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Located on the first floor of the Excelsior Hotel in Wan Chai, Cammino is a no-frills, old-fashioned establishment that serves reliable Italian cuisine. This is the kind of place you’d take your parents or grandparents; it has big, comfortable chairs, bright lighting and plays a soundtrack of classic hits and love songs from the 80s and 90s. Without windows onto the outside world it feels a little as if one is eating in an arcade, though, so don’t come here if you want a first date ambience.
Expect Italian classics done deftly. The pastas are served as main courses, but if you request to start with pasta then the kitchen can create a half portion. The linguini alla vongole is a perfect incarnation of the seafood pasta, with basil, white wine, garlic and some of the most succulent, sweet clams we’ve tried. High quality buffalo mozzarella is the making of the Caprese con Rucola, a tomato salad with mozzarella and rocket, although we found the addition of pesto overpowering and unnecessary. Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, (pasta with Wagyu beef cheek ragout) is scrumptious, with a rich tomato base and generous, tender chunks of beef. Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the T-bone steak, was well cooked but the tenderloin side was seemingly non-existent. Nevertheless the strip side was well seasoned. Be sure to order a side of dreamy truffle mash to compliment your meat, as the single baked potato and arugula with which it comes are a little uninspiring. We’d heard great things about the Cammino Tiramisu but the kitchen had run out on the evening we visited, so we opted instead for a slice of Tiramisu cake, which was overly solid and lacked flavour. The roasted almond crème brulee with cappuccino gelato and raspberries, on the other hand, was spectacular. The portion was extremely generous and topped off with a perfect toffee crust.
The best and mid-range Italian wines from Tuscany, Venetia, Umbria and Sicily sit alongside some top drops from France, Australia, New Zealand and the US. While there are limited wines by the glass, the menu offers an array of half bottles.
Service at Cammino is faultless. If you arrive early, you will be offered magazines to amuse yourself, and are never left with an empty glass. Staff are eager, well informed in regards to the menu, and extremely friendly.
A meal for two came to $1,800 with two glasses of wine. Considering the basic setting this may seem a little steep, but the quality of the pastas and the service make a trip to Cammino worthwhile.