Piquant Nduja Pizza, creamy Pesto Pizza and egg-topped Carbonara Pizza make a perfect combination
Feeling good is something Manuel has had to work on for his own well-being too. His first year or so in Hong Kong, before starting Pirata, was tough: ‘I didn’t know anything about Hong Kong,’ he says. ‘I just moved here a little bit blind. I came by myself, I didn’t know anybody, but after a year, I started meeting people, and I fell in love with my girlfriend.’ In his fourth year, despite — or maybe because of — leading a fledging restaurant business, he ‘got bored, thinking it was too small, and that’s when I started discovering nature. Once I discovered it, Hong Kong became my favourite city in the world.’ He now goes trail running several times a week, clocking up 100 kilometres a week, be it to The Peak or in Sai Kung.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but especially for the social nature of the hospitality sector, and for Manuel personally, as he has watched friends and family around him fall victim to mental and physical health issues. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle has been key. ‘I love people,’ he explains — it’s why he’s in hospitality, after all — but being a busy, creative entrepreneur, these experiences have taught him to take time to love and care for himself too, which is perhaps the most important lesson of them all.