Franco Pepe, today’s biggest name in pizza worldwide, has ventured outside of Italy for the first time with the opening of KYTALY which he co-owns with Alessandro Bortesi. The pizzeria and first Hong Kong Campari bar has officially opened its doors in the heart of Hong Kong. Born from the perfect harmony between “Ki”, the Japanese symbol of life’s energy, and “Italy”, the cradle of Mediterranean culture, the two values give identity and character to the concept. KYTALY has risen to the global stage for serving the best pizza in the world outside of Italy.
Franco Pepe is today the biggest name in Pizza. He and his family of legendary bread-makers were the first to revolutionise the art of pizza making, choosing to create original recipes from scratch following the traditions and methods set out in his family. Working closely with his father, Franco Pepe learned everything there was to know from sourcing the freshest local ingredients to constructing the perfect dough and flour by hand over the past 25 years.
He is in charge of Pepe in Grani, considered the best pizzeria in the world by many in the small village of Caiazzo.
As a third generation baker, Franco Pepe was brought up with ancient family recipes and techniques that are said to have re-invented the art of pizza-making, breaking from the mould of the popular Neopolitan pizza. At KYTALY, the dough is created in highly limited amounts every day with a secret recipe by Franco Pepe himself, consisting of 70% water which gives way to a surprisingly light and supple pizza. Even the flour used for the dough is created by Franco Pepe, made without preservatives nor additives. Once the pizza has been formed, it will enter the custom-made Moretti Oven created in partnership with Franco Pepe, and bake at 450 degrees Celsius in only 90 seconds.
KYTALY Hong Kong’s menu will feature 19 pizze from classics to Franco Pepe’s signature creations, as well as a range of Italian salads and classic desserts. 99% of the ingredients are sourced from Italy – from the tomato, oregano, basil, garlic and anchovies to the Fior di Latte and yeast. The ingredients also include the highly valuable Tuna Alletterato, fished in the Mediterranean Sea and not easily obtained in common seafood markets. The lean and non-fatty high quality pork is sourced from Caserta in the south of Italy, from the Black Casertano variety of pigs. Of course, the Mozzarella di Bufala is taken from the true source – real Mozzarella from Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk in Campana. The kitchen is helmed by the talented second generation pizzaiolo Antonio Cecere.
Since 2016, Franco Pepe’s take on the classic Margherita, Margherita Sbagliata (Mistaken Margherita), has received the annual award for Best Pizza in the World, based on what is famously the “best mistake” he ever made. The Mozzarella is sourced from Caserta, 100% bufalo. The red and green patterns on top are Riccio tomato sauce and a basil reduction made by blitzing fresh basil leaves, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Another acclaimed Franco Pepe creation is the Alletterata, a pizza topped with handmade Alife onion cream with an interesting backstory. Antonietta Melillo, a farmer who once lost everything, and against all odds, became responsible for the resurgence of fading Alife onions in the entire region. With the knowledge that Franco Pepe sources all of his ingredients locally, Antonietta approached him with her signature onion cream, and from there, a loyal partnership was formed.
Among the string of global recognitions and accolades received, Franco Pepe currently enjoys the #1 position for Top 50 Best Pizza in Italy 2018 (www.50toppizza.it). On The Guardian’s experts guide on the best pizzas in the world, Franco Pepe’s establishment received the most nominations from the guide’s 1,077 contributors in 2016. Renowned food lover’s publication, The Phaidon, has also issued a “Where to Eat Pizza” guide written by Daniel Young, and crowned Franco Pepe’s pizzeria as the number one spot.
Hong Kong’s First Campari Bar
The restaurant will also debut Hong Kong’s first Campari Bar helmed by Bar Manager Marcus Chan, where guests can enjoy a classic Italian cocktail on the gorgeous terrace overlooking Wyndham Street, Central. Choose from a selection of 17 classic cocktails such as Negroni Arabica, with Vermouth, Gin, Campari, infused with Coffee (HK$110) or an Italian favourite, Campari Spritz with Campari, Prosecco and Soda Water (HK$82). Italian and French wines will also be available, starting from just HK$380 per bottle.
Kytaly belongs to a project of Alessandro Bortesi who started this business 4 years ago in Geneva. Franco Pepe and Alessandro worked on the same idea and both have the ultimate passion of taking the pizza to another level. Alessandro was joined by Helene Gigot to start this new project in Hong Kong. Both of them work together very closely to deliver the perfect Italian Pizza experience to guests of Hong Kong. With her background in management and luxury marketing, Helene ensures that Franco Pepe’s pPizza is comparable to a luxury product with the quality of raw materials and exceptional craftsmanship.