When you can’t go to Italy, then Italy comes to you—with the opening of Gustaci Pizzeria at Central’s PMQ, there is hope that Hongkongers will have another venue to travel via their tastebuds. Taking over the expansive ground floor space at PMQ previously housed by Taiwanese cafe Garden Meow, Gustaci (Italian for “taste”) is finally open after more than half a year of teasing on social media.
The restaurant, helmed by newly arrived Neapolitan chef Angelo D’Ambrosio, is focused on Neapolitan pizza made using dough that has been naturally leavened for at least 24 and up to 36 hours for a distinctly complex flavour that cannot be replicated with commercial yeast. Each pizza is cooked in a Moretti Forni electric oven that can reach temperatures of up to 510°C, essential for the fast-paced cooking (i.e. under a minute) that yields the optimum quality pie with a crisp, airy cornicione that is a hallmark of proper Neapolitan pizzas. While not much has been revealed about the kinds of pizza toppings available, you can be assured that a classic Margherita is safely on the menu.
As for what else is being served? Expect dishes such as pasta Nerano, featuring zucchini and provolone that is heightened with Amalfi lemon zest; Montanarine, or puffed pizza balls with toppings; and sfogliatella, a seashell-shaped Neapolitan pastry filled with ricotta cheese.
Elements of Italian culture permeate the space, from artworks depicting Mount Vesuvius in abstract form, to famous Italian song lyrics (referring to pizza, of course). Several paintings have been created by co-owner Boroka Cimmino herself. The venue is completely transformed, from a its past iteration as a casual bohemian cafe to a chic Italian eatery complete with marble and bronze tables, bright colours, wood furniture and rope drapes. There is a terrace area that is light and bright, and ideal for daytime dining.