10/20 - Ten Questions, Answered in 20 Words or Less!
Mathieu Palombino of Motorino
When chef Mathieu Palombino announced he was setting up Motorino’s first overseas location in Hong Kong, local slice-lovers rejoiced at the prospect of getting their hands on ‘NYC’s best pizza’. We caught up with him just after the ribbon cutting to talk dough science, menu essentials and dry martinis.
1. Firstly, a little about yourself?
I’m a New Yorker from Belgium, I ride a motorcycle everyday, enjoy hard work and drink my martini dry.
2. This is your first overseas restaurant, what made you choose HK?
I’ve always hoped that if Motorino was successful, I would find a way to bring it to China.
3. What are you most looking forward to experiencing during your time to HK?
Besides eating Chinese BBQ and seafood, just observing people doing their thing – I’m sure I’ll learn something.
4. Tell us about your menu. What pizzas will you bring from Motorino NY and is there anything new or region-specific you will add?
We’ve brought the essentials – octopus salad, meatballs, clams, tiramisu, and of course, the pizzas – while adding a few regional specials.
5. We've heard that one of the main issues with making great pizza in HK is the humidity – how will you be working around it?
The dough recipe is a real science. It takes calculations and a bit of patience to make it work.
6. What is your sourcing policy? Do you use local or imported ingredients?
We import what isn’t available locally – olive oil, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, and wine. Everything else we get close to home.
7. What's your favourite dish on the menu, and what wine should we order with it?
I’ve probably eaten 1000 Sopressata pizzas with Aglianico for dinner, Peroni at lunchtime, and prosecco when I’m feeling sophisticated.
8. Speaking of wine, can you share with us a few of the 'pizza wines' you will offer at the restaurant?
Aglianico and bubbly Gragnano top a by-the-glass and reserve bottle list, which also includes a selection of southern whites.
9. Sam Sifton has praised your pizza as being New York's best – an impressive achievement! What's your secret?
Every pizza is someone’s meal, and we respect that. We make it worth the time and money you spend.
10. What do you think is the biggest difference between diners in New York and in Hong Kong?
I’ve noticed that most people say hello when entering the restaurants in Hong Kong. I appreciate that.