Situated on the 29th and 30th floors with skyline views of Wanchai and Happy Valley, Pirata invokes familiar sensations – like you’ve stepped into the dining room of an Italian Nonna while she sips on her martini and prods you to eat more. The ambiance is rustic, yet it has a contemporary décor; the warm and inviting space with repurposed vintage chandeliers and large timber tables create a familial, homely dining experience.
Pirata’s philosophy is to prepare ingredients with respect, honoring and celebrating authentic Italian flavors. There is nothing pretentious about the food here; the menu serves authenticity and preserves traditional Italian matriarchal cooking.
Starting off with the Antipasti buffet for lunch: A spread of fine cold cuts, wafer-thin beef Carpaccio, chunky frittata and salad greens to mix and match. This left us feeling spoilt for choice, which is never a bad thing when it comes to food. It’s called a buffet for a reason; you can be greedy and go for seconds, thirds, or even spend your entire afternoon at the buffet bar. I suggest you save some room for the mains though; and definitely a little for dessert.
We sampled the cheesy and generously layered ham Frittata, while nibbling on fresh olives and cheese. Then came the Bruschetta. While every Italian restaurant does this, very few do it in a way that can be considered classical. The bread was slightly toasted and had a great crunch, while still remaining soft on the inside. This was topped off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and zesty tomatoes that twined through my fingers as I stuffed my face with my third piece.
For our mains, we started with the Eggplant Parmigiana, which arrived looking golden and caramelized, blistering with juices from the tomato sauce and oozing with creamy Buffalo mozzarella and salty Parmesan. The eggplant might be the hero but the sauce definitely brings its own role to the picture with its Tuscan flavours. The Penne al Pomoro, a deconstructed version of the eggplant parmigiana, was lighter yet being a satisfying serving.
Coming to the meaty part of the dinner, the Rabbit Ragu Parpadelle and the Sicilian Red prawns Tagliatelle were both my favorites. The Tagliatelle was served at the table with a balmy aroma, recreating the experience of eating at a local Sicilian trattoria surrounded by a fragrant and fresh atmosphere. The sweetness of the red prawn was finely balanced with a light, tangy addition of cherry tomatoes and zucchini, that I would have preferred eating with a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
The Rabbit Ragu though, was perfect. I had pillowy Pappardelle glistening with a sweet, herbaceous, buttery Ragu twirled around my fork, with nibbles of lean meat tucked inside. Plus, the hazelnuts added a heavenly creaminess and texture delicious! As Federico Fellini put it, “Life is a combination of Magic and Pasta”. I couldn’t agree more as the pasta at Pirata was magical – perfectly cooked, velvety slurps of loving care.
Next was dessert. We chose the Chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier Candied Orange, and the Panna Cotta. The Panna Cotta with the homemade raspberry coulis was creamy, yet refreshingly tart. The chocolate mousse was particularly memorable; and despite our moaning about being really full, we ended up wiping it clean. This was a sophisticated take on the festive essential chocolate orange ball – delightfully moreish!
A lunch buffet at Pirata ranges between $168 and $248, depending on the mains that you choose. With the generous portions perfect for sharing among large groups and attentive service, it makes for a dining experience especially suited for large groups or intimate team lunches.
Pirata | 29/30F, 239 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai | Tel: 2887 0270