The family-favourite pizzeria moves from the beachside into the big city.
Ah, the aromatic waft of a well-seared pie — cheese-topped; leopard-spotted, of course — is a delicious thing. It’s a Sunday morning comfort. A Friday evening movie marathon treat. Pizza is one those thing that one will never tire of, no matter how many times you’re indulging in a four-cheese slice in a single week. Safe to say, our relationship with this versatile pie is more than just a basic necessity to curb cravings; it’s an essential and we adore it. So much so, that despite various crop-up of pizzeria around Central’s SoHo, Amalfitana is setting up shop right in the thick of the action on Wyndham Street.
You may have already spotted the bordered up barriers forcing you off the pavement on Wyndham. Adding on to its already-popular Repulse Bay-post, Amalfitana Central marks the artisan pizzeria’s second post; a move that will hopefully draw in hungry dinner crowds and the busy lunch-hour rush amongst pizza aficionados. If not for Amalfitana true-to-classic, crispy-exterior-chewy-interior pies, then perhaps for the bright, airy interiors, stone-laid exterior by design studio A Work of Substance that look akin to an Amalfi Coast postcard. A temporary cure for all our vacation dreams. After all, the sun-drenched destination is the source of inspiration for the casual pizza bar.
At the heart of it all is executive chef Michel Degli Agosti, who, beyond extensive training and experience in Italy, Australia and London, has earned title as Maestro Pizzaiolo. Master Pizza Chef. An optimistic recognition considering Amalfitana Central current plans to be only pizza orientated. A background in graphic design has also benefitted chef Michel’s in the creation of exciting novelty recipes. Nevertheless, Amalfitana Central’s staunch commitment to authentic pies remains unchanged with premium jet-fresh ingredients that are all fired up in the Italian-imported Ceky brick oven. What’s new is the elevated bar snack menu and exceptional cocktails. A quick spot for a speedy slice not just so, Amalfitana Central is set to become the next-new spot to be on eventful Friday evenings with scheduled sets to run regularly from resident DJ Noel. Good food, good tunes and surely a guaranteed good time.
We asked and chef Michel answered. Here’s more on what you wanted to know about the new Amalfitana Central:
What can we expect at the new Amalfitana in Central?
Amalfitana Central will be quite different from our Repulse Bay location which is catered more to families and relaxed daytime beachside dining. The plan for Amalfitana Central is to be a warm and inviting restaurant during the day suitable for all customers, and in the evening our resident DJ will start his set (once restrictions are lifted), amping up the atmosphere and turning Amalfitana Central into a vibrant destination for the Soho excitement seekers.
What’s changed and what’s stayed the same?
In terms of the food we have made few changes. From our new bar snack menu we will serve oysters and calamari that will make us feel closer to the seaside. It will also feature three different flavours of Bocconcini (small mozzarella cheese balls): garlic, pesto and truffle. It’s perfect for those who want to have something small while the sipping them favourite drink. We have introduced some new salads, like the Asparagus Salad which is really healthy and so refreshing with green asparagus, white asparagus, fennel pine nuts and mint. The Raw Baby Artichokes Salad with walnuts and shaved parmesan. Another refreshing and summery option is the Melon Salad, with baby kale, buffalo cheese and Parma ham.
Our brick oven pizzas, the mainstay, will remain the same. It’s made using a technique that allows for a longer rising of the dough to ensure that the pizzas are light and easy to digest. We also only use the finest ingredients straight from Italy.
There’s been a rise of pizzerias in recent years, how will Amalfitana stand out?
Definitely there is been an increase of pizzerias in Hong Kong, with many different styles and different techniques used. We believe that the secret is in the quality and freshness of the ingredients, along with the technique that we use for our dough. We focus only on pizzas, we don’t have a pasta section, so this allows us to have more space [in the kitchen] to keep our dough for longer rising times: 24 to 36 hours. We are specialists of the traditional Italian pizza.
What are some of your favourite dishes on the menu?
Along with most of the pizzas, I love the Tricolore: avocado, tomatoes and buffalo cheese. Also our burrata, 330 grams, is an amazing creamy product that brings me back to Italy every time I eat it.
What is your your favourite pizza topping? Pineapple topping or no?
When it comes to pizzas, my favourite topping, if I have to choose, is Gorgonzola cheese, when it melts in the oven it give the pizza a very unique flavour. As for pineapple on pizza…sorry, next question! A hard ‘No’.
Amalfitana Central soft opens at the end of this month.