A friend told me about how she loved Si Mangia after having an awesome dinner at this cozy private kitchen. She told me that the chef is passionate about cooking and lived in Milano for years to learn how to cook authentic Italian dishes. I was instantly sold on hearing “passionate”, that’s really one of the key ingredients for great food!
Before going there for a 16 people dinner, I coordinated with the chef on the menu and because we have a slightly large group, he suggested that we settled on one primo and he can do two different sets of appetizer and main. I was most excited about dessert even though there were a couple of other options, I had my eyes set on tiramisu seeing that seriously no one in Hong Kong does a good tiramisu, at least not to my liking. I specifically asked for an adult version of tiramisu since everyone here seems to be very PG with the ingredients.
Si Mangia is in a building tucked in the alley opposite Sincere/ Nan Fung Tower; a couple of people got lost even though I’d attached a map and described where the entrance is in relation to the buildings around it. The interior of the private kitchen was warm and homely with a semi open kitchen for those who’d like to watch the chef work his magic.
My appetizer was the fresh fig with mozzarella cheese wrapped in paper thin prosciutto, the sweetness, seediness (no, I din mean the fig was shabby or sick, I just meant it was bursting with seeds which adds a good texture) and juiciness of fresh fig was a perfect marriage of flavors and texture with the saltiness of the proscitutto and the softness and moisture of mozzarella cheese.
The seafood pasta was good but since we waited for everyone to get their dishes before starting, mine had cooled down by the time we started. The pasta was cooked al dente with squid and shrimps. I had to add cayenne pepper powder as it was on the lighter side on flavor, perhaps it was to bring out the natural sweetness of fresh seafood in it. The shrimps were perhaps the weakest link in the dish as they weren’t firm, I left most of mine untouched.
Next up was our main, I picked the beef cheek braised in wine. It was meltingly tender, moist and flavorful, with gelatinous bits in it to contrast the texture of meat; the sauce was slightly sweet from the wine.
The moment of truth finally, the tiramisu won my heart with the perfect balance between cream and sponge cake, and the flavor of liquor was present without being overwhelming. There was also a thin layer of chocolate perhaps to balance the use of liquor. The result was a piece of heaven! I liked it so much I finished two pieces of them. The sweetened strawberry on the side was worth a mention too; it was sweet without being overly sugary, tender without being disgusting mushy and each thin slice can be eaten with the heavenly tiramisu.
The group had a great time at dinner, it was a fabulous night filled with good food, drinks, laughter and exchanges of cheesy pick-up lines. One suggestion would be to serve bread and salad before the appetizer, other than that, service was prompt, friendly and helpful. The chef had been very patient handling all my endless emails enquiring on the ingredients in each dish and how particular dish is made etc while we were drafting the menu.
503, 5/F, Cheungs Building
1 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan