Crouching Tiger, Hidden Italian. Mostaccioli Brothers, Soho

Sometimes, you just need to escape from the norm, whether that’s the rat race or eating out.  And what better way than the feeling of discovering a hidden gem?  “Mo Bros” manages to convey that feeling despite it being part of the El Grande Group, which also owns the Grappa’s and Domani brands.  Sorry, it’s not actually owned by two mustachioed, mostaccioli-loving brothers.

(Note: mostaccioli is basically bigger penne and smooth with no ridges, known to Italians as “little moustaches”.  As there are no ridges to hold the sauce, thicker sauces work better with mostaccioli.)

corridor

Your first reward is actually finding the narrow entrance on Elgin Street.

courtyard

The place is split in two, with indoor and al fresco options for both eating and drinks.  Stepping inside, you feel removed from the hustle and bustle of Central.

interior

The cosy main dining room’s high ceilings and countryside artwork keep it from feeling too cramped.

oil & vinegar

Looks like something from science class, but probably tastes better.

bread

The warm bread had a nice crunch and came with a fresh tomato sauce spread.

tomatoes

First came the starter, the semi dried tomatoes ($40), “cooked the traditional Italian way, under the sun”.  They were harder than I’d expected and I wasn’t used to the tangy/sourness, plus they were drenched rather than drizzled in olive oil.  Should’ve eaten it with the bread like my fellow food-venturer.

mushrooms
Second small dish was a side, the grilled mushrooms with garlic and oil ($50).   I enjoyed the sauce and the texture and consistency of the fresh button shrooms was just right.

salmon pasta
The main event – the pasta!  The smoked salmon pasta with cherry tomatoes, garlic, parsley and extra virgin olive oil topped with rocket lettuce and parmesan cheese ($105) was good and had balanced flavours, which to me means smoked salmon that isn’t incredibly salty or “fishy”.  However, there could’ve been more salmon which here was broken into little chunks, while the presentation could’ve been a bit better if they didn’t cover it all up with the rocket.

spag meatballs
Ah, the classic spaghetti and meatballs ($105).  Solid taste, al dente and with the right amount of sauce.  The meatballs were tender and juicy yet didn’t crumble.  This also came with a decent amount of cheese, but we asked for more!  A third meatball wouldn’t have gone amiss, however.

tiramisu
Time for dessert – go big or go home, right?  (But seriously kids, eat responsibly.)  They only had three choices, and we chose the Mamma Mostaccioli’s Tiramisu with traditional mascarpone, coffee, marsala (wine) and lady finger ($55) which was rich and not mushy, with quite a strong flavour from the wine.

Service was very friendly and with a smile; the waitresses chatted jovially with customers and all of them drop a “thank you” when you’re leaving.  They also do the American thing of asking how your meal is halfway through, and if you don’t finish your food (a common and unfortunate HK phenomenon I suspect), they’ll genuinely ask why you didn’t like it.  It’s nice to have a proper dining out experience where you’re not just paying for the food, but enter into a slightly different world when you step inside.

(Finally, upon special request I’d like to note that my company for the evening was of quite acceptable standards. 😛  That’s right, here at Hong Kong Nom Nom, we listen to our fans.)

Total cost was $391 ($196 per head).  Definitely a reasonable price-portion-quality ratio for Soho, and I’ll be back for more Italian-American comfort food soon.

Rating: NOM NOM NOM N- (3.5/5)

Address: B/F & G/F, 16 Elgin Street, Soho, Central  中環蘇豪伊利近街16號地下及地庫

Opening hours: 11am-11pm daily

Tel: 2525 5770

Web: official, official FacebookOpenrice EnglishOpenrice 中文, Time Out HK review, HK Tatler reviewDim Sum Diaries review, Hip HK review, Chikpi 中文食評

PS I just discovered this cool website called Menubaby which has a full 360 view and high quality shots of restaurant interiors, plus  uploads of food and drink menus!  The one for Mo Bros is HERE.

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