Address: 29/30F, 239 Hennessy road, Wanchai.
Another newbie to join the family of restaurants in Wan Chai is Pirata, proud to be serving us some Italian home cooking. Sat at the top of an otherwise pedestrian looking building, its quaint space is separated into a bar and dining area, featuring modern and industrial vibes.
Happy to be sampling some Italian after an abundance of Japanese and French meals, I was quite excited for my up coming dinner at this establishment.
We started our night off with 2 starters;
Bresaola; air dried beef served with cherry tomato, grana pandano & lemon oil
- Mediocre dish topped with generous leaves of cheese. The Bresaola tasted flat, with no complexity and minimal beef flavor.
- The lemon oil didn’t come through either. A disappointing start.
- The rich, earthy flavor expected from dried beef just wasn’t there.
Octopus Salad; with lemon oil, parsley, cherry tomatoes, olives and potato
- Again, generous portions and beautifully presented.
- The octopus had a good texture (not chewy) but was overly salty. The saltiness overpowered the dish, which was a shame since all the ingredients were well cooked and fresh.
- Potato, tomatoes and olives are also an unusual and welcomed toppings in an octopus salad.
- The lemon oil was also a touch too strong, which made the dish taste mostly of salt and lemon.
Tagliatelle with Black Truffle; white truffle paste, shaved winter black truffle, shallots and butter
- Good ‘aldente’ pasta with a creamy sauce, and most importantly, lots of black truffle!
- This was one of the better dishes of the night; not too creamy or salty, although still very rich. The cream did lack a bit of truffle taste, though was saved by the generous shavings of black truffle.
Baked Fisherman Basket; Monkfish, scampi, red prawns, mussles, cherry tomato, garlic & chilli
- Looks great and came in a paper basket, but was a great disappointment.
- The fish and prawns were completely raw, to a point where they were still translucent.
- The seasoning was good, but did not help that most of the seafood was still RAW!
- We sent it back and the manager offered to replace it with a pasta.
Pappardelle with Duck Ragu (replacement for fish); duck breast, onions, carrots, celery & Marsala wine
- This dish requires a 10minute wait, so I suggest ordering at the start of your meal.
- The duck was very dry, although there was a lot of sauce. I would’ve preferred duck leg to breast for a Ragu, as stewing can easily dry out the meat.
- The pasta was again very good, hand made and fresh. The sauce was also very good, complex and full of duck flavor. Shame that the duck breast was a let down.
Valrhona Chocolate 72% Fondant; with pistachio ice cream
- 15 minute wait. I suggest ordering it during your main.
- Very good chocolate lava cake, with a crispy shell and liquid, gooey center. Not too sweet and very moist.
- Paired with a pistachio ice cream that gave a slight nuttiness. Definitely worth the wait!
Panna Cotta (on the house); with homemade raspberry coulis & fresh raspberries
- Good, slightly tart coulis that helped offset the sweetness from the Panna Cotta.
- Otherwise, a simple and not too stand out dish. Vanilla taste was not too strong and panna cotta wasn’t extremely creamy nor rich.
Opened late last year, Pirata has always been on my list of restaurants to try. The dining area is quite small, and often full, so I highly suggest booking ahead either by phone or on their website. Service was great, where the manager immediately offered replacements for the ‘raw fish’ incident from my Fisherman’s basket dish.
The food, however, was a bit hit and miss. Yes, ingredients were very fresh and the menu does offer some great home-cooked dishes. Execution though, needs some work. Many plates I tried had good elements (e.g. pasta), but the sauce or meat element had faults.
Overall, Pirata has OK food and definitely needs to work on refining their cooking and making all elements of the dish well-cooked and balanced. Prices are in-line with most restaurants in Wan Chai and Central, though portions of the truffle pasta seemed small.
Pirata can be a good place for casual gatherings and those who’d like to sample good pasta under a budget.