Johor Kaki was invited to visit Villa Danieli, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur's famous fine Italian restaurant.
I have not been back to Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur for over a decade but I have a fuzzy warm feeling for this grand old lady of KL hotels when I stepped in. It could be the authentic Italian ristorante feel, but it is more than that. I just can't pin it down yet.
I was awe struck with the opulent decor with huge columns and interesting wall murals. As we were shown to our table, I felt instantly transported from tropical Malaysia to a lavish Italian Mediterranean villa. The large cavernous restaurant has many private spaces, perfect for a quiet candlelight evening.
The eye catching murals created by renown architect and artist Mindy Lehrman Cameron are humourous depictions of everyday family life and dining in Italy.
Once we were seated, our youthful, knowledgeable, and professional waiter helped us with Villa Danieli's extensive menu.
While we waited for our food, we were served a basket of warm house made bread and bread sticks which we ate with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip. The fresh bread and dip were simply marvellous.
While enjoying my bread with black olives, onion and sun dried cherry tomatoes, I spotted a wood fired brick oven along a side wall near the open kitchen.
Me being me, I couldn't help skipping over to the oven like a moth attracted to the licking orange flames.
Peeking into the window, I saw a heated face off between the log fire and a pizza flat on the oven floor. The fiercely burning flame was arching over and reaching out to
Spotting the chef in action, I struck up a conversation with him.
Chef Gaetano Di Stefano joined Villa Danieli as the Italian Chef just six months ago. A youthful 31, Chef Gaetano who hails from Sicily, Italy has already served in the Italian kitchens of restaurants and hotels in Italy, Germany, Malta, Dubai and Seychelles before coming to Kuala Lumpur.
I observed that Chef Gaetano is a hands on chef, personally preparing and cooking the dishes.
As Chef Gaetano was busy, I quickly hopped back to my table :-D
We started off with this White Asparagus appetiser pan fried with onion and Foie Gras Terrine served with berry sauce and sun dried cherry tomatoes.
The soft juicy white asparagus spears infused with sweet savoury onion and berry sauce still have a gentle crunch to the bite.
The slab of foie gras terrine was creamy and smooth like butter with deep rich savoury flavours and quite pronounced gaminess, the kind that I love :-D
For mains, we had Tonno Alla Griglia or Grilled Tuna Loin RM105++.
Thick chunks of tuna loin done medium rare, grilled to a slight char outside, coated with a white and black sesame crust. The meaty grilled loins were set on a cushion of peperonata and served on a pool of lemon butter sauce.
The flavour of tender juicy fresh tuna loin was balanced with the sweet savouriness of stewed chili pepper and onion together with the zesty butteriness of the golden yellow lemon butter sauce.
If you are a tuna lover, try this Italian way of enjoying this delicious fish.
Risotto Allo Zafferano Saffron Risotto served with beef stew RM60++
Creamy buttery oozy sweet savoury gummy grainy rice with aromatic saffron. The beefy brown sauce gave the risotto an added layer of savouriness. The juicy cubes of tenderly chewy stewed beef were rich with beefy savouriness.
Linguine Aglio E Olio.
Con Gamberi Linguine Aglio Olio with prawns, rucola (arugula) and cherry tomatoes RM65++
The thin narrow ribbon pasta was done soft al dente and served with a thick, slick, rich savoury sweet sauce. The pan seared meaty prawns were crunchy and sweet. The grassy greens added interesting refreshing flavours to the crustacean savoury dish.
Parma Pizza Tomato.
Freshly made bread slathered with house made tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese, sea salt aged beef, arugula leaves, Parmesan cheese shavings and truffle oil RM65++
The house made crust baked in the 400°C wood fired oven is lightly browned with slightly charred edges. The blend of mozzarella and Parmesan with beef parma strips gave the sweetish chewy crust a layered kind of savoury flavours.
For desserts, we started with Sicilian Cannolo Ricotta Cheese with pistachios, dried fruits and chocolate with raspberry sauce RM35++
The classic Sicilian sweet dessert with crispy crumbly shell filled with sweet ricotta and creamy cheese is a fine way to end the scrumptious dinner on a sweet note.
Tortino Al Cioccolato Chocolate Lava Cake served with strawberry and walnut ice cream RM 36++
Another staple Italian sweet dessert that never fails to please. Served in a cup, the molten lava doesn't flow but the thick chocolate lava's bitter sweetness tasted deep and rich.
Villa Danieli serves an extensive range of Italian (needless to say) wines to pair with our dinner, though we didn't try any that evening.
👍 A cozy, romantic Mediterranean getaway from the bustling, car mad city. We enjoyed the fine Italian dishes, love the luxurious ambiance and appreciate the warm, attentive service.
Villa Danieli also has laid back pool side dining with a splendid view of the KL Tower.
As we stepped out and walk down this flight of red granite stairs framed by dark hardwood after a great evening, thanks to Chef Gaetano and his team at Villa Danieli, everything suddenly came back.
It was here at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur back in 2001 that I organised a function at the grand ballroom at the top of these stairs. How quickly even milestone events are now buried deep in the recesses of my mind......
Restaurant name: Villa Danieli
Address: Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
GPS: 3.158945, 101.699991 / 3°09'32.2"N 101°41'60.0"E
Tel: +6 03 2717 9900
Hours: Lunch - Monday - Sat & Public Holidays (12.00 pm - 2.30 pm) | Dinner - Monday - Sunday (6.30 pm - 10.00 pm) | Italian Prosecco Brunch – Every Sunday (11.00 pm - 3.00 pm)
No pork, no lard, alcohol served
Date visited: 6 Jun 2016
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