Considering that Humen is a port town with a bustling garment industry, which sees a regular influx of foreigners, it might come as quite a surprise that there are scant Western options in the area. So, when a few Italian colleagues of mine recommended one spot they had discovered there as a taste from home, I simply had to give it a try.
To its testament, Il Giglio (meaning “lily” in Italian) boasts a Chinese owner who once lived in Italy for over ten years. This experience shines through in the menu’s delightfully diverse options. The restaurant itself is a spacious, two floor conversion with a large, traditional stone oven that leads to an open kitchen. There’s even a quaint ice cream stall in one corner. It all feels familiar and warm.
Joined by three friends, we started our adventure off with a stone-baked pizza. It was the inevitable quick win. I also tried some of my friends’ spicy seafood soup and a bite of lasagna, which in my opinion, were mediocre. Two stand-out dishes on our table that night were the filetto al pepe nero (black pepper fillet steak) and the ravioli al tartufo (cheese ravioli in a black truffle sauce). Both were sublime, with velvety textures and premium ingredients. We rounded off the meal with a warm, chocolate-filled pudding, accompanied by hazelnut ice cream, which was heavenly, but slightly too rich for my liking.
The staff, while trying to be helpful, seemed clueless to Western etiquette. Even though we had a native translator dictating our choices, the order missed an item. The ice cream was also brought ten minutes before the pudding, which rather defeated the purpose.
I could understand if the place was packed, but aside from one other couple, we were alone in the restaurant. This was rather worrying as we were dining in at prime time on a Saturday evening.
Perhaps the location is the problem. The Vanke housing complex—opposite a life club—is just off the beaten track, making it the kind of place you only know about if someone tips you off.
It would be a pity if this place ended up on the dust pile, as so many of these start-ups seem to do. Though, with the imminent opening of a new Wanda location in December, Humen may soon have to sadly say “arrivederci” to Il Giglio. You’d better get there fast.
Address:Building26, liansheng middle Rd, Wanke Zitai, Humen Town
Reservation Number : 85711691