Il Caffé di Roma at the New Cathay Building


If you like pasta – and who doesn’t – you might be in for a nice surprise when you visit the fourth floor of the new Cathay building.

143 and this blog love noodles and pasta. For me, it is a fun food to eat when this blog was very young because I would enjoy having the last few inches wave goodbye to everyone as I sucked-slurped a long Spaghetti strand into my mouth. Splattering everyone with sauce is part of the fun. Cleaning up after wasn’t.

Anyway, what does it for this blog is the sauce; I love all kinds of sauce, in particular, the creamy ones, so the Spaghetti Alfredo is my favourite. Did I mention that it has crispy bacon in it? That could be a strong deciding factor too.

For 143, and most people I guess, it’s how the pasta is cooked. The bite and the texture of the pasta, be it in strands or in pieces. Most people would say that the perfectly cooked pasta should be “Al Dente” which is Italian for “you need all your teeth to bite through”. This presents a problem because obviously children and senior citizens have a different dental definition from, say Richard Kiel.

Anyway, it was a surprisingly sunny Saturday (I have been reading too much Lemony Snicket) when 143 recommended Il Caffe di Roma at the Cathay Building. For this blog, the new Cathay Building has a strange vibe, then again I’ve been exposed to the old stories and whatnot, but you have to admit that it is creepy when the fishes in the fish pond at the basement remain deadly still.

No matter as we were seated in clear plastic chairs with designer labels at the restaurant. The glass tables were treacherously unstable. We found out that we should coordinate and time the lifting of our elbows else the glass top would tip.

As I was having tea later, I decided to start with a simple Bruschetta. It came as four slices of crusty bread that was fairly dripping in what I could discern as rather bland olive oil. However, it refreshed me as I hadn’t had breakfast.

The shadow is there because I was too lazy to copy down the menu and just snapped a shot.

I was torn between the Al Funghi (“Nothing but Mushrooms”) and the Alla Puttanesca (“I am not even going to try”). I finally settled for the Puttanesca because it had a funny name (from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) and the deleted part of the Al Funghi looked suspiciously like bacon.

I do not have kind words for people who delete bacon.

The Alla Puttanesca had a bitingly tart and spicy (not hot) taste which required a few moments for my palate to get used to. It was very fragrant, it had to be with all the olives, capers and tomatoes. After chewing mindfully, the taste was pleasantly sweet.


143 ordered the Pollo and Pomodoro which was basically Shredded Chicken with Basil. She was a little apprehensive as she had forgotten what Basil tasted like. I reassured her that it was ok on account that I get to (help) eat her pasta; it had meat.

It was good. Not an exploding taste sensation like the Alla Puttanesca, but it was very mellow and slightly sweet. It turned out 143 was ok with Basil, so the world sighed with relief.


Basically the pasta (only linguine and Spaghetti, I think, was available) was slightly underdone, but 143 and I enjoy slightly hard pasta; the sauce practically springboards off as it waves goodbye.

Dessert was a disappointment, mainly because I am very difficult to impress with desserts and was explaining why the Tiramisu was too soggy (never use sponge fingers). And the Creme Brulee wasn’t.

IMG_0017 IMG_0016

Il Caffe di Roma is a very new restaurant; we were there four days after it opened and they were still trying to settle down (they didn’t have a POS and the chairs still had tags on them). Service was a little awkward but attentive and the pasta menu was, surprisingly, mostly vegetarian. I would give it a month or so for them to get on their feet before I go back for more bitey pasta.


Posted on 17th Jan 2007 in Food and Drink, Italian


There Is Only 1 Comment So Far | Last Makankaki dinner of 2006 commented on June 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

[…] In addition to the set menu, I ordered two plates of squid-ink pasta to share as I was told it was a house specialty. It turned out a little cold and while the pasta was a little too hard for some of the people on the table, I enjoyed the cold, sweet and hard pasta. […]

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