Being a big fan of Todd Darling and Robert Spina’s Posto Pubblico and Cantopop, I had wanted to try Linguini Fini from the moment I heard it was due to open in L place. Unfortunately, the timing of their opening was not ideal and I missed it by one day when I flew back to England. Therefore, as soon as I was back, I had to make plans to check it out, hoping that had there initially been any kinks in service, they would, by this stage, have been successfully ironed out.
They do not take bookings at this casual and affordable New York style Italian diner, but as there were only two of us, we were offered two spots at the bar – perfectly placed to be able to watch the pasta being made. My friend, who would willingly survive on just pasta for the rest of her life, commented that she finds “pasta always so mesmerising” and there is certainly some truth in that; there was little I could do to refrain from staring and stop myself from drooling. Thus, ignoring any other options on the menu, I knew that I HAD to have pasta!
Perhaps as it was peak time and the tartan-clad waiters were clearly rushed off their feet, or perhaps as we had our backs to them, engrossed in the art of pasta-making, service was not exceptional. After waiting long enough, we in fact had to flag down a waitress and request some menus, but it wasn’t enough to detract from my excitement of the meal that was to follow, and the freshly cooked still-warm bread served in an old anchovy tin kind of made up for it.
The daily set lunch menu at $98 includes one of two salads, followed by either a sandwich or one of two pasta dishes and a tea or coffee. Not immensely attracted to any of today’s choices however, we stuck to the slightly pricier regular menu. We chose to share a homemade spicy pork sausage from the antipasti menu, which was delicious, served with roasted onions and peppers and a roasted garlic mustard – definitely worth ordering again.
My friend chose the Spaghetti Carbonara, which at Linguini Fini is not just any carbonara. The spaghetti is infused with char siu, bringing a little bit of Hong Kong to this typical Italian dish, and successfully so, giving it a very interesting and certainly moreish flavour.
I selected the Tortelloni with eggplant and sundried tomatoes in a goat’s cheese fonduta sauce, which again, was divine, if a little rich. I just about managed with what was on my plate, but would certainly not have coped with any more. The man to my right on the bar mentioned that he was trying so hard to refrain from sticking his fork into one of the tortelloni and pinching it. Likewise were my thoughts about his GIANT spaghetti and meatball. Yes, singular meatball. I might have to try it next time. Or just hope for a very generous neighbour.
One of the things I love about Posto Pubblico, Cantopop and now evidently Linguini Fini is that all the dishes are cooked using natural and fresh ingredients from local farms, sourced by Homegrown Foods. So you know that even though you are probably consuming far too many calories (a run is definitely on the cards this evening), they are at least good calories, if such a thing exists!
Absolutely bursting at the seams, dessert was not even considered, although as I write and reminisce about my Linguini Fini experience, I can’t stop thinking about their homemade gelato and sorbeti. Again, that’ll be something to save space for next time. Unless my neighbour is really, really generous…
Total bill came to $302, without service charge. I have expressed my feelings about HK and service charge before and I stand my ground that I feel a place should earn their service charge rather than demand it, as I always feel more inclined to tip if it’s not forced upon me. Maybe the Integrated Hospitality Management boys should teach other HK restos a lesson or two!
1/F The L Place
139 Queen’s Road Central
Tel: +852 2857 1333
Date visited: Monday 25th July 2011