Second Helpings: Linguini Fini

What: Bigger and better premises for the nose-to-tail concept Italian restaurant
Where: 49 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (+852) 2387 6838. Web:
Why: For homemade Italian dishes with a modern, American twist
Linguini Fini first opened its doors in 2012. However, this new reincarnation of the eatery only opened at the beginning of this year in a larger venue on an ever-popular street. The restaurant gave off an unpretentious and welcoming vibe with a modern, urban-chic, industrial design, including exposed piping, concrete pillars and light fixtures hanging from chains. Homemade pasta, which is freshly made for every lunch and dinner sitting, can also be seen hanging out to dry above preparation stations in the open kitchen. Set in the energetic SoHo district, it is an extremely popular destination with the local crowd, so it is essential to book ahead on the weekends.
This is a restaurant with a strong ethical heartbeat pulsing through its everyday operations, which not only subscribes to the nose-to-tail philosophy, but also to minimising all wastage and food packaging by not receiving plastics from suppliers and practices on-site food composting for fresh food waste. They also concentrate on sourcing vegetables and meats locally, mainly from the New Territories.
We pulled up a stool at a communal dining table and tucked into fried calamari (HK$88), which were tender to the bite and served with marinara sauce laced with courgette, chilli and spicy ‘nduja, a spreadable pork sausage. We also indulged in caprese with homemade mozzarella (HK$108), and enjoyed the fantastically fresh cheese with a drizzle of 30-yearold balsamico.
We tried a selection of fresh pasta including uni macheroni carbonara (HK$188). The dish became even creamier when the sea urchin was mixed into the egg yolk, homemade lardo and macheroni, which puts an adventurous twist on the traditional, and somewhat bland, American staple. We also tried the Italian xiao long bao agnolotti (HK$168) - a play on the meeting of the two cultures at the restaurant, however, this Asian influence would not have been obvious to us if it wasn’t for the name of the tasty agnolotti. Our favourite pasta dish was the radiatore alla vodka (HK$148). The radiator-resembling pasta was coated in a creamy tomato sauce with ‘nduja, basil and lumps of fresh, melted mozzarella.
Moving onto the meat course, we tried the homemade spicy sausage (HK$108). The 80 per cent meat and 20 per cent filling was combined with peppers, onions, chilli and oregano mustard, giving it a unique, luxurious taste. The dry rubbed hanger steak (H$K168) had a wonderfully rich red colouring, hinting at the quality of the meat and preparation time. It was served alongside a caramelised onion aioli and was finished almost as quickly as it was put down on our family-sharing table. 
The Bronx 18-inch New York pie (HK$308) is for those brave enough to continue after all the previous dishes. This New York-style pizza is topped with fresh mozzarella, porchetta, pepperoni and meatballs.
To finish things off, we sampled the chocolate banana cake (HK$78), which was moist and chocolate-rich, as well as the apple pie with caramel sauce (HK$78), a quintessential American dessert.
Linguini Fini will be opening a new branch in Pudong, Shanghai later this year, so we will be sure to fill you in when it arrives. For now, make the most of your visits to Hong Kong.