Due to the plethora of cuisines in Malaysia, growing up as a Malaysian has definitely spoiled our taste buds. The distinctive flavor, style of cooking and matter of presentation varies, yet the ability to distinguish the source of differentiation remains buried in many. I wouldn't be shameless to admit that I, myself, fall into the similar category. Despite so, I beg to differ. I could be an amateur, but I would be better.
The Peeping Bread
My curiosity to the plate of nicely tossed of pasta, dressed in the fragrance and texture of extra virgin olive oil and melted cheese, and adorned with few parsley leaves has never faded even when I was young. The attentiveness to presentation had put me in awe; the smell of cheese and extra virgin oil had lured me to sniff; the whirl of smoke dancing around the pasta had coaxed me to dig in greedily and enjoy the Italian goodness it is yet to unleash.
Appetizer with Fried Cod Fish
From mom's homecook pasta, street style pasta to Italiannies, it was then I realised what I have been missing out. To amplify the subject matter, my first proper Italian encounter was officially here, at Villa Danieli, nested in one of the Starwood hotels in Jalan Sultan Ismail, namely the Sheraton Imperial KL. We shall skip the pasta and steak and let the other fancy Italian cuisines do the talking.
Herbs Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Arugula, Parmesan Cracker and Modena Reduction
What made me keep wanting for more was this beautifully crafted carpaccio. Barely the thickness of a piece of paper, this carpaccio could barely withstand a slightest pressure. Despite the raw-ness in it, I found myself fancy the unusual taste of carpaccio. I believe the herbs should took the most credit for it. It was so lovely that the only thing I would wish for was a slightly more parmesan cracker that complemented the taste and texture of uncooked meat, not forgetting the masculine arugula.
And guess what, another platter of carpaccio was sent to the table right away.
Villa Danieli has definitely changed my whole perception of Italian food as the seemingly simplest dish could be a whole new experience altogether with some casual play with ingredients. Lying on this colorful platter was my favorite Zucchini. The whole idea of grilling with red wine sauce had put me in awe (that probably because I don't cook :p) and with brown sugar baked ricotta, it blew my mind! However, it did not seem as intrusive as it was perceived. Balanced and mild, whether you had it with ricotta or not.
Grilled Vegetable Selection with Brown Sugar Baked Ricotta and Red Wine Sauce
Perhaps this was the funniest dish I have ever heard. My guests were going all hilarious about this "ngiuk-keee". Bemused I was, I picked up the menu and there I spotted the culprit, "Gnocchi". In terms of shape and look, it shared great similarity to a Chinese dish that I was once introduced to, except that the texture of gnocchi was denser and more chewy than the version I had, which was made of yam. The boldness in flavor and fullness of texture were what I love most. I could literally stop any of my guests from stealing my "ngiuk-keee"!
Potato Gnocchi with Hand Chopped Veal Ragout Piemonte's Way
Dishes after dishes, Villa Danieli had enticed the whole palette of my insensitive taste buds, easing them into more excitement ahead and it was true! Pardon me for being unconvinced at the first place, this melting beef cheek was indeed as glorious as it claimed. There wasn't a slightest resistance that I was expecting and every bite into the beef cheek made me feel like eating semi molten chocolate bar. That creaminess was taunting me to have more, and I shall *grasp my fist* not missed having another one :D
Melting Beef Cheek, Olive Oil Mashed Potato, Leek and Roasted Asparagus
I was totally beefy-loaded for the night but that wouldn't stop me from having another one. This mouth-watering beef sirloin was served in such pick-me-up portion that you just couldn't excuse yourself from not eating it. Tenderly seared, it was another delicacy that I wouldn't get it elsewhere. Sans the pasta and steak, Villa Danieli has made my first proper Italian encounter perfecto!
Seared and Sliced Beef Sirloin, Fresh Rosemary and Glazed Vegetable Caponata