Kennedy Town is known for its neighbourhood feel and cosy, welcoming bars and restaurants, where you needn’t make a reservation and you’ll seldom be turned away. Newest restaurant in town, Alvy’s, fits right in. We strolled in for an impromptu Friday night dinner a couple of weeks ago and immediately felt right at home.
Alvy’s is a three-way collaboration between former owner of The Globe, Patrick Gatherer, designer Paul Gelinas and the founders of Young Master Brewery. It is modelled on a New York City style neighbourhood pizza bar and that is exactly the vibe you get when you walk in. The décor is very simple and pub-like, with exposed brick walls, chequered flooring, simple wooden tables and chairs, and a long wooden bar with stools. Towards the back of the restaurant is where the magic happens, in a big pizza oven they call the Big Red Bitch!
Given the connection with Young Master Brewery, Hong Kong’s first craft brewery, obviously the drinks menu features a variety of local craft beers, listed alongside some American craft beers, craft American whiskies and natural wines.
The food menu consists of “noshes” and pizzas. I really appreciated the quality of the service, as our waitress informed us firstly that some of the “noshes” only contained three items per serving (there were four of us – so, if we wanted, we could add an additional one) and that these were not necessarily starters and therefore the food might come in a different order. Often restaurants don’t tell you these things, so you end up trying to fraction up an odd number of meatballs, or someone (never me) politely yet begrudgingly offers to go without.
Latkes are grated potato pancakes made famous by the Jewish communities in America. At Alvy’s, these crispy, buttery pancakes are given a Hong Kong twist by being topped with crispy char siu and geung yeong, served on a bed of sour cream – it was an unexpected combination, yet one that completely worked.
The meatballs in Sunday sauce consisted of a beautifully tender and flavoursome blend of pork, chuck and veal in a comforting tomato ragù that was wholesome and satisfying. Be sure to keep some of the sauce for your pizza crusts!
What our waitress could have told us is that, if we were already ordering two pizzas, we probably didn’t need to order the pizza nudo. The plain pizza dough was tasty, and I enjoyed in particular the basil pesto dip, but it was probably a bit unnecessary.
To make its pizzas, Alvy’s creates a unique beer-based sourdough base that undergoes a slow fermentation process to give it a more intense flavour and a distinctively chewy texture. We began with the pizza a la vodka, topped with a beautifully creamy and slightly sweet vodka and pecorino sauce.
The Sichuan-style Ma-La-Di-Da pizza wasn’t everyone’s favourite, but it was mine. This fiery pizza was topped with spicy salami and ‘nduja, with a mountain of Sichuan chillies in the centre. We were warned not to eat the chillies, but to slide the slice of pie out from underneath. Nevertheless, it still carried a potent kick that I adored.
Just in case we hadn’t had enough pizza dough, we finished with the only dessert on Alvy’s menu – Zeppoles. This was literally a pile of dough balls, sprinkled in icing sugar, served alongside a bowl of salted Valrhona Manjari chocolate sauce. Granted, they were heavy and rich, but they were also deliciously moreish and heavenly.
Prices at Alvy’s are very reasonable. For multiple rounds of drinks and more than enough food, we paid around $400 a head. The service is great, as I have mentioned already, and the food comforting and delicious. I can definitely see this place becoming our new K Town haunt.
8 Holland Street
Tel: +852 2312 2996
Closed on Mondays