ilLido Kuala Lumpur,
183 Jalan Mayang (off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng),
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2161 2291
Business hours: Mondays-Fridays (noon-2.30pm)
and Mondays-Saturdays (6.30pm-10.30pm).

NOTHING beats a nice cocktail and little nibbles on a rooftop with a view of the beauty of the resplendent Petronas Twin Towers. And ilLido restaurant is just the place for it.

Nestled along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, the Italian restaurant is the ideal spot for pre-dinner drinks and a new Bacari menu will get things started.

ilLido Lounge Bar’s Bacari menu is Venetian-inspired and modelled after the famous Bacari bars that open in the mornings for light snacks and wine.

Chef Andrea Zanella has delectable dishes such as Baked Scallops with Garlic & Parsley Oil, Baby Octopus in Spicy Sauce, Grilled Prawn Skewer with Garlic Sauce, and Roasted Goose Liver and Pumpkin Morsels.

The scallops were sweet and went really well with the oil on a bed of polenta, while the spicy sauce complemented the baby octopus to perfection. The prawns were succulent and grilled with great care while the pumpkin morsels added a sweet touch to the goose liver — a perfect balance of yin and yang.

Zanella, who has been in Malaysia for over 11 years, has worked in a number of restaurants including Chiaroscuro in Jalan Bedara and has ventured to neighbouring Bangkok in 2001 for four years before returning to Malaysian shores.

F3623F57124E4433A851D783FA181E74Savoury bites :Grilled Prawn Skewer with Garlic Sauce.

He has put together dishes that were unique, tantalising and truly Italian for the main course dinner at the ilLido restaurant downstairs.

Each course was matched with excellent wines from Italy including Ruffino, Orvietto Classico, Le Rime and Valpolicella Allegnni.

Appetisers are always important in my book as it opens the palate for the rest of the meal and Zanella presented Home Smoked Tuna with Beetroot and Horseradish, and Steamed Crayfish Tails with Spicy Bean Salad.

“The tuna is common back home and I used a little bit of Sicilian technique and added some beetroot. I like the sharpness of the horseradish as well,” said Zanella.

6F06D7DEF529422AB715C0C76ABCDDE5Fresh from the sea: The scallops are served on a bed of polenta.

No Italian meal is complete without customary pasta and risotto and two of the recommended dishes are Ewe’s Milk Ravioli with Truffle and Honey Sauce as well as Champagne Risotto with Truffle.

The ewe’s milk was surprisingly delicious, with its soft texture. The ravioli melted in my mouth with every bite and the truffle infused with honey sauce added a sweet flavour to the milk.

“The idea came from a dessert ravioli from Sardinia,” said Zanella. He intended to mix cheese with honey and presented it like a pasta, as the original dish was too sweet for Malaysian palate.

For the main course, Zanella made Lamb Cutlets with Homemade Spicy Sausage and Rosemary Potatoes and Duck Breast with Sweet Onions and Grain Mustard Sauce.

“Duck is considered a peasant’s food and is popular in northern Italy where there are swamps.”

“The duck used in this dish is imported from Italy. It is first de-boned and dry marinated with salt, sugar and spices including clove, black pepper and rosemary for 12 hours,” he said.

The meat was then cooked in the bain marie (water bath) which is a French technique where meat is cooked at a controlled temperature at 55°C for two and a half hours.

Dessert was a gastronomical journey in its own right with Vanilla Pannacotta with Red Berries and Lemon Flan with Fresh Strawberries. Lemon Flan was inspired by the molten lava chocolate cake popular in ilLido.

Zanella said not many dishes were made from lemon and in Sorento, lemons were big deal and typically Italian.

He took two months to perfect the dessert to get the right balance of texture and flavour.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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