the dim sum diaries hong kong il moro hong kong

For so many restaurants with mediocre service, identical menus and lack of personality in Hong Kong, once in a while there comes the complete opposite; a restaurant with individuality, charm and a larger than life character. Il Moro in Sheung Wan is one such restaurant.

To say that the chef-owner Joseph is quite a character would be an understatement; he is full of life and very opinionated, and one of those people who makes you wonder if there’s an off button somewhere. Yet I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, for Joseph is what makes Il Moro what it is: a quirky one-of-a-kind Italian restaurant that serves genuinely delicious food from the heart.

il moro hong kong

It isn’t a large restaurant, and in fact until recently it had no signage whatsoever, making it even more of an intimate space. The interior is beautifully decorated with brightly coloured murals and Mediterranean-style plates, whilst another wall is adorned with Italian ingredients, which I assume can be purchased.

Once upon a time there was not a menu in sight, for Joseph assures diners he can make ‘anything you like’, provided he has the fresh ingredients in stock. Due to complaints about his style from people who just weren’t accustomed to it, he has now given in and menus are provided, although Joseph will still gladly tweak any printed dishes depending on what you’re after.

il moro hong kong

We began with a buffalo mozzarella salad and an enormous vegetarian platter laden with artichokes, grilled courgettes, peppers and aubergines, beetroot, celery salad, aubergine salad and a few types of cheese. Never has a vegetarian platter tasted so good. Taking in the colourful décor, the gorgeous Testarossa Montepulciano wine (which Joseph fittingly described as a ‘macho man’) and the wonderful fresh flavours of the starters, it was easy to imagine ourselves transported to the Mediterranean.

il moro hong kong

The black truffle pasta with leeks in a creamy button mushroom sauce is a must try; it is rich, but in a good way, each mouthful lightly perfumed with that gorgeous truffle flavour that keeps you going back for more. The penne pasta, though not made in-house, is imported from Italy and noticeably high quality stuff.

il moro hong kong

Another star dish was the seafood risotto, cooked to just the right al dente consistency with a generous amount of wonderfully fresh seafood. There is something rustic and authentically Italian about it that makes it stand out from many substandard risottos you find in HK.

il moro hong kong

The ossobuco Milanese, braised veal shank on a bed of grilled polenta, was heavenly. The meat was incredibly tender and the chunky root vegetables made it comforting and warming.

il moro hong kong

My choice of pasta amatriciana, although slow in coming, was definitely worth waiting for. The linguini was again perfectly al dente and liberally coated in a delicious tomato sauce with rich guanciale and pecorino cheese. I asked for chilli in mine, which made it even more amazing. The portion size was a little too generous however, and I was devastated that I couldn’t finish it.

Joseph serves most of the dishes himself, running backwards and forwards from the kitchen so that he can personally assist his customers; something I love in restaurants. My only real complaint about Il Moro is that rather than being shown a bill at the end of the night, Joseph just tells you how much you owe. Of course, for delicious food and five bottles of wine between six of us, $500 a head wasn’t outrageous, but considering Joseph supposedly gave us two of these bottles ‘on the house’ the other three must have been super pricey bottles!

Dining at Il Moro is an experience, both for the scrumptious authentically Italian food and for the lively atmosphere. It certainly is one of a kind and I already look forward to my next trip there.

Il Moro

G/F, Shop C, 2 Lok Ku Road
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2581 1809

3 Responses to “Il Moro”

  1. Irene Leung

    Dear Madam Ale,
    I am the neighbour of iL Moro, and I am Chef Josef’s friend. I like your article about this place because u truly understand what real Italian food is, and it’s soul the chef wants to render through his restaurant. But I’m sorry to tell that the telephone number u typed here is wrong, it should be 2581 1809, not 28511809. If u can amend it, it can let more diners access this place for reservation and share the joy/ wonder u’ve encountered here. Thank u very much.
    Bon appetit everyday!

    Reply
    • thedimsumdiaries

      Hi Irene,

      Thanks for your comment and apologies for the mistake – I have now amended it and hope that people will choose to make a reservation at Il Moro based on my review. I am pleased you like it and hope Joseph does too!

      Ale

      Reply

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