Now that summer is well and truly here, it is officially beach weather. Sadly, the beaches on Hong Kong island aren’t quite what you’d find in the Mediterranean, but Amalfitana, an artisan pizza bar, has just opened to bring a slice of the Amalfi Coast to The Pulse.
When brothers get together, great things can be achieved. Take, for example the Warner brothers, or the Wright brothers, or even the Bee Gees. Now imagine what happens when two sets of brothers get together. Amalfitana is brought to us by brothers Rohit and Harsh Roopchand, together with brothers Manesh and Manoj Chellaram – the very same quartet that brought us Rummin’ Tings. These guys really know how to get a crowd buzzing and, even though Amalfitana is still in soft-opening, it looks like they’ve already created quite a buzz.
Amalfitana, as the name suggests, is inspired by Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast. A beautiful, hand-painted mural on the wall pays homage to this, whilst colourful tiles and a huge pizza oven manned by Italian pizzaiolo Michel Degli Agosti complete the scene.
If you were actually on a night out somewhere on the Amalfi Coast, what’s the first thing you would order? An Aperol Spritz of course! Amalfitana’s drinks menu features a list of creative spritzes and negroni, alongside solely Italian wines and a couple of Italian beers. I tried the Balotelli, a refreshing concoction made with chilli rum, Prosecco and soda. I followed this with a Rosa Maria, which involves rosemary-infused Aperol for a slight twist on the original spritz. Had it not been a week night, I probably would have made my way down the whole list of spritzes!
Although Amalfitana’s main focus is its pizzas, it’s not all about the pizza. We started our night with a selection of Italian cold cuts and Italian cheeses that perfectly accompanied our spritzes. The cheese was served not with honey, but with a sweet dip made with grapes that tasted divine.
Amalfitana has a great selection of salads too. The barley salad was lovely and light, consisting of spelt, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes, dressed in a homemade pesto sauce. I’m rarely blown away by Caesar salad, but I liked Amalfitana’s take, which used kale instead of iceberg lettuce, giving it an unusual yet satisfying flavour.
The insalata tricolore was simple yet fresh and delicious, made with layers of chopped tomatoes, avocado and buffalo mozzarella, all representing the colours of the Italian flag.
Amalfitana’s version of a steak tartare, the Battuta di carne had interesting additions of sun blush tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and a rather fabulous Parmesan wafer that took this dish to a whole other level.
We also sampled the beef carpaccio and the eggplant parmigiana, but, let’s face it, the real reason anyone goes to Amalfitana is for the pizzas! Chef Michel uses a long-rising dough technique that results in lighter pizza bases that are much easier to digest. The brothers tried to convince us that this makes them “healthy”, but I’m not sure I would go that far!
Having just spent two weeks in Italy gorging on the world’s best pizzas, I was a little dubious that any pizza in Hong Kong would live up to the standards. Amalfitana’s pizzas, I must say, are up there amongst the best that Hong Kong has to offer – and I can safely say that, since I did try almost every single pizza on the menu, including the kids’ menu!
My favourites included the Fiorentina, with spinach, poached egg and Parmesan; the salsiccia e porcini; and – my go-to choice – the Amalfitana, with buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham and rocket.
I would never usually opt for a Quattro formaggio pizza, as I find it incredibly rich and heavy. There’s no denying that Amalfitana’s one is also very rich, but it is undoubtedly the best four cheese pizza I have tasted. I couldn’t manage a whole one, but if anyone else ordered one, I would happily steal a slice… or three.
Most kids’ menus just offer a simple, washed out version of what the parents get. Kids at Amalfitana, however, get the world’s coolest pizzas, shaped into little fish! Perhaps if I had been able to try a Bambino pepperoni when I was little, it might have made me like pizza as a child (in case you didn’t already know, I only found my love for pizza at circa age 20!). Sadly, these fish-shaped pizzas are only for the kiddies though.
If you haven’t had enough pizza for main course, you can continue on the theme and go for the Nutella pizza for dessert. This one is thankfully not just for the kiddies, as I’m sure a good number of adults would enjoy this too! I found it a little too doughy for my liking, but appreciated the idea.
Amalfitana’s tiramisu, on the other hand, though not quite the best I’ve tasted, had a good balance of sweet, creamy and coffee flavour, without being too overpowering. I surprised myself by deciding I would choose this over the Nutella pizza any day!
A meal at Amalfitana is not complete without a glass of homemade Limoncello, and here it is always on the house.
Service was excellent and I liked the authenticity of the Italian chef and Italian hostess. Prices are higher than I expected, where pizzas range from $130 to $250. Add to that a few drinks (spritzes start from $90), and your bill will quickly add up. Then again, I guess you’re saving money by not actually having to travel to the Amalfi Coast for a good Aperol Spritz and a pizza! Up until now, there was definitely a piece of the puzzle missing at The Pulse, and Amalfitana has just filled it.
Shop 105, G/F, The Pulse
28 Beach Road
Tel: +852 2388 7787