Lovers of pizza and pasta should get ready to stuff themselves to the brim this month, as November sees Hong Kong welcoming a handful of delicious Italian food-centred pop-ups, from a meatball extravaganza to Michelin-starred degustations. Add to that elegant wine dinners plus a 10-course degustation paired with premium Champagne, and you have a sensational line-up of food and drink events not to miss this month. Here are the pop-up events to mark in your diaries for November.

Enrico Bartolini at Spiga

When: 22 November for 5-course Bellavista Wine Dinner; 4–18 November for Chef Bartolini Celebration Menu

Price: HK$778 plus 10% per person for 5-course Bellavista Wine Dinner; HK$888 per person, plus HK$388 for wine pairing for Chef Bartolini Celebration Menu

November is full of celebrations over at Spiga, the Joyce Wang-designed northeastern Italian restaurant from Dining Concepts. In honour of the 1st anniversary, acclaimed two-Michelin-starred Executive Chef Enrico Bartolini will be arriving back in Hong Kong to launch a special celebration menu. Highlighting Bartolini’s signature dishes, the selection pays tribute to the simple and delicious heart of Italian cooking, with dishes including radicchio salad with mullet roe, white truffle and saffron; pumpkin risotto with turmeric; roasted chicken with liver and grape sauce; and a special chestnut and ginger creation for dessert.

For wine connoisseurs, you’ll also want to mark your calendars for 22 November for the ‘Bellissino Italia’ 5-course gala dinner, in collaboration with the Italian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong & Macao and Bellavista wines. Open to the public, the gala dinner starts off with a welcome hors d’oeuvre of soft potatoes with capers, lemon and salmon roe; followed by red prawn carpaccio, beetroot risotto with gorgonzola sauce and roasted black cod with clams in a potato broth. Cap off the night with creamy cheese mousse with strawberries and Sichuan pepper meringue. Each course will be paired carefully with top vintages from the renowned Italian winery.

Spiga, 3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2871 0055

BALLS

When: Now through 8 February, 2018; Open for all-day dining and takeaway from Tuesday to Sunday

Price: À la carte

If you’re a fan of meatballs, you’ll want to mark this one on your calendars. With 99 days left and counting down, BALLS is the latest concept from Pirata Group, an all-star collaboration between the group’s team of talented head chefs, who are each serving up a delicious take on the ubiquitous comfort food. For the quirky pop-up, Pirata is presenting a fun twist on Italian-style meatballs, while The Optimist’s Spanish-inspired version swaps the beef for fresh seafood. Pici’s spicy tagliatelle meatballs (pictured above) are an old-fashioned comfort plate of meat and carbs, in contrast to TokyoLima’s Japanese-Peruvian meatballs. Finally, Pirata Group’s latest debut, MEATS, is serving up a straightforward version of traditional meatballs: thick, plump and juicy. The 100-day pop-up will be gone before you know it, so make sure you pop over to Star Street to get your mouthful of BALLS before it’s too late.

BALLS, G/F, 5 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Giorgio Longo x Test Kitchen Pop-up

When: 15–19 November, 7pm and 8:15pm seatings

Price: HK$980 per person

The next Test Kitchen pop-up is set to transport guests to the sun-drenched islands of Italy as celebrated chef Giorgio Longo steps into the kitchen. With 15 years of experience working in the legendary three-starred Michel Bras in southwest France and Alain Ducasse’s La Bastide de Moustiers, Longo is gearing up to debut his first solo restaurant, ArriKiiati, in Belgium in 2018.

Taking time away from a busy schedule to stage a pop-up in Hong Kong, Longo’s menu will showcase the rustic, produce-driven dishes of Sicily in a relaxed, communal-style format. Dinner starts with pane cunzato or ‘dressed bread’ with tomatoes, olives and anchovies; panelle, or Sicilian chickpea fritters; and stuffed arancini for starters. This is followed by a selection of fresh seafood (including a brilliant charcoal-grilled fish), pizza with fresh burrata and supple handmade pasta. Of course, drinks are an integral part of the Test Kitchen experience, and the menu has been carefully paired with a selection of cocktails and wines starting with tarragon-perfumed gin and ending with a frosty espresso martini.

Test Kitchen, Shop 3, 158A Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 9032 7628 

Chef Kirk Westaway at The Krug Room 

When: 10-course tasting menu available for lunch and dinner at The Krug Room from 27 November–1 December (lunch only on 1 December); Four-hands dinner at Mandarin Grill + Bar on 1 December

Price: 10-course tasting menu starting from HK$2,888 per guest; Four-hands dinner priced at HK$3,088 per person 

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is welcoming Michelin-starred chef Kirk Westaway of award-winning JAAN restaurant in Singapore to The Krug Room for a five-night residency, culminating in a Four Hands Dinner on 1 December with Mandarin Grill + Bar chef Robin Zavou. An ambassador of Krug Champagne, Westaway will showcase his modern European fare in a 10-course tasting menu pairing with the premium bubbles (available for lunch and dinner). Signature dishes include the ‘Heirloom Tomato’ cooked sous vide in a tomato consommé with basil sorbet and diced burrata cheese; scallop mille-feuille with Jerusalem artichoke; and arctic char with langoustine and caviar. Meanwhile, guests will have the chance to choose from four Krug Champagne selections including, Krug Vintage, Krug Rosé, Krug Clos du Mesnil, Krug Collection and different Éditions of Krug Grande Cuvée.

On the final evening, chef Westaway joins chef Zavou — another Krug Ambassador — for an exclusive four-hands dinner at Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill + Bar. Both chefs will present four signature dishes, with the menu again complemented by various Krug Champagnes. Dishes on the menu include turbot with parsley, walnut and maitake; hay-roasted short rib with pickled shimeji; and hassle-back potatoes with puree and truffles. With JAAN currently ranked #42 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, this pop-up is one not to miss.

François Thienpont Wine Dinner at Fang Fang

When: 20 November for François Thienpont dinner; 21 November for Churton Wine Dinner

Price: Both dinners are priced at HK$780 plus 10% surcharge per person

Wine enthusiasts will want to make a booking at Asian fusion spot Fang Fang this month, as the modern Asian fusion spot gears up to host back-to-back wine dinners with two exclusive winemakers. The first dinner on 20 November kicks off with François Thienpont, with beautiful wines from Bordeaux paired with dishes such as fried softshell crab, wild mushroom wrap and Fang Fang’s signature roast duck. The following night, fans of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir will want to snag a seat at the table for the Churton Wine Dinner, with the boutique New Zealand winery presenting the best of its elegant and complex biodynamic wines. To pair, the kitchen will serve up a menu that includes forest honey baked seabass, Wagyu with pepper sauce and homemade ice cream. Both events promise to be an excellent introduction to rare wines as well as a chance to meet like-minded people in the wine business.

Fang Fang, 8/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2983 9083

Chef Giuseppe Biuso at Grissini

When: 9–11 November

Price: HK$1,180 plus 10% surcharge per person

If you still haven’t got your fill of Italian cuisine this month, you can book a reservation at Grissini at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, where one-Michelin-star chef Giuseppe Biuso will join hands with chef de cuisine Alessandro Cozzolino for a three-night gastronomic journey across Sicily. The two chefs met while working under fellow Italian chef Nino di Costanzo over a decade ago, and are reuniting in Hong Kong to share their similar philosophies and passion for Italian food. “We both think that showing respect for ingredients and for diners is fundamental to turning every food idea into reality,” says chef Alessandro.

The decadent menu will showcase premium ingredients in preparations such as crispy bread topped with datterini tomatoes, Nocellara olives, capers and anchovies; homemade tortelli filled with eggplant purée with ricotta cheese and tomato coulis; and Sicilian orange and scampi risotto featuring orange purée and scampi tartare with parsley coulis. Meat lovers can savour the slow-stewed beef encrusted in Bronte pistachios with a Marsala wine reduction, while dinner ends in a bit of theatre with the chocolate ‘volcano’ formed by chocolate mousse, ice cream and different permutations of chocolate.

Grissini, 2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2584 7722

Leslie Yeh
Editor in Chief
Having worked as a lifestyle editor for almost 10 years, Leslie is thrilled to be writing about the topic she loves most: wining and dining. When she's not out pounding the pavement for the latest new restaurant opening or tracking food trends, Leslie can be found at home whipping up a plate of rigatoni vodka and binge-watching Netflix with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.