Everyone deserves a bit of comfort food every once in a while. All-American dining is high up on many lists, whether it be feast-worthy burgers or deep-fried dishes. But sometimes, it’s pizza and pasta, as inspired by traditional Italian recipes. New York-style nibbles have expanded internationally, and Hong Kong is no exception. At Fini’s, the menu is dedicated to the Big Apple-meets-Italian fare, to bring the best of both worlds in a rustic, chic setting. Cha Siu Papers Times’ contributor Aakriti Batra visited the Wan Chai restaurant to try some of the classics.
Serving Italian-inspired dishes with an American flair, Fini’s is located on Stone Nullah Lane, previously home to the iconic Stone Nullah Tavern. The softly lit back bar area is the first introduction to the restaurant and, much like its predecessor, it was full even on a Thursday evening. Upon closer examination of one of the colourful walls, I noticed that it was plastered with old business cards harking back to Wan Chai’s somewhat sordid past. An unambiguous nod to the “American” in the restaurant’s “Italian American” tagline, the décor, including the very American red and white checkered tablecloth, set the tone for the larger-than-life, massive portions we were about to eat.
The first dish we tried was one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the pappardelle nose to tail bolognaise. The pasta itself was hearty and perfectly al dente. The sauce consisted of a decadent and deeply developed bolognaise containing pork cheek, veal loin and oxtail ragu. The combination of the different types of meats was satisfying, without being overly rich.
For the main event, we tried the “The Bronx” pizza. A meat lover’s dream, the sausage, pepperoni and meatballs on the pizza were all but devoured in a New York minute. Great for sharing, the pizzas at Fini’s are so large that they are elevated so that they, quite literally, overshadow the rest of the dishes.
We started with a round of cocktails—the Moscow Mule and the Very Berry Mojito. The Moscow Mule came in a chilled Tito’s Vodka goblet and was served with mint leaves to garnish. The Very Berry Mojito, however, did not have a very berry flavour and tasted quite watered down.
Our second round of drinks did not fail to disappoint. The Honey Bee is a citrusy alternative to a standard gin & tonic but the real star of the show was the SRT Margarita. A hefty kick of chilli coupled with the semi-sweet tequila, the cocktail was a refreshing palate cleanser that prepared well for the main dishes.
A no-frills, what you see is what you get establishment, Fini’s Wan Chai embodies an authentic meeting of Italian and American vibrancy and warmth. Fini’s epitomises quintessential New York-Italian comfort food, which is rarely done successfully in Hong Kong. The menu and the ambiance are a real celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture, and make for the perfect recipe for a laid-back date night or a casual catch up with friends.
Fini’s Wan Chai, 69 Stone Nullah Ln, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3182 0128, facebook.com/finis.hongkong