Located in St Kevins Arcade next to beloved underground music venue Whammy Bar, Pici brings the backstreets of Europe to Karangahape Road. A small pasta and wine bar, it was inspired by the Italian travels of owners Jono Thevenard, Kazuya Suzuki (both chefs who worked under Ben Bayly at fine-dining restaurant The Grove) and Gemma Hareb.
You’ll feel part of the K’ Road buzz whether you’re seated outside in the actual arcade, inside the cosy restaurant near the bar, or upstairs in the compact mezzanine. The fun, hip-hop-heavy playlists and laid-back yet attentive waitstaff contribute to the distinctive sense of place. The team has managed to cultivate the same vibe at its Dominion Road pizza joint Ooh-Fa, too.
The food menu is concise, with regular swap-outs and enduring favourites. There’s antipasti – usually focaccia, olives and charcuterie, plus stracciatella paired with a seasonal vegetable and drizzled in a deliciously bitter olive oil. The main event is a rotating selection of house-made pastas. As the name suggests, the signature is peppery, creamy pici cacio e pepe – pici being a hand-rolled, thick spaghetti. Sides such as bitter leaves balance out the richness. For dessert, the olive-oil cheesecake is a signature. It comes sans crust, doused in more of the same bitter olive oil, and is finished with sea salt and lemon zest.
On the drinks side, find cocktails (including classics like a Negroni and a spritz), a small selection of beers, and a wine list that focuses largely on organic, biodynamic drops from smaller producers in New Zealand and Italy. There’s an off-license too, so you can take a bottle home with you.
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