The pizzeria named “the city’s best pizza” by NY Times had opened its first overseas branch here in HK! Led by owner and chef Mathieu Palombino, Motorino will be serving us authentic Neapolitan pizza. I was super excited about checking it out after hearing quite a great deal of raving. J and I met for early dinner around 7pm and there were pretty much no empty seats by the time we sat down. The interior of the 45-seats restaurant resembles the other branches with stripes on the walls, marble topped tables, metal chairs and the wood- burning Ferrara oven.
I had my eyes set on the margherita but I kinda want to try the Brussels sprout pizza. There are two types of base to choose from, the red and the white; red with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and thyme while the stracciatella has cheese melted into the dough with basil tossed on top along with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. You could do a half and half pie as long as it’s the same base, we looked through the menu to zero in something that could go with my margerita. After much debate, we decided that we’ll go for margherita and Brussels sprout even though Brussels sprout pizza is usually not serve with tomato base.
The pizza looked very promising when it arrived, thin crust with burnt bubbles on the edge and toppings slightly (hmm.. maybe a bit more than slightly)charred, reminded me of the pizza at 208 which I LOVE. However, cutting into the pizza we realized that the pizza was way too wet. Yes I get it, Neapolitan pizzas is supposed to be kinda soggy in the middle (and I LOVE it) especially with the mozzarella which makes the pizza even more moist. 208 does a pretty wet pizza to begin with and it’s all good, but this was over the limit and the pizza becomes really soggy and floppy. In fact, it was SOAKED through; I wish it were crispier on the base.
The flavor was pretty good though; there was a good balance of rich mozzarella and tangy San Marzano tomato sauce, the crispy basil leaves added a nice touch. The deep robust nutty flavor of roasted brussels sprout was an interesting combination; perhaps we should have stuck to getting the original white base for this topping. I would imagine it going very well with the smoked pancetta and mozzarella instead of floating about in our soupy tomato sauce. The charring was also too overly done on the topping, I was trying to remove burnt pieces in my mouth with each bite which really spoiled my appetite.
We decided to be more forgiving and try more dishes, we ordered the meat ball, it was flavorful and moist, there’s a bit of black pepper unevenly spread in the meat ball to bring some spiciness to it.
Onto the dessert, which is usually my favorite part- there’s a choice of Torta Al Cioccolato and tiramisu. I guess we were being overly hopeful and ordered both of them. My heart sank a little (fine, I’ll stop being a drama queen) when I saw the tiramisu, it was very obviously on the drier side just by the looks of it. And a bite into it proved my point it was too dry and had ZERO liquor taste in it. I’m not an alcoholic but the last I checked (and I’ve made tiramisu before), there’s alcohol involved in the making of it, unless you are making one for kids. The chocolate cake has a few grains of salt on top of the ganache topping, the dense mousse in the middle ssat neatly on top of the crunchy base. While the chocolate cake wasn’t bad, it wasn’t exciting. Yes it’s pretty ok, but if I were one of those lab mice, this cake would have been a waste of an hour of running on the treadmill.
Pru and Benson were at motorino when we were there and they too were not impressed with the food as well; but couple of friends went just yesterday and thought their pizzas were really good. They had the brussel sprout pizza in its original base and thought the flavors were unique and tasty and the crust crispy and chewy all at the same time. Alright alright, maybe it was an epic off day for them when I ate there. I’m happy to revisit and just to see why people are raving so much about it.
14 Shelley Street,
+852 2801 6881
Open seven days a week from 12:00pm – 12:00am