Jalan Dutamas 1
182, Jalan Tun Razak
Tel: (03) 6207 9799
Chef Mirko Barbieri is dedicated to authentic flavours from his native Bologna in Italy. His fluid menu changes according to the fresh ingredients available.
THE Fried Tomino Cheese with Iberico Ham, topped with sundried tomato, got us off to a good start at Osteria Realblue, an Italian restaurant in Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.
The mild cheese just needed that rich, salty tang from the ham to bring it all together. Then we were on to the Baby Burratta from south Italy, drizzled with truffle oil and surrounded by arugula and bits of sundried tomato. We took bites of this smooth mozzarella with cream, breathing in the lovely aroma of truffle oil.
Before this, we had been presented with a yummy amuse bouche of bruschetta with black truffle and another of marinated tomato.
Osteria RealBlue’s chef and owner Mirko Barbieri is from Bologna, Italy. He’s dedicated to traditional Bolognaise cooking, replicating its authentic flavours in his dishes, but his restaurant also offers specialities from Piedmont, Tuscany, and other parts of the country. His wife Sherry Goh is Malaysian but has lived in Bologna since 1994, and speaks fluent Italian.
Mirko worked 15 years as an electronics engineer in Italy before turning to cooking as a hobby. He would help out in restaurants on special occasions and even went for cooking classes in the evening. So fired up about his “hobby” was he that Mirko decided to rent a licence to operate a restaurant in Italy.
“To own a licence costs €1.5mil in Italy,” said Sherry. “You run the restaurant for one to two years, do well, and they want to take back the licence.”
So she and Mirko decided to invest in a restaurant here. Osteria RealBlue has been opened for more than a year. Sherry manages the front of the house. She’s chatty and friendly, letting diners know what’s available off the menu. That was how we came to know about the wonderful risotto this restaurant serves.
We couldn’t get enough of the Risotto with Pancetta and Mushrooms. It was creamy, cheesy and al dente, releasing lovely aromas of the pancetta – pork belly cured with spices – and the mushrooms. Black truffle with risotto is such a heavenly combination; it makes you pause and breathe in the aromas before eating with relish the sticky grains of rice.
Sherry also recommended the Oxtail with Milanese Risotto – oxtail braised in red wine for six to eight hours.
Everything is made in the restaurant, including the pancetta, pasta and bread. A basket of freshly baked bread appeared on the table together with Italian “sambal”, and the usual olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip. The hot “sambal” was made with anchovies.
Layers of pasta with four kinds of cheese in between, mushrooms and black truffle shavings were in the Crespelle Al Formaggio E Tartufo which was baked in a small claypot. The edges of the pasta were golden and crispy; the centre of it was al dente. You cut through and taste the creamy cheesiness, the truffle aromas coming through. Mirko is generous with the truffle, which makes the flavours sensational. You would love it so much you would want to order another portion.
“It’s my husband’s recipe,” said Sherry.
The Eggplant Parmiagiana awakened the senses with its scrumptious layers of baked eggplant layered with cheese and tomato sauce. It was moist, tart and rich with melted Pecorino Romano cheese and mozzarella.
It was hard to beat the taste of the Florentine T-bone steak from Italy, which was at least 1kg in weight and should be shared. On one side was the ribeye and on the other was the tenderloin. The steak was grilled with olive oil, a special salt and herbs. It looked almost burnt but the inside was rare, sweet and succulent. We ate every bit – it was so good! It was served with a flourish with a knife stuck into it.
We loved Osteria’s Tagliatelle alla Bolognaise which had three types of meat in the sauce – pork, parma ham and beef. It’s the original Bolognaise sauce, said Sherry. Gnocchi with bacon and mushrooms or with truffles, Angel hair with seafood, and Ravioli with Spinach and pesto sauce are the other pasta dishes.
Mirko will also cook a Wild Boar Lasagne on special request.
“Have you tried our Grilled Ikan Haruan with a stuffing of crabmeat, olives, herbs and a special salt?” asked Sherry. You have to book this two days in advance. She also informs regular diners about what’s available for the weekend, such as smoked mozzarella, burrata cheese and baby pork ribs from Italy.
Our lunch had built up to a crescendo, and we were looking for a divine ending. We got it with the Tiramisu, the silky smooth Panna Cotta with blueberry topping, and a Crème Brulee flambed with Armagnac.
Profiteroles are also on the dessert menu, and once a month (or if you ask for it in advance), you could get Risotto Cake, a traditional dessert from Bologna.
“It’s cooked with milk, a sweet liquor like sherry, with crushed biscuits, dried fruits and almonds and baked in the oven,” said Sherry.