Oftentimes, I want to spend some pennies to treat myself with fancy food in a fancy restaurant as a reward for my hard work. I can spend more on food than anything else. There are a plethora of restaurants here, Asian and Westerns, with cuisines that are worth spending money on. However, some aren't and disappointing. So trying new restaurants are like trial and error cases to know which one is worth visiting again, and which one should be crossed out from the list.
I visited a tourist spot one weekend which I discovered while finding the world's longest escalator somewhere in Mid-Level Central Hong Kong. The first thing that caught my attention was the architecture of the place and the plethora of restaurants around, some are al fresco.
It was already noon and my stomach growled, so I opted to dine in one of those. I was hesitant at first because most of the customers in all restaurants were Chinese and Westerns, and only one or two were Filipinos. Since I was alone and have no company to dine with, I opted to stay on an open terrace of an Italian restaurant.
Given that it is located in Mid-Level Central inside a popular tourist destination, I was aware of the pricey food and other stuff. I thought it would be worth stashing some cash from my pocket since Italian restaurants are some of the best here. I know one where I could eat several Italian foods by spending only a hundred dollars. So my expectations of this certain restaurant were high since their food is pricey.
I dined in Pazta restaurant which is well-known for serving authentic delightful Italian cuisine, and also some cocktails, wine, and coffee. It's not just their pasta recipes that are popular here, but also their Italian delicacies and snacks.
Architecture-wise, it was great, especially the interior and its open terrace which gives a Mediterranean vibe. A lot of bottled Italian wines were displayed in different corners of the restaurant. The open terrace has a better ambiance overlooking other restaurants and tourists coming in and out of the place.
There were more tables inside which were fully occupied during the day I visited the place. The more customers a restaurant has, the higher expectations I put into it. And the fact that prices of their food, based on their menus are expensive, then they should really meet any customer's expectations.
I almost changed my mind when I opened the menu book and saw the minimum prices of their pasta and other food. I was totally dumbfounded as to why the prices are high, and the lowest price for pasta was $120. Don't freak out, it's not the US dollar though, it's the HK dollar. Yet, it is still an expensive price for just pasta here.
I was like, "What kind of pasta is this? Did they include the shipping fee for pasta from Italy to Hong Kong?" I didn't know how to react, laugh, or be disappointed. Then I chose to stay as I was curious about why it was expensive. I want to taste it for the sake of curiosity. Meanwhile, in my favorite Italian restaurant, I can eat Italian pasta for less than HK$30 and the taste is so good.
After placing my orders, I was served a glass of water and waited for more or less 15 minutes for my orders to arrive. My order consists of spaghetti con pomodoro with bacon vegan and pecorino cheese because it sounds like a vegan recipe, paired with lemon iced tea. It sounds fancy, but it is just spaghetti in tomato sauce, lol.
How much were the prices of pasta and tea?
- Spaghetti - HK$130
- Lemon iced tea - HK$50
A total of HK$180 or almost US$23.
You can check their menu, here.
The tea was served first and tasted just as ordinary tea I am drinking outside, yet it cost half a hundred dollars. And its price was good enough to buy a complete and delightful meal set outside.
After more minutes of waiting, my spaghetti was served. Look at it, does it look like it tastes good?
I was expecting to see bigger bits of bacon and more sauce and cheese on top since it's spaghetti. I was also imagining a Filipino spaghetti loaded with sauce and flavors. But what I saw was a bowl with pale and dry-looking spaghetti, with no bacon, but ground meat, and a few shreds of cheese on top.
The first thing I said in my mind was, "Are you kidding me? Is this $120 worth of spaghetti?" I was asking myself if I ordered the right one, or if they served the wrong one. As I tasted it, I became regretful and wished I didn't see the restaurant. I was slowly masticating each pasta with a lot of questions in my mind. Why is it expensive, why is the taste not Italian, why is it so dry? And whatsoever...
Then as I turned my head to the other table, I saw the staff serving delicious-looking snacks. I should have just ordered one instead of pasta, I thought. The owner was cordially entertaining the customers and he spotted me not looking satisfied with my food. He asked me if I was fine and if the food was good. I was hesitant to answer, "should I tell the truth?" My mind was hesitating as it might insult him. Besides, I don't want to waste the food so I just say, "yes, I am fine" with a dissatisfied-looking face and a lame smile. I didn't want to be too harsh on him. I rather crossed out the name of the restaurant from my list.
I wasn't sure if other foods taste bad as well, or if I just ordered the wrong one. It is quite popular with a lot of visitors, yet, here I am, giving a bad review about its food.
Now comparing my hundred dollars worth of food in another Italian restaurant in our city, I can have these foods for more or less a hundred dollars only. I had this in Saizeria restaurant which is one of the popular too, serving pizza, pasta, salads, and other Italian foods.
Now, you may ask, why is the set of spaghetti and tea so expensive?
In case you don't know, HK$180 is already enough to buy 4 or more kinds of meal sets in other restaurants in other cities. The main reason I can give why the food in that restaurant is expensive is the location. It is located in Mid-Level Central which is a popular place for food haunting. There are a lot of different high-class restaurants around the place, and the fact that it is located in Central, which is the capital city of Hong Kong, the rent must be the real culprit, the real killer.
Moreover, Hong Kong doesn't really have that many farms and food factories, so most of the products here are imported. The higher the demand, the higher the price. That's a simple and explanatory reason.
So the next time I go food haunting, I rather check their food reviews and prices online first before I dine in. An expensive price must have delightful food, not something you'll regret eating. Anyway, that was charged to experience.
I just enjoyed roaming around the place after to get rid of my disappointments. One of these days, I'll post about this tourist attraction where the restaurant was located.