There’s something wonderfully charming about Tai Hang, with its little streets of tiny restaurants and cafés and a sort of sleepy yet cool vibe. It’s the kind of place where you can just casually stroll along and decide on a restaurant when you happen to stumble upon it. Such was the case last weekend, when a little stroll through this lovely village led us to No. 5 Italian, a cute little spot on Brown Street.
Much like most of the restaurants in the area, No. 5 is small and cosy, with seats for around 20 people. With its charming, rustic décor, lovely green terrace at the back and friendly service, it’s easy to think you’re not in Hong Kong. They actually seem to want to make you believe you could be dining in Italy, by listing prices in Euros. This is quite a strange idea that I’m not sure is entirely necessary, but, in a way, it kind of adds to the charm. There’s a useful key at the bottom of the menu informing you that they have made €1 equal to HK$10.
Said menu is small, with only five or so options each for starters, pastas and pizzas. In addition to this, there are daily specials listed on a blackboard above the kitchen.
We started with the fresh burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes. Burrata is one of those things that if I see on a menu, I tend to ignore everything else that’s listed around it. No. 5’s burrata did not disappoint. It was wonderfully creamy and delicious, pairing nicely with the super fresh tomatoes and simple balsamic, olive oil and fresh basil garnish.
The fig, Parma ham and baby spinach salad was also incredibly fresh, with the perfect balance of sweetness from the figs and saltiness from the ham. I was also impressed with the portion size and the generous serving of Parma ham.
No. 5 prides itself on its pizzas, and I can definitely understand why. We tried the Johnny’s Style pizza, topped with white truffle, more Parma ham, rocket, and buffalo mozzarella. The base was amazingly thin and crispy on the edges, with a lovely elasticity in the centre. We were also impressed with the sweet tomato sauce that had more depth to it than others. All in all, I’d say this was up there amongst the best pizzas I’ve had in Hong Kong. It could have had a few slivers more of Parma ham, but then again I am a bit of a Parma ham fiend.
Handmade pastas are also one of No. 5’s specialities. We tried the pappardelle with stewed Wagyu cheek, which had a lovely homemade quality to it and a beautiful flavour. The beef fell apart at the slightest touch, which paired perfectly with the slightly al dente rustic-style pasta.
Before we had finished our mains, our waiter came to ask us if we were going to want dessert; there was only one crème brûlée left, so he would save it for us if we did want it. This was a sweet gesture, and one that we could hardly turn down! There wasn’t anything particularly special about this crème brûlée however. The caramelised sugary layer at the top wasn’t quite thick enough, and beneath it, the crème was cold, as if it had literally just been removed from the fridge.
Including a bottle of red wine, we each paid a little over $550. As I’ve mentioned more than once, service was excellent and we never felt in the slightest bit rushed throughout the meal. No. 5 Italian is definitely a lovely little gem that I would love to go back to again and again.
No. 5 Italian
21C, Brown Street
Tel: +852 2504 2111