Thursday, April 07, 2011

Classified - no need to talk about it

I was feeling brutalised after today in the office, so to cheer me up my fiancee took me to Zitti's, a pizza parlour in Tin Hau.  Unfortunately, Zitti's is no longer a pizza parlour in Tin Hau. It's now a boarded up shop front with a sign saying that you can go somewhere else for pizza.  So much for that.

On the positive side, who really wants to go to a restaurant that appears to be named after a slang term for acne?  So having wandered up and down the street twice, searching yet never finding our fabled pizza joint, we gave up and went to Classified instead.

Classified is a restaurant-cum-cheese-and-wine merchant with a branch in Sheung Wan with its own cheese room, while the Tin Hau branch only has a high shelf of cheese, which isn't quite as grand.  They also always seem to have every table reserved (with hardly anyone sitting at them) so we ended up at one corner of a large square wooden table, along with three other parties.

The food is good - I very quickly got a large bowl of chilli-flecked fries, along with a pot of chorizo mayonnaise.  This struck me as an absolute abomination: the cursed lovechild of Belgian and Spanish cuisine, but perhaps I was just bitter because I couldn't eat it.  Damn my vegetarianism.  My fiancee assured me that it was just like pureed bacon.  As if that were a good thing.

Actually, that probably is a good thing: all the delicious pig-based flavour of bacon, and none of the trouble of having to chew your food.  Yes, I suppose I was just envious, more than anything else.  My fiancee had a tomato-and-onion salad, except the onions had gone AWOL and she doesn't like tomatoes much.

Thus far, this doesn't sound very positive, but the food is jolly good.  It's not so great to be perched on the edge of a bench, but then if you're not going to be organised enough to make a reservation, then this is just something you have to suck up.  Once she'd eaten as much of my bacon paste as she could, and I'd seen to her tomatoes, we relinquished our dishes and the waitress brought over our mains of pasta.

Now, I would have liked to have some freshly ground pepper on my pasta, but when the pepper mill arrived and first of all wouldn't grind at all, and then latterly failed to produce any pepper when the waiter did give it an almighty wrench, I lost heart and figured I'd just eat what I'd been given.  Maybe I should just trust the chef to have seasoned things properly.  That absence of fresh pepper was one small fly in the ointment of my enjoyment.  The other, far larger insect landing in the unguent was the three bullshit artists who sat down next to us and beginning talking rubbish at high volume.

I don't mind people talking in restaurants.  I don't mind people talking about whatever they want.  And I don't mind hearing it.  But if they just spew banalities about nothing meaningful at all, you'd think they could do so quietly.  Instead, we had three foghorns going on about a friend who had a house with a home cinema in the basement and a triangular pool outside, and how rich that person was.  Well, I know space is at a premium in Hong Kong, but I had a friend with a fat ass stereo and an enormous television in England, and he wasn't as rich as Croseus.

Actually, he was, but we didn't go on about it.  In between waffling about these, the tallest of the three kept asking the other two if they could get white bread with their cheese.  White bread.  Like that was the rarest of commodities, almost impossible to find in Hong Kong apart from at two million branches of Seven-Eleven. And if you go to a place like Classified that specialises in artisanal (ok, have it your way, pretentious) bread then surely it makes sense to try the interesting stuff with a bit of rye and some pumpkin seeds on top.  Not the white bread.  I wondered if he was going to ask to have the crusts cut off.

Then they went back to babbling about the pool.  Or the pole.  I couldn't quite figure out their accents, what with the constant carping and crowing.  Animals, these people, coming to our favourite restaurants and mixing their metaphors.  White-bread-man began to go on about how he didn't like wine, because he was 'a beer snob'.  A beer snob?  What, the sort of person who turns their nose up at cheap Tsing Tao because he likes spending his hard cash on a proper can of Stella Artois, perhaps?  At this point his companions had grown bored of the conversation too, because when he relapsed into his worries about the availability of white bread to go with his cheese, they ignored him and started off in Cantonese instead.  This was perhaps wise.  If he'd been left to carry on, he might have progressed from white bread to worrying that his cheese wasn't all going to come in square slices of uniform thickness and standardised orange pigment.  Beer snobs.  Tch.

When they started going on about the water sensor in your body that makes your kidneys work, I had to ask for the bill and charge off into the distance, for fear my head was going to explode from the pressure of listening to people regurgitate things they'd vaguely misunderstood in a biology lesson once.  Still, the pasta was nice.


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