Saturday, 8 September 2007

Walking out of Peccato

Peccato, 37 Elgin St, Soho, Central
Attempted to visit 7th September 2007

Wondering up to SoHo from the D. Milhade wine tasting Naomi and I decided a serve of Italian was in order. I'd heard good things about Peccato and was keen to try this intimate Italian restaurant on Elgin St. We were seated at a small table on the street and the ambiance was fantastic. Though not extensive the menu looked good and I decided upon fried mixed seafood followed by green pea risotto topped with pan-fried scallops, while Naomi had eyed up lamb filled cannelloni. Wine proved a bit more hazardous as everything I knew on the list seemed excessively over-priced (Peter Lehmann Shiraz for $580 and Browns Brothers Everton Red for $380, which retail for about $180 and $107). I decided upon a glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Naomi just wanted a glass of water to freshen up after the wine tasting; this was when the trouble started ...

Oh, but sorry, we were informed by our waitress, they didn't serve tap water because apparently "some costumers have complained". This was one of the worst excuses know to humanity and when questioned she failed to give a satisfactory explanation and responded by telling us not to worry as we could have a bottle of complementary mineral water; for me this missed the whole point.
Drinking water is undeniably good for you and is a necessary accompaniment to any meal and, despite what the majority of the expat community thinks, tap water is perfectly safe to drink in Hong Kong (see here). I avoid drinking bottled water not because of the financial cost, but because of the environmental cost. Limited fossil fuels are used and carbon emissions created in producing, bottling and transporting bottled water, not to say the huge amounts of waste created by all those empty bottles (which even if recycled still create more emissions in the process). As much as I was looking forward to my meal we walked out the door in protest and I doubt I will ever get to try Peccato; hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars in business lost just because they wouldn't let us have a glass of water.

We finished up along the road at our old favourite Olive where I enjoyed a fantastic seasoned rack of tender lamb and Naomi had her favourite chicken shish kebabs. The wine was better priced, the service was natural and friendly and whithout us having to ask glasses of iced tap water were placed on our table and constantly refilled throughout our meal!


Anonymous said...


We experienced the same thing a few years ago but stayed & accepted the water. We enjoyed the food & personal service so much that we have become regulars. When the new manager came on board we found the food & service just as good & are going there tonight for dinner - if they are not fully booked.


Andrew said...

Hey Ricky

Thanks for the comment.

I’ve walked past Peccato a few times recently and have been interested to see that they’re still thriving in an area where restaurants change pretty quickly. I’ve been thinking about another visit and you’ve inspired me to give it a go.

Not getting tap water is something that really annoys me, though it is probably wrong to blame a specific restaurant when it’s part of a wider social trend in Hong Kong. To be fair to Peccato they did offer to give us a bottle of mineral water, but like I said it’s the environmental cost, not the monetary one that concerns me most.


Anonymous said...


Stick to your guns. No tap water is nonsense and each restaurant is responsible for their own decision. Tons of restaurants in Hong Kong offer tap water, so the wider social trend is no excuse. If a restaurant thinks not giving a glass of water to customers who request it is worth losing their business, to me this isn't a restaurant I would want to support.