Isolating the good food at Isola, Central

Did you know Isola is Italian for “island”?

So it was time once again to sample the best Italian pizza in town.  Isola is run by the Gaia Group which does mostly Italian/Mediterranean eateries around HK except for the previously reviewed Greyhound Cafe a few steps away; they also have a Isola in Shanghai (hmmm…) which funnily enough is in Shanghai IFC.  There’s even an IFC in Chongqing (and various other Chinese cities).

Isola HK is a welcome part of the Central Lunch Series too – but book ahead unless you want to wait til 2pm!

The airy, white entrance.

A good chunk of the clientele is Caucasian and most of the rest are discerning Asians (haha).  With the spacious layout, giant windows and high ceilings it’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening.

But guess what I saw after sitting down – my plate was dirty!  With a very obvious water stain on it.  It was hastily changed, but the first impression was made.  Could the rest of the evening make up for it?

Bread basket with fresh tomato sauce.  I liked the fluffy square breads and the thin crackers, the rest were ordinary.

Look at that razor thin and delectable parma ham.  This was the prosciutto, rucola e scaglie di Parmigiano (parma ham, diced tomato, mozzarella, arugula and Parmigiano stone baked pizza)($228).  A well-executed, crispy, thin crust pizza with fresh toppings that melt together to form awesomeness.  Bravo!

The maccheroncini  (NOT macaroni and cheese) con ragu di salsiccia mista leggermente piccante (maccheroni Martelli with three different Italian with three sausage ragout ($198).  Lightly spicy as the menu claims, just the right amount of kick.  I soon finished this up too.

My friend insisted on white wine despite both the pasta and pizza having red meat, but it turned out pretty good.  We followed the waiter’s recommendation and got the Toscana Le Rime 2010, Castello Banfi (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio)($230 for a 375ml “half bottle”/mezze bottiglie).  Refreshing, sweetish and light, which meant it went well with everything, and a half bottle for two was a nice quantity.

Since we were here we decided to snag the seasonal dessert – la seada o sebada servita con miele e  scorza di limone (“typical deep fried pastry” stuffed with fresh cheese, honey and citrus zest, served with honey syrup and lemon skin)($108).  Basically a  lemony piece of pastry, simple flavours.  Something different.

Petit fours.  Presentation was kind of meh.  Not much they can do really.  It’s four biscuits on an ordinary white plate.  Taste was not bad, but overall a bit of an underwhelming finish.

The panoramic harbour view is definitely a bonus whether day or night, and dawdling al fresco on the terrace should be great on in cooler days.

Total damage was $840 or $420 each.  Found no fault with the service.  Too bad about the dirty plate (what, no complimentary fruit platter?), because taking into account the location, the view, and the solid main courses with wine, I think it was decent value.  I also hear about the set lunch with appetiser and dessert buffet, but honestly I’m over the greedy buffet phase of my life, as I believe quantity and quality are always competing forces.  Anyway, will return for their other pizzas and mains, and maybe the regular desserts – now if only I had more random things to celebrate.

Restaurant rating: NOM NOM NOM NOM (out of five)

Address: Shop 3071-3075, 3/F & Shop 4011, 4/F, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central  中環港景街1號國際金融中心商場3樓3071-3075號舖及4樓4011號舖

Opening hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat, noon-11:30pm, Sun noon-10:30pm

Tel: 2383 8765 (you can also reserve by email via their website below)

Web: official, Openrice English, Openrice 中文, HK Magazine review


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