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Giovanni Pina

Giovanni Pina is a prestigious bakery in Bergamo in Italy’s Lombardy Region. The iconic centuryold establishment has decided to expand outside of Italy to Hong Kong, with the goal of offering unmatched Italian coffee and pastries to a city that has long welcomed quality Italian cuisines of all kinds.

The famous bakery brand is now run by Giovanni Pina, a third-generation descendant who bears the brand’s name and is widely recognised as a master baker in his own right. Pina, with over four decades of baking experience, has won numerous culinary awards over the years. For his first venture outside of Italy, Giovanni Pina has decided to personally oversee the operations of the two outlets that were recently opened here.

To ensure the food maintains the business’s stratospheric standards, Pina uses an original Italian yeast that has been used for over 100 years. The natural yeast is grown and fermented without any chemical additives or artificial preservatives; it is then used in carefully chosen Italian flours that produce the various desired types of dough for baking.

Besides bakery items, Giovanni Pina offers a full menu of Italian fare. For our meal, we sampled a nice smattering of the more popular dishes. For appetisers, we had Fresh Mussels Sauteed with Garlic, Tomato & White Wine Sauce served with Toasted Ciabatta Slices ($168) and Homemade Venetian Creamy Halibut Paste served with Toasted Ciabatta Slices ($128). Both are tasty and the wine sauce is perfect for dipping the bread into. The risotto dishes are excellent as well. Seared Scallops, Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto ($188) is rich and savoury. The Risotto al Nero di Seppia ($168) – black ink squid – is also delicious.

But clearly desserts took centre stage, and we had the full measure. We sampled Lemon Meringue Tart and the Sacher all’Italiana. The tart pastries included Cannoncini Crème, a handmade puff pastry meringue cream roll with 144 layers, and a must-try item, Apricot Jam Shortcrust, Mini Shortcrust with Custard and Fresh Fruit, and Cream Bigne.

For the gelatos, another specialty of the restaurant, we tried four: Yellow – Custard; White – Double Milk; Pink – Strawberry; and Green – Pistachio. All are refreshing, creamy sweet and delicious. The restaurant also makes Artisan Gelato, a specially concocted chocolate gelato made from the freshest ingredients.

In addition to its coffees and teas, Giovanni Pina offers a selected collection of cocktails and wines. We had Friuli Collezione Privata Extra Brut DOC ($68), a dry, light sweet sparkling wine, Friuli Colle Orientali DOC ($58), a refreshing white, Italian Classic Cocktail ($68), Iced Rich Chocolate ($62) which is yummy, and Cafee Milani House Coffee ($42), its signature coffee.

Our visit to Giovanni Pina turned out to be a delightful experience. The desserts and cakes certainly live up to their reputation and the restaurant offers so much more.

Whether you are in the mood to sate your sweet tooth or just want a relaxing meal with friends, Giovanni Pina has you covered. We highly recommend it. ■

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