Friday, 28 February 2014

Wine Talk with Room Service, Wine to Your Doorstep and a Wine Club! Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wine Talk with Room Service
Wine Club - First month's 6 bottles of wine with free Tot Bag, Wine Talk corkscrew and 6 crystal glasses

Wine Club, Wine Talk with Room Service


It seems buying wine from a supermarket, or even a specialty wine store, these days is getting more and more challenging. There is a never-ending supply of wines from across the world and rarely anybody available to assist with choosing.

As my pockets are not deep and my impatience strong, I often resort to purchasing tried and tested drops for fear of disappointment. Compromising variety for the reliable isn’t my preferred path, but I don’t have the moolah or the forbearance to waste on bad wine.

Along comes the Wine Club from Wine Talk with Room Service to the rescue! Signing up guarantees me the best price and home delivery for wines handpicked by a professional sommelier (with over 20 years of experience) and tailored to my preferences.

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards 'Family Reserve' White - Swartland, South Africa
All I have to do is decide what types of wine I’d like, (all red, all white, a mixture plus rosé), the number of bottles (6 bottles for RM428 or 12 bottles for RM788) and how often I’d like them dispatched (monthly or bi-monthly.) I can cancel or pause my order at anytime with no charge and, I get guaranteed satisfaction (if I return a wine I don’t like within 30 days it will be replaced with a new bottle). No catches. Just a really good deal!

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Step X Step Chardonnay - South Australia

As if wine delivered to your door, hand-picked by a professional sommelier is not enough, the first month’s box comes with over RM200 worth of free gifts too! A “Wine Talk” bottle opener always comes in handy, as does a double Tot Bag (insulated carrier) and six crystal wine glasses won’t go unused either.

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Wine Men of Gotham Shiraz-Grenache - South Australia
My first month’s selection includes four reds and two whites. Tasting notes come with each covering a little about the wine maker, sommelier’s ratings and space to record my own musings. Australia, South Africa, Italy and Spain are showcased in this assortment and, I’m pleased to see all but one wine that I’ve not sampled (or remember sampling ;-) before.

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Viñedos y Bodegas Muñoz 'Artero Reserva' - La Mancha
There’s a chardonnay and a shiraz-grenache from different vineyards in South Australia, a white blend from Swartland, a Chianti Classico from Tuscany, a merlot from Madrid and, a nebbiolo from Piemonte. My personal sommelier has even conveniently suggested food pairings and I’m already planning my next meal around them.

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Ca' Blanca 'Guardastelle' Langhe Nebbiolo - Piemonte, Italy
But for now, it’s Friday and I look forward to sipping on the Cantine Melini ‘Terrarossa’ Chianti Classisco. It’s recommended as “dry, fresh and juicy – the perfect bottle for some well-deserved Friday night wine.” I’m sure to agree!

Wine Talk with Rooms Service
Cantine Melini ‘Terrarossa’ Chianti Classisco - Tuscany, Italy 
Reason to join: wine delivered to your doorstep; wine hand picked just for you by a professional sommelier with over 20 years of experience; no membership or sign-up fees; cancel or pause at anytime without extra charge.

Room Service with Wine Talk
Office Suite 210, Level 2 – Block B, Phileo Damansara II
15 Jalan 16/11 – Off Jalan Damansara
46350 Petaling Jaya
Malaysia
+6 03 7954 5142

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
View from a Window Table - Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre


Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant


One of the few elegant dining restaurants to stand the test of time, Le Midi French Italian Restaurant, in Bangsar Shopping Centre has undergone some changes since our last visit.

A new chef, Andrea Alimenti now heads up the team. On our first visit we fell in love with both the chef and the operations manager (who doubled up as the wine steward and pairer of all things liquid, who has also since moved on), so we’re entering the review a little wary. Old love dies hard.

Owner, Melissa Groot, though has a reputation for only hiring the best. Energetically sourcing the most sought after human resources is a skill she gained from her many years in business in Hong Kong. This is a lady who gets what she wants. And… after viewing the resume of the new chef (which easily has enough content to be published as a book, including numerous Michelin stars behind his name), we see she has settled for no one but the best.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Private Dining Room
Chef Andrea Alimenti presents himself with a sparkle in his eye and an upbeat tempo in his step. His voice has the musical cadence of an Italian accent and, there’s an energy to his character that infuses the atmosphere with cheer and good spirit.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Chef Andrea
Chef shares with us that he’s keen on sourcing local ingredients (three cheers for his social responsibility philosophy) and insists on making everything from scratch. Pasta, bread, dressings, desserts… all are made in house. While respecting traditional recipes, he is not restrained by the classics. He takes pleasure in experimentation and making modern improvements. We’re excited to try his recent introductions to Le Midi’s menu and start to wonder if we’re already finding another affection.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Le Midi
A white wine, Secret de Berticot, Cotes de Duras, Sauvignon 2013 (RM20++), stirs our interests. It’s their house pouring wine and exclusive to Le Midi. Importing wines yourself has its advantages. Melissa, a fan of all things French, brings in her favourties. This one is pale straw in colour, with light minerals on the nose, crisp and refreshing on the palate with a slightly floral finish. Seafood and salad form a positive partnership.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
House Pouring White Wine - Secret de Berticot, Cotes de Duras, Sauvignon 2013 
Wild Rocket Salad with Cured Duck, Apple, Fig and Aioli Mustard Dressing (RM35++) is an impressive introduction. The poultry has been cured in house by the chef. The flesh is tender and the dried fig juxtaposes the saltiness with an intense fruit savor. Glazed balsamic drops are wonderful and I’d like to know if I could take a bottle home. This too is made in Le Midi’s kitchen.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Wild Rocket Salad with Cured Duck, Apple, Fig and Aioli Mustard Dressing 
A tower of prawns, scallops, calamari and octopus jumble with celery, asparagus, red capsicum and tomato, connecting the sea to the earth. A light olive thyme oil dresses the Seafood Salad (RM60++). Celery lifts the dish and we’re amazed at how tender the seafood is, especially the calamari.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Seafood Salad
We moan in delight over the Potato Gnocchi with Cheese Fondue (RM48++). “This is divine!” says our dining partner. Hubby declares, “This is the best in the country!”  It’s so soft. We’ve had some good ones in KL, but I might actually agree with hubby this round. The potato dumplings are feathery and the sauce, creamy and dreamy. I’m sopping up the sauce, (I know I shouldn’t) and calculating how many kilometres I’ll have to run tomorrow. The distance is rocketing, but I don’t care. I show no self-restraint.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Gnocchi with Cheese Fondue
We’re three dishes in, thrilled with the first courses, and the conversation has taken an electrifying air to it. We learn the chef started as a baker in his teenage years, bakes his own bread and makes supreme desserts. Since his youth he has traveled the world and chef-ed in incredible locations under extraordinary circumstances. Enthusiasm is high for the meal to go on.

The naturally sweet soft flesh of Lobster tops Ravioli (RM90++), which is stuffed with mozzarella and melts in the mouth! Cherry tomatoes add colour to the plate and a coating of olive oil leaves a fine film in the mouth.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Lobster with Mozzarella Ravioli
Pistachio butter and sautéed vegetables accompany the Roasted Salmon (RM80++). Like a low ridge the pink fish spans across the plate. Snow peas, asparagus and carrot form a railway track below the mound. The thick nut topping marries well with the flaky moist flesh proving the perfect complement. Hubby proclaims the chef a magician! Our taste buds are dazzled. You must order this dish if you have the good fortune to dine at Le Midi.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Roasted Salmon with Pistachio Butter
Switching to red wine for the duck, hubby orders the Chateau Benage Fontaine, Cuvee Prestige, 2010 (RM25++), the house wine. The wine was decanted when we first arrived and now has a delicious smell of black forest cake – chocolate and cherry. It’s deep sanguine in colour, almost opaque. Easy drinking, and versatile, it’s an excellent choice for a house pour.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
House Pouring Red Wine - Chateau Benage Fontaine, Cuvee Prestige, 2010 
Chateau Pouroutou, Bordeaux 2011 (RM288++ bottle) is my choice and equally suits the duck. Dark crimson in the glass, with aromas of toast and spice, this red is full bodied with a rich finish.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Chateau, Pouroutou, Bordeaux 2011 
Duck Breast in Orange Sauce (RM100++) is lined up beside Parmesan custard on truffle sauce and, asparagus mousse. We’re wowed again. An intense citrus sauce covers tender, succulent meat. Orange zest adds zing and I’d love to mop up the remaining liquid with a piece of bread.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Duck Breast in Orange Sauce 
While some menus seem to add in dessert as an after thought, Le Midi’s new chef delights in his sweets and they turn out to be just as noteworthy as the mains. A white plate serves as a blank palette for Apricot Custard (RM35++), which is dotted with fruit sauces and a zig-zag of caramel. It flaunts the texture of a baked cheesecake and we’re fond of the concentrated apricot pulp in the middle.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Apricot Custard
Hot Chocolate Tender Heart (RM35++) is chef’s version of a lava cake. Chocolate sauce trickles from the centre and a vivid raspberry sorbet brightens the dark brown knoll. Light Chantilly Cream shapes a puffy-cloud crown and all three mixed together fill the mouth with a blend of warm, cold and gooey.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Hot Chocolate Tender Heart 
Finally our acceptance and endearment of the new chef is clenched with his Amarena Cherry Parfait. Hand whipped, it’s wickedly airy and creamy. Both hubby and I discover new tenderness for Le Midi and vow to revisit.

Le Midi, French Italian Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Cherry Parfait
*** Note: The pictures shown above are tasting portions. The prices however show the price for a regular serving size.

Reason to visit: hand made gelato; gnocchi with cheese fondue; excellent value house wine; exceptional city views; roasted salmon with pistachio butter; lobster ravioli.

Le Midi
French Italian Restaurant
Level 3 Bangsar Shopping Centre
285 Jalan Maarof
Bangsar, Bukit Bandaraya
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03  2094 1318


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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

La Risata, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Downstairs Dining Area of La Risata Ampang

La Risata, Ampang

Words by Kristin Cosgrove
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

I’ve always enjoyed my meals at La Risata, whether pizza with the kids or a romantic dinner out with my husband. The food is consistent and the convenience of the Ampang location is a huge plus. I also like the ambiance, as it is suited to almost any occasion, falling somewhere between “fine” and “family”. Unfinished brick walls give a rustic, cozy feel and the wooden tables have the quaint worn quality you find in well-loved establishments. Upstairs, one finds a cozy private wine room, perfect for an intimate event, or entertaining clients.

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Private Wine Room
La Risata has recently acquired a guest chef, Italian Andrea Genio, who is assisting the restaurant in up-grading its menu, and revamping some of the dishes to make them even more authentic and true to Italian Cuisine. Food at La Risata was already good but with Andrea’s fine-tuning it is getting even better. Young, energetic and quick witted at the tableside, Andrea whipped up a surprise menu for us at a recent tasting, including some of his new dishes and February specials. 
  
La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
La Risata, Ampang
To set a festive mood, Chef Andrea uncorks a bottle of Sieur D’Arques Premiere Bulle, a sparkling wine that dances across the tongue like Champagne. From the Limoux region of France, this type of sparkling wine holds the distinction of being the first sparkling white wine produced in France, much earlier than Champagne. I instantly love it; the Sieur D’ Arques has an extremely clean taste with no aftertaste. Our group’s mood is instantly raised from content and curious, to excited for the meal to come.

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Limoux Premiere Bulle
The Limoux is an apt pairing with our appetizer, the generously sized Carpaccio di Tonno Rosso (RM38); it is easily enough for two to share. The tuna is exceedingly fresh and holds a very mild flavor, enhanced by the richness of olives and the crunchy shredded fennel. For me, the highlight of this dish is the sweet and tangy orange slices, an unexpected citrus accent that blends surprisingly well with the dish’s other ingredients.

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Carpaccio di Tonno Rosso
Before we are served the next surprise dish, Tagliolini al Tartufo (RM38), Chef Andrea slyly places a plate on our table with an upside down bowl covering its contents. He instructs us not to peek while he brings out the next course. We are intrigued. After he we are served a bowl of house-made egg noodles topped with a sunny, intact egg yolk, he reveals a fat truffle hiding under the bowl. Monica gives a little squeal of delight and Andrea grates the truffle over the top of the noodles. This is the bianchetto truffle, one of the most famous wild truffles of Italy. Andrea tells us to mix it all together before tasting and we oblige. The result is a fresh and buttery cream sauce that drips tantalizingly from the firm noodles. This, unsurprisingly, is my favorite dish of the evening. Who can resist fresh noodles and cream sauce? 

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Tagliolini al Tartufo 
If you love cod, be sure to try the Merluzzo Selvatico in Crosta di Erbe Con Patate Viola (RM75) which will only be available at La Risata for a limited time. The fresh Norwegian cod is topped with breadcrumbs, parsley and other herbs, giving the fish a pop of taste, texture and color. The meat is surrounded by purple potato sauce and wild rocket dumplings, which taste like dabs of mashed potatoes.  

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Merluzzo Selvatico in Crosta di Erbe Con Patate Viola
The combination of freshness and meaty goodness has us raving about the Controfiletto di Agnello con Panzanella in Agro (Seared lamb loin served with panzanella salad and marsala wine reduction, RM75) The lamb is seared and paired with a sweet and tangy wine reduction. The flavor is so good that only a small amount of sauce is needed for the meat. Between bites we rest our palate with a bite of the panzanella salad – an incredibly fresh combination of cucumbers, red peppers, bread cubes, tomatoes – absolutely refreshing after the strong lamb flavor.  

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Controfiletto di Agnello con Panzanella in Agro 
La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
House Pouring Red Wine
We also try the Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek from the Valentine’s menu (which is obviously no longer available, but I mention it here because it was extremely delicious and would be good for a special event where one can tailor the menu). The very lean meat has a wonderful smoky flavor and comes with oven-baked pumpkin and potato cake. 

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek
La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Designer Wines
As a finish, Chef Andrea escorts us upstairs to the wine room, where he gives us a look at the many wines on offer. We make our way to the large lounge area upstairs and enjoy a few minutes of chatting at the bar, where we are given…

“Errr, what’s this?” I ask.

“Chef’s cocaine,” says Andrea with a laugh. “You’re supposed to suck it through the straw.  

La Risata, Ampang, Italian restaurant, bar
Apple Martini and "Chef's Cocaine"
Well, we’ll try anything once – it’s for our dear readers after all - and after a few sips of our heavenly apple martini we get down to it. We suck the fine powder into our mouths and are immediately smiling and laughing at the surprise menthol taste. I won’t tell you what it is, but if you have the opportunity, try it!  

“After all,” says Chef Andrea, “Eating should be fun!” 

Reason to Visit: A new chef means new dishes worth trying, some only available for the month of February, a relaxed atmosphere great for special occasions, date nights or even family dining.  

La Risata
16 Pesiaran Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

 +6 03 4252 6269 
ampang@la-risata.com
Lunch : 12.00pm-2.30pm 
Dinner : 6.30pm-10.30pm


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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla English Cream - La Scala, Italian Restaurant Kuala Lumpur

La Scala, Italian Restaurant


La Scala is sure to soon become one of the most popular Italian eateries in the city. Style, service, a good wine list and traditional cuisine are all drawcards.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
La Terrazza La Scala
We begin our evening at La Terrazza La Scala, the al fresco dining and rooftop terrace. Stunning views of the glimmering Twin Towers and KL Tower are viewed with cocktail in hand. Cleverly (we think) arriving in time for sunset we can’t resist a little alcoholic indulgence before our meal. We start with a traditional Italian favourite, the Bellini (RM38). They are made according to the original recipe from Harry’s Bar in Venice. A pretty peach pink in colour, they leave a tingly sparkle on the insides of our cheeks.  These are a must order.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
La Terrazza La Scala
La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Bellinis
The main dining area on the first floor combines gallery with restaurant. Diane Epstein photographs capture the magic of Rome, while frescos by Simone Gerardo Torri Pisoni bring old world charm to the interior. Linens are 100% Egyptian thread and are supplied by Rivolta Carmignani, who also furnishes the Armani Hotels. The space has clearly benefitted from the passion of a professional designer.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Private Dining Room
Giant misaligned planks of recycled wood form a three dimensional brick-like pattern on the back wall. Others are textured with fabric and some have a shiny grey, black marble appearance. Dome shaped lanterns hang from the ceiling and are worthy of closer inspection with their intricate patterns lining the lampshades.

Olive trees will soon be flown from Italy to further adorn the balcony, but currently grape vines are growing from corner pots, creeping up the gazebo ready to overtake and provide a shady haven. An automated awning allows dining on the patio even in inclement weather.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Patio
White clothed tables are broken with a grey centre cloth. Tall glass holders clutch slender ashen candles and large vases house white orchids. Soft opera music, much the same as what is played at the original La Scala opera house in Milan, adds an undercurrent of positive energy. The chef and floor manager buzz around tables checking in on guests. It feels familiar. The owner says, “If you want to go to Italy for one night, you come here.” And here we are, ready for a taste of “real Italian.”

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Dining Area
The Amuse Bouche is delivered to our table, a triangle of white, based with a zig-zag line of balsamic and, crowned with fresh Italian Parsley. We soon learn it’s a squid tartare with pistachio and lemon. The fish is fresh, the balsamic tart yet sweet and, a drizzling of olive oil coats the mouth. It’s a fine start.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Amuse Bouche
Focaccia, grissini and a Parmesan roll are all served on our side plates from a white linen-lined basket. The grissini is crispy with crystals of sea salt, the focaccia also benefits from a sprinkling of salt and sprigs of rosemary add flavour too. The roll has the distinct taste of Parmesan and is soft, sticking to the teeth, forcing us to joyfully clear our gums with our tongues.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Bread - Parmesan Roll, Grissini, Foacaccia
Faced with a page of starters, we can’t agree where to begin. Chef suggests a degustation platter, which allows us to try a little bit of everything. “Perfecto,” declares hubby, relieved that neither of us has to concede to the other.

Arranged on attractive glass plates, with four cavities for each item, our mouths are already watering deciding where to begin. The Capesante al Tartufo Bianco con Uova di Quaglia (RM68), sports a portly truffle roasted Hokkaido Bay scallop capped with a petite quail egg and striped beside with a red beetroot sauce. Yum!

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Capesante al Tartufo Bianco con Uova di Quaglia
Carpaccio di Polipo (RM48) arranges pale octopus carpaccio in a circular fashion, making us first believe it’s a fan shell holding finely chopped veges. Upon closer inspection though we see the slimly sliced flesh holding a panzanella salad - celery, tomato and cucumber give a pleasant burst of garden to the sea.

la scala italian restaurant
Carpaccio di Polipo 

Carpaccio di Manzo Organico Fassona Piemontese (RM56) is recommended by the owner and we can clearly taste why. Italian organic beef carpaccio is dressed with balsamic, wild arugula and Parmesan shavings. “Fantastic,” murmurs hubby, “So fresh. I think he just killed the cow!”

la scala
Carpaccio di Manzo Organico Fassona Piemontese
A deep fried breaded cube holds the Cubo di Coda Alla Vaccinara (RM46). Its crunchy exterior protects a richly delicious ox tail stew, Vaccinara style. Bloody Mary sauce and dill mayonnaise moisten the block.

la scala kl
Cubo di Coda Alla Vaccinara 
Tuna Tartare will come out in the March menu, but we get a sneak peak tonight. Tiny cubes of green apple add a fruity freshness and, pistachio, a nutty finish. The three distinct flavours merge together to form a satisfying mouthful.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Tuna Tartare
Foie gras with cheese fondue, organic honey and onion jam are the fundamentals behind Torcione di fegato d’Oca (RM84) and has both hubby and I moaning in delight.

la scala kl
Torcione di fegato d’Oca
The Italian white wine, Greco di Tufo Feudi di San Gregorio 2012 (RM288) is from the same region as the chef.  We must have it! Hubby only drinks white wine (I enjoy both) so we need something that’s full flavoured to accompany our meatier dishes such as the ox and duck. I detect light aromas of minerals, the forest and, herbs on the nose and experience a fresh, full body with a mid length finish in the mouth. We’d definitely order this again.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Greco di Tufo Feudi di San Gregorio 2012
Chef Lucio Russo is crazy about his pasta. He makes everything from scratch and delivers a spirited monologue on what defines real Italian pasta. He insists that there will be no compromises and no adaptations in his proudly Italian kitchen. He’s keeping to the traditions and keen to educate about authentic cuisine from his homeland.

Fresh egg pasta is made every day. It only takes a few minutes to cook so, is never precooked (as is often the case with dried pasta), it’s always prepared a la minute. Even lasagna is made in single portions. There’s no prepackaged anything. Risotto too is made in the moment. “So expect a 20 minute delay,” he says, “If you want the best, you have to allow time for it. You have to wait.” He cuts no corners in his kingdom. We’re enthused by his passion and can’t wait to try his personal recipes.

Quattro Ravioli (RM62) features four different stuffings in four different colours. Taleggio cheese and walnut pesto; eggplant parmigiana; porcini and pecorino cheese and; ricotta and spinach, flavour the centres. It’s a fetching presentation with the rainbow of tints. Each piece is big enough to be cut into halves or quarters and hubby shows some self-restraint tonight, cutting them neatly in half so I can taste a bite of each. Each filling is distinct and we’re happy to have the option to try four varieties on one plate.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Quattro Ravioli 
From the Valentine’s menu we try the Ravioli Rosa. 24kt gold-flaked pink ravioli are stuffed with Genovese ragout. Chef says everything on the Valentine’s menu is heart shaped to bring happiness for the girl. I like that theory and the pasta too.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Ravioli Rosa
Hubby insists on tortellini, as he recalls fond memories of our travels through Italy with local friends, where it was nothing to drive for an hour and a half to dine on the best in the country. Tortellini al Taleggio (RM52) doesn’t disappoint. Thin shreddings of cheese and turkey ham add a hearty homey-ness to the dish and appease our longings for the taste of Emilia (home of tortellini).

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Tortellini al Taleggio
Anatra Scaloppata, duck breast roasted with raspberry and Bronte pistachios, is from the Valentine’s menu but will soon become part of the regular menu in March. A fan of sliced flesh bases the plate. The duck is simply roasted in oil and salt, producing a medium rare finish. It’s softly pink in the middle and tender, with a salty skin. The middle of the plate is a large raspberry heart. The sauce is fruity and tart. The top corner hosts a mound of garden leaves with salt, balsamic and oil. The three together are an amazingly delicious combination. It’s a good idea to try all three separately then, experiment with the trio together. This turns out to be hubby’s favourite and we’re sure it will also be a hit with Malaysians.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Anatra Scaloppata
With chef’s pastry background, you’d be a fool to miss desserts. We’ve heard the Tiramisu is the best in the city, but we also see a ginger crème brulee, pear and ricotta… and… and… chef suggests we end as we started with a degustation platter, allowing us to try a number of sweets.

The importance of maintaining integrity of traditional Italian fare is clearly evident in the main courses at La Scala. Pastry however, is a little indulgence of chef’s fantasies. He likes to play with the mind by putting together unlikely combinations that form something pleasing for the palate, but entertaining for the intellect, such as his tomato ice cream.

We find the Tiramisu creamily addictive, with high quality mascarpone imported directly from Italy the key ingredient. It proves that the simple pleasures in life don’t need to be messed with. Hubby cheers on my thoughts, “Outstanding. This has the wow factor,” as he scrapes the sides of the dish.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Tiramisu 
The Ginger Crème Brulee has just a hint of spice, with thick creamy custard dominating the mouth. Wafer thin caramelization lines the top forming an elegant guard for the richness below. 

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Ginger Crème Brulee 
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla English Cream (opening picture) is dark, warm and gooey. Even hubby, who’s not usually into chocolate, lets out a satisfied sigh upon tasting it. Finally, Ricotta and Pear, a famous dish from the Amafi coast, uses a hazelnut basket instead of the customary biscuit. Fluffy soft white cheese embraces delicate pieces of pear and, it too, soon disappears.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Ricotta and Pear
A trio of house made gelato arrives as a final treat. Pistachio, basil and tomato (sorbet) arouse our curiosity. Both the pistachio and basil are strongly flavoured with their identifying ingredients. The tomato variety is rich, almost having the same intensity as a full-flavoured pasta sauce. They’re all balanced in sweetness and intrigue, and melt quickly – no artificial stabilizers here. It’s a fun way to end and we’re thoroughly convinced we’ll return again in the not so distance future.

La Scala Italian Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Gelato
Reason to visit: traditional, superbly executed Italian cuisine; elegant ambience; good wine list (over 200 labels); many vegetarian dishes; Bellinis; beef carpaccio; ox cubes; fresh pasta; duck; intriguing gelato flavours.

La Scala Italian Restaurant
183 Jalan Mayang (off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng)
Kuala Lumpur 50450
Malaysia
+6 03 2161 2291
info@lascala.my
Lunch:  Monday to Friday 12noon – 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Pork free
Parking is on site with the entrance either via Jalan Mayang or Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.
La Scala is also walking distance from KLCC and Avenue K. 


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