If you're into Italian food, then surely you've heard of Pici. To kick off 2020, the team behind Pici is launching a new eatery, Pizza Project. The trendy venue, again, features a tightly-edited one-page menu focusing on handmade pizzas and generous toppings, completed with freshly prepared starters and, of course, decadent desserts to curate an authentic pizza experience. Headed by Italian Chefs Andrea Viglione and Davide Borin, Pizza Project aims to share with us truly unforgettable pizzas that are also affordable, so that "everyone can enjoy pizza the same way we did at home."
Apart from purveying delicious pasta-focused fare, Pici has gained a loyal following in Hong Kong by offering a straightforward dining experience that is free of pretension and relatable to many city dwellers. The group behind this pasta paradise is now setting their sights on Hong Kong’s growing pizza market with the opening of their latest venture on Peel Street. True to form, this new joint is a hit, with a casual atmosphere to complement some classy creations!
In the interest of providing diners with a straightforward experience, the food menu is kept to a very digestible single page; split between starters and small bites, pizzas, and desserts. While everything is available a la carte, the Tasting Menu option offers parties in multiples of two a good deal for a full stomach, with each couple receiving one starter, one Gnocco Fritto, two pizzas and a dessert for $180 per person.
The starters include a varied range of bites from Mozzarella Frittas ($95), to the Salumi Selection ($110) of meats and cheeses. But for those who are feeling green, there's the Ruchetta Salad ($80) – rocket, baby spinach, endives, gorgonzola and walnuts – is a great lead-in ahead of the onslaught of cheesy goodness. This dish is light and well balanced with the peppery freshness of the rocket punctuated by the pungency of the cheese.
Among the Gnocco Frittos – traditional crispy bread puffs adorned with various toppings – the Coppa Ham ($85) boasts a sweet and savoury base piled with a generous amount of capicola. Crispy and light, it makes for a scrumptious segue into carb city without taking too much valuable stomach real estate ahead of the main course.
The decent-value pizzas, of which there are nine on the menu covering all the favourites from Parma ($140) to Pesto ($110), are all handcrafted in view of diners, within a sleek, open kitchen manned by a team of assiduous pizza chefs. If you're in the mood for something a little spicy, then the ‘Nduja ($100) is the one for you. This offering boasts spicy salami atop smoked scamorza (an Italian cow's milk cheese) and fior di latte (an Australian mozzarella), making for a brilliantly balanced creation where the kick of the mouth-watering meat is tempered well in stringy bites of deliciousness.
The Rustica ($95) is loaded with pancetta atop thin slices of baked potato and sprinkles of rosemary throughout the layers of tomino (Italian cheese from Piemonte, made with pasteurised cow's milk) and fior di latte. As beautiful a creation as this may be, some might find the pancetta slightly too salty and with a tendency to overpower the nuanced flavours below it. Having said this, the base, as with all the pizzas on the menu, is on point; light, fluffy and with a nice outer crisp.
All in all, The Pizza Project makes for an attractive rendezvous spot, whether as the scene of a romantic meal, or for a group gathering in convivial surrounds. While space is sometimes an issue – with some of the counter space quite frankly too small to accommodate anything other than one of the generously sized pizzas – the soft lighting and intimate setting make the already delectable doughy creations taste that much better.