Another new restaurant has opened up in California Tower and, like the rest, it’s pricy and nothing to rave about. However, despite the lack of razzle-dazzle, Ciao Chow nevertheless serves up some tasty and comprehensive Italian standards in a massive pizza and pasta joint at LKF street level. Now isn’t that exactly what pre and post-partiers need to soak up all that liquor?
This space is a welcoming one, with open entrances that allow onlookers to gaze into the vast, modern dining room, which is decorated with industrial fixtures, marble tables and a well-stocked bar. The high ceilings really open up the restaurant and create an amiable social atmosphere. Again – nothing to rave about, but this spot works well for the LKF crowds.
We start our dinner with a few light appetisers – a timid serving of Tuscan salami ($38) and a delectable fresh kale salad with crumbles ($118). The salami is strong, rich and tasty but, sadly, you only get a pathetic amount of thin slices on your plate, which is disappointing. The kale salad, however, is much better. It’s refreshing, full of fresh leafy bite and features a delicious savoury and tangy dressing. We wish the kale salad at spots like Mana or Nood Food tasted as good as this.
Next up are the carbs. We order the spaghetti vongole ($168). There’s nothing new here, though. The noodles may be cooked to al dente perfection and the sauce may be exquisitely rich, but the clams could be better in both quality and juiciness. And our second carb, the prosciutto pizza with mozzarella and arugula ($198), is equally standard. The cheese, sauce and crust ratio is spot on, however the toppings could be more generous.
We finish off our meal with a tiramisu ($78), which is, surprisingly, the least boring dish. The slice we tuck into has a balance of cream to cake that’s just right.
If you’re not feeling too picky and you’re just looking for a comfortable Italian restaurant in the LKF area to chow down in, Ciao Chow is the place to go. You won’t be wowed, though. You may have a few grumbles, even. But all this standard grub should at least line your stomach well before you head up the street for a night on the tiles.