Not so long ago, decent pizza parlours in Hong Kong were an utter rarity. Now, it’s become one of the hottest trends around, with a pizza joint opening seemingly every month. The latest to join the pie party is Al Forno, a shiny, white and slightly antiseptic spot perched at the top of Aberdeen Street. It looks pretty much like your regular fast food spot and doesn’t inspire high expectations and hopes.
So the caprese ($88) comes as a surprise. The mozzarella’s quality is immediately evident in its creamy, granular texture, and it arrives generously sliced on a bed of fresh, edible arugula, interspersed with well-ripened slabs of tomato. The long stack is drizzled with a dense, sweet, black balsamic. It isn’t paradigm-shattering, but it is tart, creamy and fresh.
Al Forno’s menu is divided between Appetisers, Classic Pizzas, New World Pizzas and Pastas. Margherita, pepperoni and the other usual suspects populate the classics list. The New World Pizza section reads like a breezy jaunt around the globe, hopping from Beijing to Mexico and Texas to Thailand, each with its own loaded and cursory pizza adaptation.
We stick with the classics. Each pizza comes in personal and big sizes. At seven inches, the personal size of our Prosciutto and Arugula pizza is just right for one ($65). The pizza is light and loose – ‘leggera’ as the Italians say. The thin crust is a blissful relief from Hong Kong’s usual doughy disasters, and it comes basted with a sweet tomato sauce. The prosciutto is pleasantly dry and thin, as it should be, draped over raw arugula and prodigiously dusted with the shavings of mild and fragrant Parmesan.
Al Forno provides an affordable, edible take on the neighbourhood pizza parlour that balances out the two extremes. We’ll be heading back soon (or ordering in) to embark on an intrepid journey around their New World of pizzas. Madeline Gressel
Al Forno 41-49 Aberdeen St, Central, 2898 3833; alfornohk.com. Dinner for two: $200.
|Venue name:||Al Forno|