When an Italian chef is the sole owner of a restaurant, you know things can go really really right. To add to this wonderful microeconomic backdrop, Chef Gianni Caprioli makes it a personal mission to ensure only excellent quality ingredients are used. In fact, I was told 95% of their ingredients are imported directly from Italy – including their eggs.
Chefs of top Italian restaurants have been spotted eating here a number of times. I first came here on a Saturday and returned the next Sunday again. With this in mind, it’s not a question of whether you should dine here, but a question of what to order when you come here.
Had I come here earlier, it definitely would be among the 5 Italian Restaurants in Hong Kong that Do Stand Out, for being the most authentic and featuring the best quality ingredients.
Weekend Brunch at HK$338 for 3-Courses
I love my ‘epic brunches‘ and this place would definitely rank high if I ever came up with such a list. The 3-course set runs from 12-3pm on weekends, and includes one appetiser, one main and one dessert. Add on ~HK$150 for 2-hours of free flow prosecco.
Top-quality Fresh Italian Ingredients at the Appetiser Buffet
For appetisers, you can pick a dish from the set menu or go for the buffet. I say, definitely go for the buffet. The variety is sufficiently wide, and the quality of everything was top notch. Understandably, most restaurants serve substandard items as part of any “buffet”, but this doesn’t apply at Giando.
They had six types of tomatoes on offer and these were fresh, crunchy and delicious. You will definitely want to load up on these tomatoes because there’s also an excellent selection of cheese to go with it. The stracciatella was my favourite.
They also had really delicious marinated smoked salmon, the best anchovies I’ve tried and three types of very good quality Italian ham, among other highlights.
17 Main Course Dishes to Choose From
With so many main course options to choose from, ranging from salads to pastas to meats, this is what you’ll want to read more about before you go. On both of my visits, a 10-15 minute debate was required before we all decided on what we wanted.
I was lucky that I came with a relatively large group on both visits so I got to sample a range of main dishes. The winners were hands down the Homemade Spinach Lasagne with Bolognese Sauce and Prime Beef Steak ‘Tagliata’.
Homemade Spinach Lasagna with Bolognese *must order*
It may look (and be) calorific, but it’s worth it because it could be the best lasagna you’ve had – at least a few of us thought it was anyway. The pasta sheets are made with spinach, and the sauce was super cheesy and creamy. It was layered with some meat sauce. It’s a classic done perfectly.
300g Prime Beef Steak ‘Tagliata’ (+HK$118) *must order*
The rib eye needs little introduction, especially after you see the photo. You need to add HK$118 for this dish but given its size (300g), it’s absolutely worth it. More importantly, it was cooked to perfection – in fact better than a lot of steakhouses. The outer edge was charred and crispy, while the center was perfectly red. Even the potatoes on the side were delicious.
Pan Fried Buffalo Mozzarella Toast
I was at first tempted by the Pan Fried Buffalo Mozzarella Toast – it sounded pretty interesting. But with an abundance of burrata and stracciatella in the appetiser buffet, it’s not really a good idea. Plus, it’s a little underwhelming compared with the other dishes. It’s a delicious grilled cheese, but definitely less satisfying and less complex compared with the pasta dishes that I tried.
Gnocchi with Octopus Ragu
For example, the Gnocchi with Octopus Ragu was pretty unique and interesting. It’s a good option for those who are more adventurous and don’t want to go with typical dishes like steak or lasagna.
Alternatively, the adventurous could also go for the Rabbit Porchetta (What is Porchetta?). It was an interesting choice which some on the table loved, but it wasn’t my favourite. But perhaps that’s because rabbit is hardly my first choice of meat…
Parmesan Risotto with Spring Vegetables
On my second visit I ordered the Parmesan Risotto with Spring Vegetables. The portion was huge! Actually the portion of many main course dishes were huge. It may look a little uninspiring because of the mini veggies and clear sauce. But the risotto was cooked perfectly to al dente and it was very tasty for a veg dish.
Let’s say it’s a good choice if you’re in the mood for something ‘easy on the stomach’ but won’t be the most impressive or inventive dish to order.
Cod Fish Tempura with Cauliflower Cream
The cod fish tempura would probably be my third highest recommendation here after the lasagna and beef! Again, the quality of ingredients used here was tellingly excellent. The fish was fresh, really juicy, tender and quite flavourful. I enjoyed it because it was a good combination with the cauliflower cream; it was slightly interesting, yet not too out-of-the-ordinary.
Best Tiramisu in Hong Kong? *must order*
The tiramisu I make at home is pretty outstanding (hehe). But seriously, a number of people tell me it’s the best they’ve ever had (check out the recipe here). My family members are always disappointed when they have tiramisu outside home, and have started to avoid ordering it altogether to avoid disappointment.
Having tried the tiramisu on my first visit to Giando, I knew this was a likely contender to win my homemade version. Indeed, they were immensely impressed and thought it was the best tiramisu they had had in Hong Kong. And as a result of this brunch, they also had many suggestions for my no-longer-perfect-tiramisu recipe!
It had an excellent espresso flavour. I personally prefer a greater cream-to-ladyfingers ratio, but it was very custardy. The colour of the cream/custard is very yellow and that’s because the chef insists on using Italian eggs, which I suppose is much deeper orange/yellow in colour.
P.S. You have to add HK$18 to order the tiramisu or the chocolate mousse.
Amedei Chocolate Mousse *must order*
The Chocolate Mousse was honestly no less perfect. I would really struggle if I go for a third time. It was extremely chocolate-y and they even use made-in-Tuscany chocolate (Amedei).
I also got a bite of the hazelnut parfait and while the portion is a little small, it was amazing, especially for anyone who’s a fan of nutella.
I was surprised at how yellow their vanilla gelato was in colour. I was then told this was because Italian eggs were used. I don’t know if that played a role, but the vanilla gelato was amazing!
I was therefore super excited to try their pistachio and coffee flavours too, on my second visit. The pistachio one had too strong an almond flavour which we didn’t really like. The coffee was strong in espresso flavours and pretty good too. But I have to say the vanilla is a clear winner.
Excellent Value for Excellent Ingredients
At the end, it wasn’t really HK$300 ish per person because some of us ordered dishes which required extra and some of us got free flow prosecco. But despite the additions, all of us felt the meal was well worth it.
We were generally most impressed by 1. The delicious burrata cheese and 2. The prime beef steak. But I personally thought the selection of excellent quality tomatoes and the lasagna were equally a highlight.
The ambience here is also really nice – it’s casual and comfortable. You can also book a private area if you’re in a big group. I love my brunches and although the food was not exactly “brunchy”, this is definitely a place I’d return to again.
G/F Starcrest Tower 1
9 Star Street
Phone: 2511 8912
Spend per person: HK$400-500 for brunch