Nestled on the 8th floor of the Conrad Hotel is one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Nicholini’s. In my view, this Northern Italian fine dining restaurant is one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
This grand, opened-spaced restaurant with floor-to-celing windows overlooking the Admiralty buildings exudes a warm and subdued ambiance. Some might say the classic decor feels a bit dated, but I personally don’t mind it.
Before your meal, you are offered a tray of breads to choose from. My personal favorite is the olive bread, with is soft and savory. The black squid ink bread was a bit of a disappointment though, don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with it, it just looked richer than it tasted.
You are always served a small complimentary appetizer to start off your meal. With this visit, they offered a deep-fried olive with tomato sauce. This was… hmm…how should I put it, interesting (interesting good not interesting bad).
I ordered the Insalta di Rucola to start, which is an arugula (also known as rocket) salad with semi-dried tomatoes, pears, walnuts and a balsamic dressing. I know this salad seems simple, but I absolutely loved the freshness and balance of all the elements. The sweetness of the pear played well with the bitterness of the rocket and brought together with the acidity of the syrupy balsamic vinegar.
Hubby ordered my favorite Nicholini’s starter, the Carpaccio Di Manzo ~ beef carpaccio with arugula and parmigiano reggiano. This is a must try!
After the starters you are offered a complimentary Passion Fruit Sorbet to cleanse your palette.
Now, onto my main dish, Capelli D’Angelo which is an angel hair with lobster, tomato and basil. The acidity of the tomato sauce offset the richness of the lobster in this dish. And from the photo, you can tell how generous they were with the lobster. The only fault was the pasta being a tad overdone for my liking.
All the pasta and risotto dishes have 2 sizes, so you can either order the smaller size as a Primo course (and a meat or seafood dish for the Secondo course) or the full size as a single main course.
One of the reasons we keep coming back to Nicholini’s is because hubby is cray cray for their risotto’s. His favorite is the outrageously creamy Risotto Ai Funghi Porcini, which has porcini mushroom and fontina cheese.
Needless to say, I filled myself up on too much bread and pasta, so I couldn’t possibly fit a dessert into the non-existent second stomach that almost every female has. So we decided to pass on dessert. But, I forgot they served a complimentary dessert ~ Passion Fruit Cream. It was a bit like a thick and creamy mousse that was silky smooth and not overly sweet with a hint of citrus.
Our dinner ended with Petite Fours and Chocolate Truffles (also complimentary).
Admittedly, Nicholini’s is a bit of a splurge. But considering the immaculate service, the quality of the food and the environment I would say you are getting more than what you are paying for. And a gentle reminder to always check for credit discounts at hotel restaurants, Nicholini’s offers a 15% discount with HSBC Platinum and Premier credit cards.
Dinner Cost: $1718
Address: 8/F, Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty / Tel: 2521 3838
Insalta di Rucola ….$220
Carpaccio Di Manzo ….$240
Capelli D’Angelo ….$540 ($415 for the smaller size)
Risotto Ai Funghi Porcini ….$390 ($300 for the smaller size)
Glass of Pinot Griogio ….$105
Fruit Punch ….$95
2 Bottles of San Pellegrino ….$150