Naples is where it all started for pizzas as we know it today so you could say that Neapolitan pizza is the OG, characterised by its thick, fluffy charred crusts. Falcone, which just opened in IFC in Central, is the latest to be dedicated to the Neapolitan.
A Review of Falcone, Pizzeria Napoletana
Falcone is the newest addition to the scattered IFC dining landscape in Central, taking over the enviable location of what was previously Greyhound. The mall is the perfect location for a good fast food joint, whether you’re out shopping or just waiting for your movie.
Neapolitan pizza places have been popping up in Hong Kong recently. In Italy, these pizzerias have to use strict artisanal traditional ways of cooking and be officially certified. In Hong Kong obviously we are less fussed – any tasty pizza is good pizza.
In Naples, San Marzano tomatoes are a must for a topping and, generally because there’s more sauce than cheese, the middle of the pie is a little more moist or soggy. Some pizzerias refuse to cut the pizza, instead encouraging diners to tear off slices. That, unfortunately, makes for a more messy meal.
At the Falcone, we didn’t have that problem; can’t have the shoppers dripping tomato sauce on their designer suits! We had no dripping issues with our polpette – braised pork meatballs, tomato and parmesan ($238) – even though the juicy minced meat was smothered in tomato sauce. Taken together it was a mouthful of deliciousness.
The pacchianella was a delight and not one you would find on a usual pizzeria menu. The pizza is actually fried and baked in its own oil with salami, tomato and fior de latte. It sounds oily but it was crisp and moist. “Consider this an antipasti bread,” it says on the menu.
Given the focus on tomatoes, I was a little disappointed in the insalata caprese ($208). While the buffalo mozzarella was decent, I wasn’t a big fan of the fresh tomatoes they used as it was a bit pulpy. At that price, I would have expected better.
I was mollified by the vongole sautee ($258). The clams were well soaked with the white wine and chilli sauce and, if there wasn’t so much carbs on our list already, I would have asked for more bread to soak up all the sauce!
Of the pastas, my favourites were two of the simplest ones: the penne alla pomodoro ($228) and the spaghetti alla nerano ($228). The penne was topped by a generous dollop of ricotta and the tomato and the cheese were well balanced as was the spaghetti. The rigatoni alla Genovese ($238) with braised beef also offered a good balance of taste and textures.
The heroes of the night were, of course, the pizzas. Neapolitan pizzas usually come in smaller sizes of between 25 to 30cm but don’t let the sizes fool you. The thicker crusts make each pizza quite substantial and easily shareable.
We opted for the alici fung ($208) with a tomato, anchovy, black olives and oregano topping; the diavola ($248) with tomato, fior di latte and salami; and the salsiccia e zucca ($258), which came with a fior di latte, Japanese pumpkin, sausage and gorgonzola topping.
I liked the tried-and-tested savouriness of the diavolo and, while I think the salsiccia would be a hit with many, adding pumpkin to savoury is not my thing. The alici fung also offered comforting familiarity. The kitchen could balance out the topping and the crust a bit more though: right now it seems too much on the side and too little in the middle.
Vongole sautee ($258)
Spaghetti alla nerano ($228)
Penne al pomodoro ($228)
Alici fung ($208)
The restaurant space looks a little bigger than before with a comfortable seating layout. Orange seats and hues give it a vibrant Mediterranean feel. The seats are a little more lush than I could expect at a pizzeria and, given that the vibrancy gives the place a vibe of constant action, the seats are dead weights and extremely difficult to move especially if you’re trying to get out of the banquette seats. Portions are large so it’s a great place for a small family or a group of friends. As can be seen by the wall décor, there is a large selection of drinks, especially Italian wines, available for those who like a tipple with their pizza.
Price for two:
$800 – $1,000
Shop 1082, 1/F, IFC, 8 Finance Street, Central
Monday – Sunday: 12nn to 9.30pm