Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tatto - Starship ambiance, fabulous prawns!

Seems to have been quite a week for Italian cuisine. Starting with a visit to Icook in Sri Hartamas with foodie friends from the Amante della Cucina Italia on Thursday 6th, we were at the Gallo D'Oro in Singapore on Friday 7th, Favola in Le Meridien on Tuesday 11th and now with the IWFS at Tatto on Thursday 13th. An old friend we ran into said I had put on weight. I wonder why. Am indeed feeling darn fat and in need of a good stretch of starvation and exercise. Feels like I need a good vacation from food though it doesn't look like one is in prospect, not with the IWFS APZ taking place here in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks. I'm pretty sure that I will pack all this food and wine lark in at some time and take a long break from both. Just doesn't seem like it will happen just yet. Lenglui likes to wine and dine and needs a partner. What to do?

Dr Su Kim and Dr Stephen Hall
For the June event it was decided to focus on Italian cuisine and to resample the talents of owner Yenti and Chef Awin at the Tatto restaurant. One main reason for doing so was that the Tatto had moved from its one storey Bungalow origins on a sleepy backroad in KL (which I never got to visit) to a fabulous new location, complete with a totally new concept and kitchen. In terms of physical distance, it works out to about a thousand yards from the old place in Jalan Damai to the new one in the upscale Hampshire Park residence. But in terms of ambiance it has to be light years apart. Indeed, the new place looked like something out of Star Trek - all swish and whoosh and glass and grey steel. The table settings were neat and the rather smallish tables overflowing with cutlery and glassware. In this, though, the restaurant asserts to being particular in staying true to its founding principle of offering a space for guests to enjoy great Italian food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. And in this, it generally succeeded. 

David Teh and Paul Ravelli
Billed as ‘Great Italian Creations at Tatto Restaurant’ the evening saw 40 IWFS members and guests sign up for the dinner. Slight delays in arriving and finding the place meant that we missed the canapes - given my present state of fatness as pointed out by that old friend, perhaps no bad thing. But it would have been good to try the Smoked salmon crepe with cream fraiche and black caviar with the fizz. So it goes - can't eat everything, eh? 

Datin Sandra Raj and Andy Robinson
I have no notes of the fizz, though extra glasses were readily accepted. Nicely cold and smoothly cleansing, the Doc's notes say the Tanzer 90 point Ca del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta NV is a "fresh, medium bodied, textbook rendition of Franciacorta, with good finishing mineral notes."  A blend of 75% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Blanc, it is medium body, straw-gold in colour and showing ripe pear and apple skin nose complemented by hazelnut and yeasty nuances. Rich citrus and white stone fruit "sing on the palate, conveying a fresh gently honeyed quality." Doc is getting quite lyrical of late. His notes also say that the producer's "artisanal methods and obsession to quality is reminiscent of Krug in Champagne." Wow. We found it nicely complex, well chilled and balanced, and an even, smoothly cleansing full mouthful of bubbles. Maybe next time IWFS can provide a Krug so we can compare, yes? Yes. In dreams.

Breaded Portobello with Truffle Poached Egg.
First out was the Breaded Portobello with truffle poached egg and crispy smoked duck. This was lovely - a light poached egg over the duck crusted mushroom. At least I guess that that was where the duck was. It was the only other thing on the plate. Otherwise, my duck must have flown off somewhere. The combo was champion, and sent into the next level by the pop of shredded truffle on the egg. A hunk of toasted white bread satisfied the plate clearer in me and soaked up the remains of runny egg and truffle for consumption. Very good start.

Saucing up the Tiger Prawns
The first of the two whites from one of Italy’s foremost winemakers was served - the Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio 2009. Nestling in the northern Alto Adige mountainous region and biodynamic since 2004, the vines enjoy a long season of warm sunny days and cool nights that help to preserve the grapes’ natural aromas and acidity.  The notes say the PG "holds a brilliant straw yellow colour with a green shimmer. Very perfumed, rich, slightly smoky uplifted varietal aroma paired with elegant oak spice. Clean, grapey, full bodied flavour, quite soft and creamy, delicate and with a fresh finish."  We got crisp clean pears and floral nose in a well balanced finished. A light bodied chugger to swoosh down the food, though maybe a little too light for the duck mushroom. At least it didn't get in the way, which sometimes is what the food needs. In this sense, the pairing pretty much worked.  

The second white came out ahead of the dish - the Gewurztraminer Suditirol Alto Adige 2011. The notes spoke of it being "gently aromatic with floral rose petal and geranium notes; the palate is racy, dry and light without any heavy Gewurz oiliness and the fruit clean, citrusy and perfumed."  We got spice and violets on the nose, light body, clean and fresh and an endless finish. Nicely complex and firm in structure, it drank like fresh breezes across open fields on a summer's day. Total Belter.  

Deep Fried Tiger Prawns in Capellini
It was even more belter with the Deep Fried Tiger Prawns rolled with capellini in putanesca sauce. These looked similar to Country Prawns we used to get at a local Chinese restaurant - the Prawns would be fried in oil and wrapped in Bee Hoon (equivalent of Vermicelli but rice based) and dipped back in the hot oil and usually served with mayonaisse. Today's Tigers were wonderful, having that firm bite that only really fresh sea prawns can give. Didn't feel like farm ones, these. The capellini gave nice carbo filling and crunch to the prawn and the whole brought out a ripe peach nectarine note in the Gewurtz. This wine gave and then gave some more. Seriously good, this was the dish and the pairing of the night. 

Luciano Sandrone Dolcetta D'Alba 2011
The notes say the Luciano Sandrone Dolcetta D’Alba 2011 [RP 89] is a standout as a result of "its silky personality and utter refinement" given that the vintage produced mostly big and powerful wines. "Floral notes meld into expressive dark blue and black varietal in a gracious, mid-weight Dolcetto of incomparable elegance and finesse [whilst] firm tannins appear on the finish to support the fruit and add balance." Okay…. She certainly had character, though not so much as to be a shining star. I got a cherry sodapop nose with damson and a whack of persimmon. Light to medium body, good grip and structure, firm and full on the finish with blackcurrants and sourish cherry. Give this lady a masculine pizza of salami and mozzarella and they'd be tearing down the walls. 

Poached Scottish Salmon
It was the wine of choice for the Poached Scottish salmon with braised red cabbage with lemon, tarragon and garlic sauce, though the fish really needed a big white wine with more acidity to tame the oil and flavour. It was good - excellently poached with a light bounce in the bite and only lightly salted with little else to let the beautiful tasting fish speak for itself. It was a big chunk of it as well - no one could complain about portions with this serving. The cabbage initially smelt very sweet but tasted sourish, as if it had been soaked in a wine reduction of some kind. Whatever, it gave a cute bump to the fish in the mouth. 

Beef Tenderloin
I didn't get to try the Tenderloin, though the verdict of the table was that it was excellent. Got to try the wine, though - the Campo Al Mare, Baia Al Vento, Bolgheri Superiore 2008 [WA 91]. A blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the notes say the wine shows "a deep ruby red with blueish tint, the wine has aromas and flavours of red berries with an herb and tobacco under note. It is powerful and full-bodied with elegant tannins and a long finish."  

We agree.  A full on nose of tight blackberry and lean apples. Lots of herbs, which might have been oregano but was something definitely italian. Full bodied, lot of depth, even tannins and layers of flavours with a rich chocolate mouth. Seems that alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place in steel before the wine is matured in oak barrels. A good full wine on which to end a great evening. 

Pina Colada Millefoglie
Dessert of Pina colada millefoglie with white chocolate and coconut mousse felt like a slice of firm crunchy pear crunch with pastry and cream and topped with a sugary crisp wafer. Excellent with the coffee.

Service throughout the night was most pleasant - all the staff are young, keen, and eager to please and clearly know their way around the table - well trained and it showed. 

Tatto Chef Awin, Tatto owner Yenti, Dato' Jeremy Diamond and IWFS KL President Dr Rajan
Malaysian born Chef Awin came out to take a bow along with owner Yenti. Seems he began modestly in Modesto's and in the 15 years since he has worked his magic in the kitchens of some of KL's Italian restaurants of legend - Ciao, Scallini’s, Ciccio and Cipolla. He has been at the helm of the Tatto kitchen since its inception three years ago and creates dishes that are "Modern Italian with a Malaysian Touch". It also seems he draws his inspiration from the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Giovanni Rizzi and enjoys creating new and fresh dishes for his regular patrons. In this, chef clearly has not absorbed those more confrontational aspects of Chef Ramsay's style of kitchen management. No swear words or cursing all night. Didn't happen. Kitchen proved quietly efficient. Phew. 

Dr and Mrs Jagjeet Singh
We got a pop of orangecello from Yenti as we were finishing up. Clearly similar in style to Limoncello, this was less sweet and felt a bit like a lean Cointreau without that massive sugar kick it usually gives. 

In sum, a very pleasant evening. Good Italian food and wines in a fabulous modern restaurant. Go back there to eat? With the IWFS, yes. A good rowdy crowd with wines and goodwill helps the place to come to life. Maybe also with a business partner to entertain. Otherwise, it felt a shade too cool for intimacy, and if you're looking for to share a romantic evening with a special one, perhaps the cavernous and swish nature of the new Tatto might prove a bit intimidating. A great restaurant, nonetheless. The Egg Portobello and Tiger Prawns are worth the trip. 

YC Yap and the Lenglui
Tatto "Modern Italian with a Malaysian Touch"
A-G-1Hampshire Place Office
157 Hampshire
1 Jalan Mayang Sari
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel 03-2166 5212
Fax 03-2166 4212
email tatto@tatto.com.my
website www.tatto.com.my

‘Great Italian Creations’ Menu

Pre-Dinner Canapes
Ca del Bosco Cuvee - the remains
Spanish cecina ham wrapped melon
Baby potato filled with gorgonzola mouse
Smoked salmon crepe with cream fraiche and black caviar

Ca del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta NV

Breaded Portobello with truffle poached egg and crispy smoked duck

Alios Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio 2009 

Deep fried tiger prawns rolled with capellini in putanesca sauce

Alois Lageder Gewurztramminer Suditirol Alto Adige 2011

Main Course
Campo Al Mare, Bolgheri Superiore 2008
Poached Scottish salmon with braised red cabbage with lemon, tarragon and garlic sauce
Pan roast grain feed beef tenderloin with camembert, pea terrine, onion crumbs and mustard béarnaise

Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto D’Alba 2011
Campo Al Mare, Baia Al Vento, Bolgheri Superiore 2008

Pina colada millefoglie with white chocolate and coconut mousse

Coffee or Tea

Photos and text Brian McIntyre 2013 All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment