Address: 26/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai 灣仔皇后大道東202號QRE Plaza 26號
Telephone: 2151 2868
A catch up with my college friend, N, is long overdue and we decide to do a girls dinner at Papi. Papi is an Italian restaurant specialising in small-plate dining, which is the traditional way of eating in Italy where hearty dishes are shared by the family.
There are two Papi outlets in Hong Kong, one in QRE Plaza in Wanchai and one at Elements in West Kowloon. We have dinner at the Wanchai outlet, which is spacious and inviting – a long open kitchen, wooden flooring and simple furniture imbue the space with a homely feeling, and the dining tables are placed comfortably far apart.
Thanks to its location away from the hustle of Causeway Bay and Central, it is usually not difficult for me to get a table here even during the weekend. The service is helpful and attentive, and a wide selection of tasty, non-fussy dishes are available on the menu.
(1) We start the evening with a “Papi” cocktail ($78). Made with light rum, Frangelico, fresh lemongrass and the restaurant’s homemade lemonade, this refreshing, slightly citrus drink is great to ease us into the meal.
(2) Our first appetiser is a Florentina stewed beef tripe ($98). The beef tripe is deliciously soft, and the dish’s flavours are strong and comforting, lifted by a refreshing note of tomato.
(3) Next, the grilled whole calamari with lemon and chilli ($118) is served. I love the outer crispiness of the calamari and its firm texture. I wish there is a tad more lemon juice and chilli though!
(4) The black truffle and Parma ham crispy sandwich ($108) is definitely the star of the night. Different versions of this sandwich are served at various restaurants in Hong Kong, but what I love about this sandwich is that it is the most cheesy of all. It is a complete delight to bite into this oozy, delicious, flavour-packed sandwich.
(5) The linguine with sea urchin ($208) follows. The pasta’s texture is nicely al dente, and the level of moisture is also appropriate, but the sea urchin only tastes mediocre and the pasta overall is in want of stronger flavours.
(6) Lastly, we share a sweet fresh fruit pizza ($88) as our dessert. This dessert, scattered with fruits and sprinkled with sugar, is very pleasing to the eyes. I personally find the bitterness of the orange peel a bit distracting, but overall this is a lovely, enjoyable dessert.
I have been to Papi a few times in the past year and have generally found their dishes decent and satisfying. It is also noteworthy that the prices here are very budget-friendly – these days, dinner at restaurants in Central will easily set you back $500 per head, but dinner at Papi typically only costs around $300 per head. The kitchen can fine-tune the seasoning of the dishes for a more precise result, but overall, I would still peg Papi as a budget-friendly, lively restaurant which is suitable for casual gatherings with family and friends.