At the far end of Elgin Street, tucked away around the back of the buildings, you’ll find this sweet little restaurant. A newcomer to Soho, Mostaccioli Brothers (AKA Mo Bros) arrived on the scene a mere three months ago, yet if it’s as busy as it was a couple of Fridays ago every day, then it appears to have hit the ground running.

I have seen it mentioned online and wanted to give it a shot, but have actually never noticed it whenever I’ve walked past. You have to look up for a green sign saying ‘Mo Bros’ hanging above a little alley way. At first glance, this alley way looks somewhat dodgy and you’d never guess that it would lead to this quaint little spot. In fact we almost decided to give it a miss and stick to one of our regular haunts. Down the alley and round the corner, you come first to Mo Bros Bar, consisting of mostly alfresco seating with a nice little bar inside. Down a few steps and you reach the actual restaurant. We managed to get the last table available, outside on the terrace, which was ideal as it was such a beautiful day. It’s also a bit of a novelty to find somewhere in Soho (not including rooftops) where you can actually sit outside. The terrace is made to look like a pretty little Italian walled garden, albeit with very fake looking ivy and windows with scenic landscapes painted in. However, regardless of the fake accessories, it still feels like you could be somewhere other than Hong Kong. At least until you look up and see the buildings towering overhead. I love people watching, but it was a nice change to have no people to watch, and no traffic disrupting our conversation.

The interior of the restaurant is very small and cosy, with attention drawn to a large painting of an Italian countryside. To give you an idea of the size of the restaurant, there was a large birthday party of about 12 diners who took up the length of the room. There is amazingly cheesy American-Italian music blaring out, even through speakers in the loo (but unfortunately not in the terrace) which for some reason immediately brought to mind the scene in Beauty and the Beast where Gaston and his friends are drinking beer in a tavern! Everyone loves a good Disney film, so, although the particular song that was playing whilst I was in the little girls room had absolutely nothing to do with a Disney film, it still put a smile on my face and made me want to sing along (regardless of not knowing the lyrics).

Image courtesy of the wonderful Karen Fong

The attentive staff immediately served us a delicious loaf of warm ciabatta with a tomato and garlic dip whilst we decided on our food. There was the option of an “all you can eat” set lunch which includes a free-flowing supply of bread, soup, salad, a signature pasta dish and a drink for $128, which seemed a reasonable price but far more food than we could stomach. Instead we decided to share the buffalo mozzarella and order a plate of pasta each. The mozzarella was beautifully fresh, imported from Italy like most of their ingredients, drizzled in olive oil and pesto and served with only three cherry tomatoes (very stingy!) and, rather bizarrely, Carr’s water biscuits. Two of us ordered the signature ‘baked Mostaccioli’ and our third diner tried the cream-free spaghetti carbonara. The signature dish, which is apparently ‘Chicago style’ (definitely Chicago style portions!) was a variation of penne pasta with sausages and red onions in a tomato sauce, generously covered in mozzarella and baked. The ideal comfort food. I was feeling fresh as a daisy, but I can imagine this being incredible hangover food, particularly with the amount of salt they used. The first few bites were delicious but the saltiness became a little overwhelming and I could only manage half of the enormous serving. The cream-free carbonara looked and tasted rather dry, which is, I suspect, why most people nowadays use cream when preparing this dish. I like that they put in the effort to make an original carbonara by replacing the cream with eggs, but unfortunately it was not a successful dish and my friend actually ended up finishing my dish instead of hers!

The dessert menu is rather disappointing, with only three options: tiramisu, cannoli or ice cream served with chocolate or whisky, none of which particularly appealed to us. I would have liked to have had a few other choices like perhaps a ricotta cake or anything to do with chocolate. Unimpressed with the selection, we opted instead for a frozen yoghurt en route back to the office!

Total bill was $135 each which didn’t include a drink. A great new addition to Elgin Street which I would come back to for some unpretentious home-style cooking. If you’re looking for some alfresco dining in the heart of Soho, this little place is just the ticket… but make sure you come with an appetite as they serve American portions!

Mostaccioli Brothers

B/F & G/F 16 Elgin Street
Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2525 5770

Date visited: Friday 8th April 2011

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