"Pizza in KL just got serious.."
Unlike burgers, pizza hasn't really hit its boom... yet. Is it because they're harder to make or get right than burgers? We're not sure ourselves. However, there are some good independent pizza places in the Klang Valley. These are restaurants that have dedicated people making their own, home-made style pizzas. Often they taste better too compared to the usual 'delivery' pizzas from you-know-who-they-are.
Mikey's Original New York Pizza
in Bangsar is one such place. It's a Mat Salleh owned place, as proprietors Michael Helfman and Andrew Belucci hail from the USA and have been making pizza since the 90s.
Welcome to Mikey's!
A dearth of good pizza restaurants was what prompted them to open up their own in KL. Ever since they started earlier this year, Mikey's has been getting some good buzz on social networks. The restaurant is clean and stylish
, easily echoing an American-Italian eatery with its chess-board floor and brick walls decorated with old-timey posters and pictures. More »
"All in-house dough is handmade"
Chef Nicola Carradori has given his hands and experience to many notable restaurants before settling to open his own place. Looking to present customers withItalian flavours, he’s set a menu that leaves people spoilt for choice. They’re presented all over the walls charmingly on chalkboard menus. We give you the top three dishes to try here at iCook Italian Gastronomia.
For pasta, try the house specialty, Chicken Tortelloni. The dish comes in folds of moist, fresh pasta, dripping with creamy sauce. The sauce is delightful – full bodied with a mouth-watering flavour of mascarpone cheese, blended well with rosemary and porcini. Minced chicken filling is soft and tender, with a taste full of onions and herbs. iCook also has a selection of pasta in various styles and sauce: Aglio Olio, Carbonara, Marinara and Bolognese.
What’s an Italian meal out without some pizza? At iCook, the wide selection of toppings will definitely have your stomachs growling. We tried the Quattro Stagioni Pizza, and it comes steaming on a wooden platter. The self made pizza dough was very soft and spongy, unlike the crispy thin crust we expected. It’s slathered with a generous base of tangy tomato sauce and sprinkled with chicken ham, artichokes, mushroom and olives.
For sandwiches, we had the Fattoria Smoked Salmon Panini. The smoked salmon came in juicy slices that oozed with flavours – salty and smoky, complimenting the crunchy salad and fluffy bread. Dough in the restaurant is all handmade and you can tell by the spongy texture and soft bite. The Panini is served with a side of chunky potato wedges and blended tomato sauce. More »
"All I can say is magnifico!"
Pizza Brava is an Italian restaurant owned by a group of friends that specializes in pasta and wood-fire pizza. They have other stuff on their menu, like a selection of starters, meat and seafood entrees and desserts, but the focus is definitely on the quintessential Italian pastas and wood fire oven pizzas; An entire side of their double-sided, A3 sized menu is dedicated to pizza and pasta.
As one could guess from the tagline beneath the restaurant name, the restaurant is proud in having a wood fire oven, a relative rarity for local pizzerias. Their pizzas cook in next to no time using this oven.
The restaurant is brightly lit and very minimalist in décor and design. Jars of anchovies and tomato sauce, cans of olive and olive oil as well as Pellegrino bottles adorn the racks and shelves. At the front of the restaurant is their pizza area, and at the back is their open pasta kitchen. The restaurant seats about 30-40 people maximum, attended by staff dressed in black. I went with a friend to sample their offerings.
We settled on simple tomato Bruschetta (RM8.90) to start with. The Bruschetta were surprisingly large slices of toasted bread, about half a dozen to plate. The chopped tomato topping was zesty with lemon, garlic and parsley, although it could do with a bit more salt and pepper. More »
"We were oohing and aahing in pleasure"
Restaurateur Beppe de Vito brought the Il Lido brand here in the hopes of changing Malaysia’s fine dining scene. With over 15 years of experience in the fine dining scene in Hong Kong and Singapore he is surely qualified to give the fine dining market here a push.
The sleek and trendy restaurant here certainly does impress. Interiors are in hues of grey, gold, black and chrome and the dim lighting with downlights strategically placed above each table elevate the experience. This is certainly the spot to choose if you’re looking to enjoy a romantic dinner, a quiet family meal, or engage in a business talk over pasta and wine.
We started off our dinner with the pan-fried goose liver as well as a rucola salad with Pecorino cheese, walnuts and pear. The goose liver here is silky smooth and seared just right. Pears, nuts, and cheese are an amazing match and you can hardly go wrong with it. We were a bit disappointed though to find that they skimped a bit on the Pecorino, which is the best part. All in all, lovely appetizers that got our mouths watering for more.
Next we moved on to the pasta course where we shared a linguine with jumbo prawns and spicy pork sausage, a pumpkin tortelli with sage, and a champagne risotto with shaved truffle. The spicy heat is much appreciated in the linguine dish, it cuts the richness of the prawn and amps up the flavour. The pumpkin filled tortelli is pure genius, the chunky sweet filling pairs well with the tangy drizzle of aged balsamic. The one that tops my list however, is the risotto. This one screams pure fatty indulgence. It is rich with the pungent shaved truffle giving it a wonderful muskiness. A total orgasm in the mouth! More »
"Golden fried morsels packed with flavour"
This is the sort of spot to enjoy a hearty Italian dinner and on Friday and Saturday nights there are all sorts of Jazz acts that take the stage for the guest’s entertainment. The quirky arty décor coupled with the cement floors and music theme makes this a swanky cool place to hang out.
The menus are printed on old records and a presented in record sleeves, and the tablemat is a retro photo of a turntable. This is done tastefully without looking like a cheesy theme restaurant and the whole ambience has a whole New York jazz lounge feel to it.
The pastas here are made fresh every other day and I was excited to try them out. To start off with we sampled the deep fried prawn balls. These golden fried morsels are packed with flavour with tiny bits of zucchini and carrot strewn throughout. This can also be ordered as a soufflé if you don’t want a fried starter.
"Creamy, pungent and extremely satisfying"
Psst…over here…I have a little secret to tell you…there’s a new Italian kid on the block serving up hearty delicious food. If you ask me, the bread alone is a reason to go. Crusty freshly baked loaves are served up with interesting dips such as creamy potato with truffles, anchovy and tomato, and basil cream cheese. I knew I had a lot to sample but that could not stop me from slathering slice after slice with these mouthwatering spreads.
The food here is meant to encourage family style eating. Order a few dishes for everyone to tuck into. The creamy buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes is divine and the mussels stuffed with chicken is an unusual treat. Favola has put a lot of emphasis on their starters as they’re starting up a lunch crudo bar where for just RM39 you can have all the bread and appetizers you want. This is certainly value for money. Don’t just go for the starters though because there is a whole lot more to enjoy!
What is an Italian place without pasta? Here you can order traditional pastas that might not be as common including one that is baked in a parcel and served up for you to unwrap. If you enjoy ravioli I would recommend the one stuffed with cheese and mushrooms. It is creamy, pungent and extremely satisfying. I love the pasta here as it is cooked perfectly al dente with a nice bite to it. The rich robust sauces are simply a nice bonus.
"It's almost a shame to destroy this"
Our evening started off at the bar area where we sipped on wine and nibbled on an assortment of bruschetta topped with creamy mushrooms, olive tapenade, and chopped tomatoes with basil. My favourite without a doubt is the olive tapenade made with finely minced tangy kalamata olives and just a hint of garlic. The creamy mushrooms have a mild buttery creaminess to it but they lack strong flavours which I am partial to.
They have a great selection of mouth watering appetizers and we have trouble narrowing it down to just a few choices. For cold starters we decide to go with the prosciutto and melon (a must in traditional Italian cuisine) as well as the buffalo mozzarella salad. The sweet ripe cantaloupe paired with the saltiness of the thin slice of prosciutto was just heavenly! There’s something about that sweet salty taste that gets me every time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the rich fresh creamy slices of buffalo mozzarella with juicy tomato. For the warm appetizers we chose beef carpaccio the pan seared scallops wrapped in bacon. The thinly sliced beef is tender and delicious with a light hint of lemon and olive oil and the scallops were extremely flavourful with within crisp salty pork bacon wrap.
A specialty dish here is the spaghetti aglio olio with fresh seafood (mussels, prawns, and squid). It is served wrapped up in a paper which you undo once it reaches your table. The reason they do this is to seal in the aroma which is meant to hit you just as you open it up. When you do you are hit with the unmistakable scent of truffle oil, garlic, and oceany seafood. Take a deep whiff before you tuck in as this adds to the experience. There is also a little something special added for the Malaysian palate and we discovered this once we took a bite; sliced chilli padi has been added into the mix giving it a mild spicy hit. This dish alone gives me a reason to return!