoni (button shaped pasta) with tenderly roasted octopus and a house-made fish sauce is next up, followed by one of the chef’s most famous dishes, his risotto with beetroot with a creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce. This is a dish that highlights Bartolini’s passion and skill at breathing effervescence into a characteristic northeast Italian speciality.

The next course is a classic; the hearty crunchy beef cheek served with crispy roast potatoes and a tangy Dijon mustard millefuille. The culinary expedition is completed by the chef’s silky soft crème brûlée, served with cherries, meringue and iced blueberries.

For those exploring the à la carte menu the staff will encourage you to choose a dish from the appetiser menu, which features a host of exciting and signature dishes such as the beautiful Sicilian red prawn cooked with a crispy fried underbelly served with drops of tamarind sauce, before following it up with a main like the succulent roasted chicken.

The signature pasta is a parmesan risotto served with seared cuttlefish and pesto sauce. The lightly seared cuttlefish and other components are arranged on the plate in an art-splatter and presented tableside before a dollop of hot risotto is carefully spooned over.

The Italians take pizza very seriously and the chef’s selection of house-made Napolitano red sauce or white sauce pizzas is hugely impressive. Enjoy as an appetiser or as a leisurely main course paired up with a bottle of wine chosen from SPIGA’s mighty wine list under the guidance of in-house Sommelier Maurizio Severgnini.

With such an impressive menu, the temptation is to max out on savouries, but we suggest leaving a little space for one of the chef’s desserts, with the aforementioned soft crème brûlée being the one to tickle our taste buds.