James Gibbs tested the RM75 Italian Set Menu that is part of the Sheraton Hotel chain's 75 anniversary celebrations
If you've been having recent thoughts that there may be a lack of romance in your life… or, otherwise, you may just have an irrepressible craving for fine cuisine from the Mediterranean, there is elegant and wonderful restaurant right here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur that will fulfill all your requirements.
All you need to do is throw on a nice outfit, slap on a little Gucci perfume or aftershave and then head with your partner in tow to the piazza on the 5th floor of the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Jalan Suntan Ismail that is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Sheraton hotels and Resorts are celebrating, with a series of activities, 75 years of hospitality where the brand has been providing exclusive accommodation for travelers around the world. Here, they are offering a RM75 special menu that includes a choice of entrées, mains and desserts. Now you can have a premium romance experience while still having enough cash left over to buy the ring – how good is that!
As you travel up in the lift to the Villa Danieli Restaurant it is like you are being magically transported to somewhere in the Adriatic. The restaurant beckons you inside with its rustic, charming interior that just oozes with romance. One would not be surprised to see Michelangelo or Leonardo sitting in the corner with a little cappuccino froth on the moustache discussing their latest artistic creations or encounters.
The quality of the fittings and ambience is second to none. From the murals above to the erotically feminine lighting and marble (all imported from Italy), there have been absolutely no compromises. For sure the bar area has the perfect ambience to unwind and relax with its harmony of lighting, design and soothing Italian tunes. Additionally, there is no doubting the authenticity of the wood fired pizza oven – with a real wood fire within – surely the source of some spectacular pizza creations!
Right after sitting down the immersion in Italian taste experiences begins. It is not often that a bread basket earns a great deal of mention, though here, it was outstanding. Italians have long been masters of the art of great bread and here Allessandro Graziosi, the Head Chef De Cuisine, originally from Milan, explained some of the apothecary behind his perfect penne. Most notable were the dark chocolate coloured buns that have been created partially from, can you believe it, vegetable ash! Yep that’s right, in true Italian style, they cremate vegies until they are just ash, then sift, purify and filter the remnants that are then added to the other fully imported bread making ingredients. Altogether, this becomes what is possibly the finest set of buns on the planet – these puppies are amazing; with a soft interior with a slightly springy texture on the outside. Served with other equally tasty breads together with an aromatic black tomato dip, this really set the stage for the other culinary experiences to come. I would go back there just to eat these entrees alone!
Allessandro is a perfect illustration of why Italy excels as one of the world’s most famous sources of hospitality and cuisine. He explained in a friendly and enthusiastic style, “In order to guarantee the quality of the food, we have to bring a lot of ingredients here by air from Italy. For example, from the north of Italy, we bring meat, cheese, truffles and tomatoes. This helps us in creating the authentic dining experience for all our guests. Here we see a lot of families on outings and we are always happy to have many couples that come here to make proposals for marriage for the for obvious reasons of the romantic environment together with our exciting menu.”
The following dishes that were tasted that night were Burratina alla Mediterranea – Fresh Buffalo’s Burratina cheese with tangy salad. Great dish – I wondered who had the job of milking the buffalo? For main, I chose the subtly flavoured Oven Baked Sea Bass Carpaccio with fresh thyme, asparagus and Kalmata olive dust. Now just where else in Malaysia could you unearth a combination like that? The finale was the signature dish Tiramisu with a hint of booze - perfect to round out the evening.
Now I just gotta go back again and tackle the other items on the special menu together with that great looking wine collection. I think the seared, sliced and gratin Australian beef rump with rosemary beef juice and roasted lemon potatoes will be more than enough to temp my return.
This special 75 anniversary, 75 Ringgit offer will continue only until November 14 so you need not hesitate in getting into town to enjoy some of Malaysia’s finest Italian food. Other anniversary offering include 75 free room nights being given away each day. and breakfast at 1937 prices - US$0.95!
Reason to visit: Excellent value meals with the chance to win a free night at the Sheraton Imperial
The Villa Danieli Restaurant, 5th Floor, Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail. Tel 03 2717 9528. www.sheraton.com/imperialkualalumpur