Bored of eating at the same old pizza / burger places? Yep, us too, so we (me, Hubs, Little Madam, 8 and Young Sir, 17mo) were keen to sample the bespoke pizza dining experience that Grano Italiano has to offer.
Conveniently located in iSquare, TST (just above the MTR) – Grano Italiano is tucked away in a quiet corner of the otherwise busy iSquare shopping mall. Small but clean, bright and airy, with open views, this is a modern take on an authentic Italian pizza parlour, with a tailor made twist.
Although placed in a slightly anonymous location, the jewel in Grano’s crown is its commitment to delivering an authentic, tailor made experience for all the family. The group prides itself on producing some of the most authentic pizzas Hong Kong – which they say is thanks to their commitment to importing the highest quality flour, mozzarella, tomatoes (and everything else) on the market to produce the highest quality and most delicious Italian pizza. As a family that generally orders takeaway pizza (which is always overpriced and a letdown in terms of quality) we liked the idea of a family-friendly pizzeria that prioritises quality, and caters to multiple palates (and fussy tiny biters).
We arrived to be greeted by a friendly and professional team, and then shown to our diner style table to peruse the menu. I have an extreme obsession with Parma ham, anchovies, artichokes, cheese (I could go on) so obviously, these were top of my wish list, but fortunately, there was no need to choose between all my favourites, with a massive choice from the classic or premium toppings list. My combination was slightly insane, which the team (very politely) pointed out would not be a great mix – I think I got too excited at the prospect of all these tasty treats on one plate – calm down, Sarah!
So really this joint is all about the pizza, but there are also all the usual suspects: lasagne, salads, soups and sides. For the children, the choice was slightly more limited; however the chicken nuggets and chips we ordered were fresh, hot and actually very yummy indeed. Us grown-ups may have helped polish off one or two nugget, which is testament to their quality (I’m not a nugget kind of girl).
For dessert, again, it’s all about the pizza – a chocolate one! Grano has managed to combine my two weaknesses, bread and chocolate into their focaccia pizza with Nutella, topped with rosemary and salt flakes. Now that’s what I call grown up chocolate spread on toast! Italian gelato of course also makes an appearance, as do a chocolate tart, tiramisu and daily specials. Grano also provides all-day dining sets from $129 for a combination of all their yummy treats.
So did it live up to the claim?
- The pizza base: The base was in fact probably the best I’ve ever tasted: light, crispy and not too starchy or chewy.
- The toppings: The tailor made approach to toppings meant that we could choose exactly our favourite things and avoid the rest – extra anchovies for Mama please! (The kids said YUK.)
- The freshness of the ingredients: The kids’ chicken nuggets and fries, Parma ham, anchovies, tomato sauce, mozzarella and everything else was incredibly fresh, well presented, hot and genuinely “homemade” yummy.
- Portion size and presentation: Not too big, not too small (Goldilocks would be impressed), not dripping in oily cheese, no strange arrangement of toppings into the shape of a Christmas tree / giraffe / ornamental design – just well presented, fresh, light, and reasonably healthy (as far as pizza washed down with wine will ever be).
- Variety: Extra points for the choice to go bespoke (choose 8 topping from delights including: truffle cream sauce, pecorino, pancetta, artichokes, capers on salt, grilled peppers and lots more – 34 in total). For those that need some inspiration, there is plenty of choice from the a la carte menu too.
- Drinks (For Mamas and Papas!): Wine and beer, as well as a variety of soft drinks available.
- Identity: It’s not quite sure what it is: too nice to be a basic fast food joint, yet too casual to be much more than a quick bite while shopping. The self-service approach is also not very clear, so we sat there hungry for a while wondering what to do.
- Kids’ distractions: Happy (distracted/occupied) kids, Happy Mama. That’s my philosophy anyway so it was a shame that the crayons and colouring didn’t come until the end of the meal. Still, we had fun doing laps of the restaurant with Young Sir (17mo).
- Limited but lovely: just pizzas, chicken nuggets, fries and lasagne.
- Yes, but unfortunately not the kind with the restraints that will actually keep a willfully rebellious child strapped in (hence the numerous laps of the restaurant with Young Sir).
- Yes, there are lifts and escalators and the restaurant is easily accessible.
- Valentine’s specials – including “cheesy” (see what they did there?) heart shaped pizzas for a touch of romance. Sweet!
- Pizza parties for little pizza masters: Suitable for budding chefs aged 3-15, the pizza party at a very reasonable $198 a head includes a lesson in making a personalised pizza, free flow soft drinks, and the chance to learn more about the heritage of pizza from Grano Italiano’s Pizza Masters. Special arrangements can also include a clown, face painting and freshly baked cakes for special occasions.
- Prices are very reasonable starting at $38 for starters, $118 for tailor made pizzas and $25 for dessert.
Valentine’s Day at Grano Italiano features “cheesy” heart-shaped pizzas and a special menu for two, available at both locations as well as home delivery. For $278 per person, enjoy Meatball alla Romana followed by Lobster Bisque, and a 13-inch Italian Red Passion Pizza. Finish off with the sweet Opera Cakes, imported from Paris! The feast includes unlimited soft drinks, tea and coffee.
Grano Italiano, Store 705, 7F iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2325 1920, www.granoitalianopizza.com