FOR THOSE WHO have travelled to the land of pasta, Italian food in Malaysia rarely lives up to those treasured meals of memories. There are, thankfully, exceptions, and the cosy buzz of Italiannies is matched by a menu that features tasty Italian dishes that are large in portion and soothing to the soul.
I visited the newest of their six outlets (in Paradigm Mall) to be greeted with the hunger-inducing sight of pizzas being prepared in the open kitchen. These delicious Italian treats are matched on the menu with pastas, salads, soups, meaty mains and puddings, in all, a range that satiates both novices and serious Italian foodies. There is a great value set lunch, and a compact drinks list featuring wines and bottled beers alongside the hot and cold softies.
To complement the a la carte menu, Italiannies has embarked on an eight-month promotion that will showcase the edible stars from four different regions of Italy, providing diners an opportunity to taste lesser-spotted Italian classics and understand more about the speciality regions. The first region was Campagnia, the southern home of seafood, and from now until the end of October the pasta heartland of Emilia-Romagna will be shifting onto centre stage.
Lasagne may be the most famous dish to emerge from this region, but Head Chef Azril Azmi decided to delve a little deeper into the cookbooks of Emilia-Romagna. The result is one starter, four mains, and a pudding that rely heavily on pasta, meats, and lots of cheese: a trio destined to soar. Pasta eaters are divided into two categories: cream-seekers will be delighted by the Tortellini con Funghi Bosca, which daubs silky, ricotta and spinach stuffed tortellini with al fredo sauce and mushrooms, while tomato-aficionados will prefer the Baked Ziti: penne piled with beef ragout and cartloads of cheese.
Meat gets a serious worshipping session thanks to the whopper lamb shank sitting on polenta and herby vegetables in Stinco di Agnello Brasato, and the beef stew loaded on pasta in Spezzatino di Manzo con Papardelle. The charming names are matched by wholesome tastes, and portion sizes that must be shared to ensure space for the creamy, tiramisu-style Italian Trifle that comes for afters.
Choices need not be agonised over: diners pick up a “passport” and gain a stamp each time they dine from this special menu, thus being able to return to try a new dish and redeem a free reward at the same time. For those for whom Italy is but a distant memory, enjoy the next best thing; a wholesome meal at Italiannies, where flavours are honest, portions are epic, and lingering is inevitable. By Sarah Rees
Fact File :
Paradigm Mall (Kelana Jaya); The Curve (Mutiara Damansara); The Gardens (Mid Valley City); Sunway Pyramid (Bandar Sunway); Empire Shopping Centre (Subang Jaya); Paragon Mall (Gurney Drive).
Set Lunch (three courses+Pepsi): RM29.90++
A La Carte: Appetizers from RM17.90;
Pasta from RM18.90; Pizza from RM30;
Mains from RM24.90; Desserts from RM14.90.