Date of review: January 14, 2013 | Reviewed by:
This popular Italian restaurant on Wyndham Street is split into two levels, with a bar downstairs that is often heaving with Euro-types, regardless of what day of the week it is. Upstairs is a small terrace, which is lovely for eating al fresco in the winter, as well as the dining room, which is probably best described as inoffensive. Done in shades of orange and cream, there is certainly nothing wrong with it but it does look a bit 2001. The ambience, however, is great: the booths by the windows are spacious and comfortable, and the Italian music is piped low, so as to not get in the way of the animated conversations resounding around the restaurant.
Goccia serves a menu of modern Italian dishes, as well as a consistently fantastic pizza menu. To start, the signature dish of clams sautéed in white wine and parsley are excellent. Served in a rustic Le Creuset pot, the clams are juicy, though a tad over-cooked. The sauce, however, is the star. While many variations of this dish are served in a buttery sauce, the version at Goccia is extremely light, enabling diners to mop up the sauce with bread while still saving plenty of room for main courses. From the pasta menu, the linguini with mussels and sea urchin emulsion contains some very juicy and fresh shellfish, and the texture of the pasta is al dente and evenly coated with the sauce. However, we have to say that any hint of sea urchin was covered by the strong aroma of thyme. From the pizza menu, the margherita is a favourite. The mozzarella and deeply flavourful tomato sauce blend seamlessly and the taste of torn basil is bright. The crust is also masterful, thin yet chewy. For a more meaty option, the San Daniele with rocket and generous slices of Parma ham is also a real winner. For dessert, we enjoyed the slightly deconstructed tiramisu, although the biscotti could be a little bit softer and more espresso-soaked.
The wine list at Goccia is naturally mostly Italian, and spans the whole country from the most famous labels to some very small producers. Each wine is clearly labelled by country, region, wine name, producer, grape variety and vintage in an easy-to-navigate manner, making it a great read for wine lovers and newcomers alike. The wine by the glass menu is probably one of the most extensive in town, and if you still can’t find something you like there, don’t hesitate to ask the staff, who may have one or two more hidden up their sleeve.
While well-intentioned, the service is not flawless. Our rather lengthy order was not written down, resulting in a pizza margherita rather than San Daniele. The wait between courses can also seem slightly long if you’re in a hurry. But overall, Goccia has the feel of a great neighbourhood hangout, where the staff make a real effort in remembering your name and your preferences.
A three-course meal for two with wine comes to about HK$1,400, which is extremely reasonable given the portion sizes and the central location.