After a very long day at the office last week I decided to treat myself to some snacks and a glass of wine with a friend. We were in a tapas-y, small plates mood, looking for a place with a casual, cool, open atmosphere where we would be able to relax and chat and feel a little bit pretty. A restopub/winebar preferably not too far from Central with low to medium high heel accessibility (I was wearing particularly dangerous ones that day…) The place to go is La Piola. The name of the place aptly labels it as a casual restaurant and wine bar typical of the Piemonte region of Italy, where hearty, traditional dishes are offered along with a variety of Italian wines. The restaurant inside is dimly lit, cozy and comfortable. Outside the restaurant, an open bar faces the street and high chairs placed alongside the bar allow for perfect street-side people watching. Lean slightly back in your chair and you’re immersed into the city’s bustling energy; lean forward and you’re in a calm, relaxed, Mediterranean-feeling setting.
Besides this awesome environment, another great perk of the enoteca is the wide selection of happy hour antipasti finger-food. The bar is lined with innumerable plates of yummy toothpick-numnums, prosciutto di parma and salami on soft, crustless bread ( I kind of missed the rustic crust a bit here though…), doughy little buns with cheese and tomato on them, pan con tomate with crispy, toasted slices of baguette rubbed in garlic and drizzled with oil before it is topped with delicious little chunks of juicy tomato, mini quiches asparagus, eggy-smooth tortas with peas, crudité with blue cheese dip, little spoons of blanched shrimp covered in a creamy sauce…
I ordered a nice, lively glass of 2008 Duca di Salaparuta Corvo Rosa IGT, a bright, fruity, cherry-highlight rosé on a hot, summer day. And then I ordered another glass. I spend my entire day discussing with sommeliers why rosés are not popular in Hong Kong. When I’m off work, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a glass of one.
As we chatted and sipped our wine, secretly eyeing the rotation of the plates, a few friends spotted us sitting street-side and joined us, ordering some beers and standing on the sidewalk. It was cool, relaxed and comfortable. Exactly the type of evening I was hoping for.