With floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with Italian kitchen staples and the widest selection of Italian wines in Kuala Lumpur, a deli case bursting with Italian meats and cheeses, and a sweet little bar fronting an authentically macho espresso machine, Neroteca is the closest thing to an enoteca this side of Florence.
A recent meal got off to a shaky start when a request for a negroni, a whalloppacking Italian aperitivo-hour staple made with gin, Campari, and vermouth resulted instead in a mix of orange juice and barely a whisper of liquor, but the restaurant quickly redeemed itself with the tagliera Neroteca. The cold plate, consisting of rippling waves of thinly sliced imported salumi (including three types of salami, two types of ham, and mortadella), easily satisfied four as a starter even though the menu suggested two to share. One needn’t eschew meat to appreciate the Vegetariano, a slab of smoked scamorza cheese, oozy from a turn under the grill, surrounded by tasty bits and bobs from Neroteca’s antipasti case.
In Italy, one often does better to stick with the pasta course and give secondi, or mains, a miss. While some of Neroteca’s secondi shine — mussels, when available, are cooked simply with white wine and tomatoes and served with plenty of sauce to be sopped up with the restaurant’s excellent bread, and the grilled fish of the day is doused with wonderfully peppery olive oil — it’s the restaurant’s pasta dishes that are likely to prompt a return visit. Rustic orriechette Pugliese, for instance, boasts a brilliant pairing of garlicky sausage with lightly bitter broccoli, while fusilli de la casa, gorgonzola-robed ‘corkscrews’ dotted with bits of tomato and zippy chilli salami, is pure comfort food.
Dolce (sweets) are worth saving room for. Panna cotta, or ‘cooked milk’, is smooth, silky and appropriately wobbly, if a bit vanilla-heavy, and bunet served with ice cream is a chocoholic’s delight. After dessert dip into Neroteca’s selection of grappa, if you dare. The warm ambience and friendly staff invite lingering. Robyn Eckhardt
Neroteca was shortlisted in the Best Italian Restaurant category of the Time Out KL Food Awards 2009. Benj Conway was specially commended in the Restauranteur of the Year category in 2010. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.
Seri Bukit Ceylon
8 Lorong Ceylon
|Opening hours:||mon-Fri, 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-11.30pm; Sat, 6pm-11.30pm; Sun, 11.30am-11.30pm|