Il Bel Paese has long been a place where I have picked up some olives, bread and the occasional Gruyere cheese for a fondue party. With quality and authentic produce, it has been the go to place for Italian ingredients.
Since 2016, the Italian based Group Casa Rinaldi has taken over this chain of grocery stores and redesigned the dine in menu and since it is Restaurant week, this Foodbaby couldn’t wait to try!
Il Bel Paese has locations in Mid-Levels, Sheung Wan, Wan chai and more, each with a similar layout with the usual grocery area plus the laid back and rustic dining area with wine barrels dotted around and dark wooden furniture.
This week’s set lunch menu was reasonable at 118 HKD+ 10% per person, which includes a starter, main, dessert and drink, probably why the place was completely packed for Friday lunch!
Starters were simple salads- mozzarella & tomato and beetroot & goats cheese. The mozzarella got a thumbs up from my colleagues, although I noticed it was lacking basil, a bit more would have really completed the dish. My beetroot and goats cheese salad was pleasant but not spectacular, with goats cheese I’d recommend some walnuts that would complement each other well.
Our mains came fairly swiftly after our starters. My colleague remarked that her clam linguine was tasty but she could feel some sand in the clams as they hadn’t been cleaned thoroughly. Shame!
Our waiter corrected the menu by letting us know the ricotta tortellini was now with pumpkin instead of spinach. My colleague noted that the ragu sauce saved it from being too sweet as her first mouthful was that but she was overall, very satisfied with the dish.
The chicken with roasted vegetables was my main and I was thankful the portion was just right. I was disappointed there were no carbs such as roasted potatoes on the plate and the peppers I did get were not roasted properly. The chicken itself was well seasoned and juicy, albeit a bit too oily for my taste.
You can never go wrong with an il Bel Paese tiramisu and this time it lived up to its expectation. Perfectly soaked in amaretto, the cake was beautifully moist with just enough mascarpone on top. Delicious!
Verdict: Il bel Paese certainly offered a satisfying work lunch, although still not at gourmet level. The service was pretty standard being slightly rushed for lunch service which is to be expected. Overall, we were pleased with this meal but not blown away.
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