Does “Amaroni” only remind you of Amarone?

So it was another dinner for dad on the night of his birthday :). Mom made the choice and it was at Amaroni’s Little Italy at Kowloon Tong. So Amarone is a red wine varietal and is something different, don’t mix them up.

The Italian-American restaurant launched alongside Festival Walk in 1998, no wonder as I think back, I realized I’ve been seeing it even before entering high school (ah, I’m almost revealing my age)! But the strangest thing is I seemed to have never dined there until that evening! 😯

The atmosphere was great — lamps that come in many different designs gave out warm glow; crowded tables sat with happy people, and attentive staff who worked really quite quickly, with taller ones carrying HUGE platters in and out of the kitchen seemingly effortlessly.

Bread Basket; Amaroni's Little Italy

Dinner started off with a basket of Fresh-baked Bread, where the one with moist and airy interior (maybe ciabatta?) was my favourite.

Soft Shell Crab with Lemon-thyme Aioli; Amaroni's Little Italy

Soft Shell Crabs with Lemon-thyme Aioli was appetizing. I love it, I really love it!! Warm and crispy, especially savoury when dipped into the sauce that was well-balanced between garlic and herbs 😛

Mussels Bagna Canda Style; Amaroni's Little Italy

Mussels Bagna Cauda Style is one of the most famous dishes, simply mussels in white wine sauce. Large shells with fat smooth flesh, thick sauce that smelled extra good with heat, and also the garlic bread are great things about it, but the one or two mussels that tasted cold and stale had undoubtedly dragged down its scores.

At that time Lemonade was ready, chilled and refreshing to stimulate our senses. Many other tables ordered wine, but since dad had to drive we ordered this instead 🙂

Spaghetti Carbonara; Amaroni's Little Italy

Spaghetti Carbonara came afterwards. Thick creamy sauce, even better after added in shredded cheese (YES, it’s not cheese powder!) I believe it’s not made with traditional recipe but it’s fine as at the end we knew it’s fusion, and it’s tasty anyway.

Rosemary Roast Chicken; Amaroni's Little Italy

By that time I was pretty stuffed already but we still had Rosemary Roast Chicken — one of the specialties of Amaroni’s. Meat was tender and juicy but it’s just lacking the scent that it should had… funny was since we couldn’t finish the dish we brought them home and lightly pan-fried to warm the them up on the next night, where the scent of herbs were finally waken up to nicely complement the chicken… Does anyone have an idea of what happened?

Bread Pudding; Amaroni's Little Italy

These were what we ordered, and since the staff knew it’s my dad’s birthday they gave us Bread Pudding. It looked yummy but I knew instantly that I was not able to eat it as its colour told me how it’s so FULL of cinnamon, ingredient that sits atop of my list of Most Awful Food 😡 no offence — and trying hard to be a professional food blogger I still had a scoop, you can imagine how my face transformed…

I was surprised though. Bread pudding elsewhere never have such heavy amount of cinnamon and they had dried raisins (which I find almost equally awful). So this really differed from usual ones. In fact I’d made this dessert once, excluding cinnamon and raisins 😎 and still tasting amazing.

Of course we had also prepared something else. Since we knew beforehand that this was going to be a meal with big portions, instead of traditional cakes we ordered a Fruit Bouquet from Edible Arrangements! Super beautiful, elegant yet playful that it had drawn so much attention and soft voices of “wow” from the sides though we’d decided to keep things low-profile and requested skipping the singing and clapping part — an iconic moment in Amaroni’s to let guests feel like home.

It’s called the Cheer Me Up Bouquet. All others look fantastic, just browse and see here: http://www.ediblearrangements.hk/ 😈
In short, the place offers a friendly atmosphere that feels authentically Italian-American but having tables too close to each other can cause discomfort — physically and mentally when it gets packed and too noisy. Food come in satisfying quantities yet average quality, meaning it’s better to visit with a bunch of friends for casual dining so everyone can taste a bit of everything.

I have a feeling of revisiting and kind of “giving it one more chance” since it might be coincidence that I hate cinnamon and therefore the Bread Pudding. I guess I should try its enormous pizza and signature Tiramisu next time.

Amaroni’s Little Italy
Shop 32, LG1, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong
Tel: +852 2265 8818

Cheers,
Judith

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