Word travels fast when good food is involved. Ergo, despite the fact that the new Plaza Damas 3 is still largely uninhabited, the tiny corner nook that is the newly opened iCook is a-bustle with diners during its nightly dinner service. Owned by Nicola Carradori, erstwhile with Delucca and the now-defunct Markethall, the Plaza Damas branch is the second in the series of iCook restaurants, with the first being located in Petaling Jaya.
Endearingly intimate, with a setting that encourages diners to kick back and relax, iCook in Plaza Damas also has one key difference from its ‘older sibling’ in that it serves pork. Gloriously fragrant pancetta is prominently featured throughout a menu that encompasses everything from a thoughtful selection of less than common antipasti to a comprehensive array of pastas, pizzas and – surprise – even burgers.
The twice-cooked pancetta with braised lentils and buttered cabbage makes for a buxom starter, as does the trippa alla Fiorentina, although tripe with grana cheese in all its offal glory may understandably not be everyone’s cup of tea. More accessible is the polpettine alla Toscana, and owner Nicola readily admits that the meatballs are a crowd favourite here, which isn’t surprising since Hartamas isn’t exactly the most progressive gastronomic area of KL. The funghi gratinati piccanti comprising oven baked seasonal mushrooms with goat’s cheese and chilli held a lot of promise but was ultimately let down by the less than suitable cheese pairing, for the over-enthusiastic character of the goat’s cheese tended to stifle rather than complement the woody flavours of the mushrooms.
The fantasia di bruschetta was also recommended by the chef, but the ‘fantasy’ toppings turned out to be rather pedestrian and included a too-tart tapenade and tomato/onions/basil combo balanced on unwieldy pieces of bruschetta. And although the scalloppa saltata in padella with scallops seared in a butter sage sauce with a cauliflower puree, roast tomato salsa and crispy pancetta had a lot going on, the amalgamation of the ingredients was considerably more successful and proved to be a winner.
A massive pasta selection includes such classic sauces as pesto, napoletana, arrabbiata and amatriciana, but you’d be well rewarded to give the signature pastas a spin. Fresh tortellini filled with ricotta and pumpkins in a rosemary sauce, rigatoni with Tuscan style duck ragout and chilli, and penne with a white wine, pork sausage, dried tomato and honey mustard cream sauce all make for interesting dining choices.
Additionally, burgers and pizzas feature prominently on the surprisingly exhaustive menu, and this means you won’t be bored no matter how regularly you patronise iCook, which is just as well, since the little eatery shows great promise and every sign that it is there to stay. Fay Khoo
|Venue name:||iCook Plaza Damas||Contact:|
Plaza Damas 3
63 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1