Hong Kong’s Best Italian American Social Club Has Leveled Up
Frank’s is ON having opened its doors following a summer refresh renovation.
Frank’s new and enhanced approach to the traditional Italian American social clubs of New Jersey and New York, will see a revitalized menu of Italian American classics by Chef Vinny Lauria that expands the definition of Italian American cooking, a revamped cocktail menu by Alex Chatte that blurs the boundaries between kitchen and bar, and a strong-as-ever commitment to hip-hop and records via an all-vinyl hip hop soundtrack and regular live DJ sets. Hip-hop and its stylistic origins serve as the base for the painstakingly curated music program and guests can expect a thoughtfully curated listening experience when dining or drinking at Frank’s.
Cocktail connoisseurs can enjoy a drink at the lively downstairs main bar or slip upstairs to the dining lounge where unique ‘red sauce’ cocktails inspired by classic Italian American dishes, each with a unique sweet, savory feel. The Farfalle Alla Genovese inspired by a traditional pesto recipe (HK$115) reimagines an iconic Tom Collins. Award-winning Old Tom gin is combined with homemade toasted pine nut syrup, freshly muddled Italian basil and Italian lemon juice. This creative approach to food and drink pairing is sure to redefine the cocktail scene.
Upstairs in the dining lounge, dinner will be presented to diners in the form of a self-published menu-zine which, as well as Frank’s Originals and revolving Specials, will feature compelling insight from the brand’s personalities. “Aside from what’s cooking and mixing behind the bar and the decks that month we wanted to share more about what makes Frank’s special to us. The zines offer guests a chance to go deeper with the people behind Frank’s; combining black and white photography much of it shot on film, and essays written by the personalities behind Frank’s,” says Red Sauce Hospitality Founder Todd Darling. “Each ‘zine is numbered and intended to be a collectible, and guests should feel free to pocket them at the end of a meal, or have the Frank’s team personalize them as a remembrance of their time with us!”
Mainstays like Frank’s Meatballs (HK$85), Homemade Burrata (HK$165),Linguine Clams (HK$165), Spaghetti Meatballs (HK$165) and Orechiette with Homemade Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (HK$155) will remain under the Frank’s Original’s section, whilst new creations which redefine the boundaries of Italian American cuisine, will make up two-thirds of the food offering.
A Caviar Service (HK$550/30 grams) will be available throughout the year and will be served with shrimp crackers and a sumptuous Tuscan onion dip, which pays homage to the store-bought French onion dip of Lauria’s childhood.
Seasonal dishes such as Crudo (HK$150) will feature fresh, raw seafood marinated with a locally inspired mignonette spiked with fermented XO sauce, whilst a Baked Oyster (HK$65/piece) adorned with braised oxtail, XO aioli and pickled scallion is an irresistible Hong Kong riff on Oysters Rockefeller.
The new Frank’s menu represents Lauria’s own ‘Italian American’ experience – identifying as part of a new wave of immigrants, born to second generation Italian immigrants in America. Then he became an immigrant in Hong Kong bringing with him his grandfather’s recipes and combining them with inspirations from food outside of the red sauce repertoire that he gained while living in Hong Kong.
Frank’s renowned pasta offering will be bolstered with specials such as Lasagna Fritta (HK$165)– a Nonna-style lasagne which is sliced and pan-fried before plating. The parm melts over the lasagna slice and creates a crisp crust around each slice – a large-scale pot-sticker dumpling-style skirt that delivers moreishcrunch with each bite.
Mafaldine Bolognese (HK$170) will be made with 100 percent local produce and pays homage to popular Chinese knife-cut noodles with its unique pasta shape. An Urchin Caramelle Pasta (HK$180) is a truly special dish designed to look like candy. Every second parcel is filled with sea urchin with the remainder boasting a roasted tomato and ricotta stuffing. With a dressing of local fermented chilli, garlic chive, lemon and colatura butter made with fish sauce, every bite is a flavor surprise.
Mains like Smoked Black Cod (HK$195) are sure to impress all seafood lovers. The bounty of the sea comes with grilled cucumber and is served in a delicate shitake broth with neonata, a Calabrian fermented baby eel condiment which will remind many of a potent Asian shrimp paste.
For dessert, guests can expect creative takes on nostalgic flavors – the perfect example arrives in the form of Ovaltine Tiramisu in which a beloved western and eastern classic join forces to deliver the ultimate sweet treat. As dinner winds down, upstairs will transform into a laidback cocktail lounge where guests can kick back and listen to records over great cocktails.
Whether at the bar or upstairs in the restaurant and lounge, every Frank’s experience will be set to an all-vinyl soundtrack with a focus on hip-hop and its stylistic origins.
Frank’s Italian American
Address: Harilela House, G/F & 1/F, No. 79 Wyndham St, Central
Phone: 2320 0858
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: Noon – late
Social Media: @Frankshkg