Look & Feel: Taking over the famous Woo Cheong Pawn Shop location in Wan Chai formerly occupied by La Piola, CRUST Italian has a seriously enviable location and setup in a heritage building. There are four areas here—a proper Italian-style pasticceria where punters sip coffee at the bar while indulging in real Italian treats; a breezy indoor-outdoor area that’s perfect for sit-down coffees and casual lunches; an intimate dining room with just a handful of tables; and finally, a Scuscia takeaway counter that serves grab-and-go delights like calamari fritti.
Everywhere, you’ll find gorgeous hand-painted tiles, heritage fixtured, cascading greenery, and shades of Southern Italy—think greens, blues, and whites. It’s already found favour with the local Italian community, so expect to hear plenty of Italian while you’re here, too. The whole experience practically transports you all the way to Italy—though with a slick of Hong Kong polish, natch.
On the Menu: At the pasticceria bar of CRUST Italian, you’ll find all manner of Italian delights that are rarely found anywhere else in Hong Kong. Order a coffee and indulge in the deliciously decadent cornettos—available in nutella, custard, apricot jam, or plain flavors—massive cannoli siciliani, plain or strawberry rum babas, and torta caprese. You’ll need to get in quick though—the cornettos and sfoligatelle sell out very quickly.
In the main dining room, the menu focuses on flavor-packed Neapolitan dishes that, once again, aren’t commonly seen in Hong Kong. Kick things off with the moreish seaweed zeppole (fried, doughy balls of goodness served with fried whietbait), then treat yourself to the incredibly fresh and zesty Marinated prawn in cherry and tomato juice. For pasta, don’t expect an average bolognese or vongole. Instead, you’ll tuck into a Positano-style scialatielle pasta paired with with seafood that’s cooked perfectly al dente and bursting with ocean freshness, or a 14-hour ragu made with six cuts of meat. For the main, we sample a seabass in ‘acqua pazza’—this Southern Italian classic is available in several restaurants in Hong Kong, but we can confidently say that CRUST Italian delivers the best version—enjoy it with a side of the mashed potatoes with lemon and garlic and ‘scapece’ marinated zucchini for extra indulgence.
Jeng: The transportive decor, the deliciously indulgent food and pastries, and the friendly service.
Not So Jeng: CRUST Italian is one of the few new Hong Kong restaurants that hits all the right notes. There’s truly nothing to disappoint here.
Meet the Chef: Proud Neapolitan chef Sergio Landi worked at Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, including Paris’s Guy Savoy, before coming to Hong Kong to run the kitchens at COVA. Now, he’s bringing his heritage of Neoapolitan street food and culture to Hong Kong with CRUST Italian.
FYI: CRUST Italian is an all-dat affair—drop in for coffee and cornettos in the morning, linger over lunch, drop in for aperitivos (complete with food offerings), or stay late into the night over dinner.
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This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.