Yum yum: Stung by ludicrous drinks prices at Panino Giusto

Yum yum: Stung by ludicrous drinks prices at Panino Giusto

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A Spread of food good for a nice fancy lunch.
Photo: YP cadet Benjamin Oh

Panino Giusto
Shop No. 3077, Podium Level Three, IFC Mall
Tel: 2547 5000

Grub: Milanese

Vibe: Open seating indoors, making it good for casual conversation. And it’s definitely a day place – at night, the lighting is a bit dim. Plus, the food is more “quick fancy lunch” than full-on dinner.

Who to take: Go alone, bring a couple of international-school-kid-rich-friends – but don’t treat your parents, as it’s just not really that good for a family meal (and it’s pricy if they eat lots). It’s also great for that date you’ve been saving up for.

Tartufo panini. A yes.
Photo: YP cadet Benjamin Oh

What’s hot: If you go, stick to what they’re known for – the ham. In particular, look out for their “top product” – the Tartufo (HK$108), which flawlessly combines bread, ham, cheese, and salads, all excellently presented.

The toasted bread is warm and crunchy, yet not overly dry. The 24-month Prosciutto crudo is flavourful, the rocket leaves succulent, the slice of creamy Brie generous, and the slices of tomato keep everything fresh and moist.

There’s also a slight hint of exquisite truffle oil. It’s a real treat for the senses.

Tiramisu. A no.
Photo: YP cadet Benjamin Oh

What’s not: The starter was interesting, but nothing special: Carpaccio Veneziano, bresaola, an air-dried beef, with shavings of 27-month Parmesan cheese. I was quite surprised by the size – I expected a tiny, tiny portion. Then again, for HK$98, anything smaller would be an injustice.

The meat and cheese were all right, but rather ordinary – you could pick up the ingredients yourself at a supermarket. The strips of lemon peel were a nice touch, but didn’t improve the dryness of the dish.

Dessert was a big letdown – this is not a place to indulge your sweet tooth. I tried the homemade tiramisu (HK$78) as it was marked as a “top product”, but it wasn’t great. Still, to quote my dinner companion, it is “sweet, but not phlegm-inducing”.

Cappuccino. Poor value in a tiny cup.
Photo: YP cadet Benjamin Oh

As for drinks: don’t. They don’t provide tap water, and everything is extremely overpriced. It was HK$40 for a tiny coffee and HK$38 for a San Pellegrino. Citysuper is just two floors down.

Cost: Starters, salads and paninis all range from HK$78 to HK$108. Desserts cost a bit less, from HK$58 to HK$78.

Drinks are a ludicrous HK$30 to HK$40. Expect to spend about HK$150 per person if you don’t splurge.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
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