Monday, 28 January 2008

Cantina Cecconis

43 Elgin St, SoHo
Visited 25th January

It was Australia Day weekend and my brother was passing through town, so we thought we'd checkout a few Hong Kong restaurants with Australian connections. Cantina Cecconi's was our first stop; a modern Italian restaurant that is the Hong Kong incarnation of a popular Melbourne eatery. Located on Elgin St, the place was bursting with a jovial Friday night crowd. The tables were packed close together, the d├ęcor is slick and modern and the place has an excited, vibrant feel.

Cecconi's is all about Italian food with a menu sprouting many of the classics as well as a few more interesting options. I had a serve of seared scallops to start; presented atop their shells the six pan-fried scallops weren’t huge, but were extremely tasty. My brother indulged in a ball of baked mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and served with radicchio salad; a delightful mix of textures and flavours with delicious saltiness countered by the sharpness of the salad leaves. For a main I went with slow cooked rabbit that was so meltingly tender it was falling off the bone. The generous portion of rabbit had a stew like consistency and was served atop a pile of wet polenta; a filling and satisfying dish. My brother and his partner both enjoyed their lamb shanks, but Naomi found her pork 'cotaletta' a little too tough. The drinks were flowing we had a couple of tasty bottles of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a delicious Italian white, and a decent bottle of Valpolicella.

The packed intensity of Cecconi's on Friday night was pretty full on and it seemed the type of place you'd have to be in the mood for; certainly not an option for a romantic meal, but for our purpose of a boozy catch-up it was great. The food was good, but not cheap; the entrees were $108 each and the mains ranged from $168 to $198. Our bill was $2,682 for the four of us, but we did drink three and a half bottles of wine and had entrees, mains and a couple of desserts. I was unfortunately disappointed with the service. The waitress who looked after us was obviously new and she did a terrible job, however the rest of the staff seemed efficient and helpful. Cecconi's impressed me as fun place for a quality feed.

Visit restaurant website.

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