al dente and gorgeous pasta
I often veer from some places after hearing negative comments! Call it selective eating but inadvertently I seem to give these dining outlets breathing space to develop themselves. For those in the restaurant business, they are often aware of the realities of opening new places - leave them for at least 3-6 months before to get their act together since it is the first time a new kitchen crew works together, gets used to their equipment and service is still not up to par.
Flat cheese souffle, sparkle water, shelves filled with drink and produce, foccacia bread with balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic and olive oil dip
Despite all that, I still dine at new places discounting their let downs as hiccups in the management since they're "new". In view of the negative comments heard about Bar Italia when they first opened, I was a little anxious on whether to try Bangsar Shopping Centre's new Italian joint Vineria, affiliated to Bar Italia as their chef Max runs the show here. A good report card from friends who dined there earlier got us hankering to try the place last weekend. Incidentally, my weekend read aka The Edge also did a review on the place.
caprese salad with very few tomatoes
What's nice about Vineria I reckon, it's tucked to the side that if you park at the new wing (where it's for the office area), you can escape the crowd that hangs out in the front of the shopping complex. Like all Italian restaurants, part of the decor is their Italian produce and wine on the shelves. You find balsamic vinegar, limoncello, Italian grappa and wines, pastas and etc here that is also used in their kitchen. The restaurant is like a half moon, curving towards the back where there's a terrace with fans and comfy chairs. The kitchen is on one side, allowing you to see the chefs' movements through the partially frosted panels.
thick pasta ribbons
We opted to see in the cool air-conditioned section since the heat was quite unbearable. Brown paper features heavily here - as table mats and used to print the menu. It's a huge menu of appetizers, salads, pastas, pizzas, main meals and etc. They also have imported seafood like scallops and red mullet available. I spotted some traditional favourites - arancini aka deep fried risotto balls and bagna cudna, the anchovy dip with vegetables.
deep fried seafood on pizza
We were told ahead that the pastas here rock especially the Pappardelle Ai Funghi (RM26). It definitely rocked us - perfectly cooked al dente thick pasta ribbons tossed with mushrooms and bits of Salsicca sausage. Incredibly good stuff I won't mind eating again and again. For starters, it was the Asiago cheese souffle (RM26) - not as regal and majestic like a French souffle as it was short, stubby and a tad burnt! Served with a salad and balsamic cooked mushrooms, we felt it was super dissapointing.
Salad is often a must for us hence I went for the most basic Italian version aka the Caprese (RM24) - a mix of salad leaves including frisee, lollo rosso, fresh mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and tomatoes. They're not too generous with the tomatoes though - counted one tomato wedge, one cherry tomato cut into half and very little chopped sundried tomatoes. Nevertheless the leaves are crispy, nicely tossed with olive oil to make it tasty and they were generous with the mozzarella cheese. Our al fritto di mare (seafood) pizza (RM32) was a big surprise - thin crust pizza topped with deep fried battered seafood on a tomato base. Simply yums especially when eaten piping hot but the deep fried seafood can get soggy if you leave it for too long.
Overall, a satisfying meal here and service was a little patchy in the beginning but improved after a while. Seems they also serve roast leg of baby goat for RM118 (off the menu, so ask about availablity) - something they used to serve in Bar Italia too. Wouldn't mind returning to try that too and we hope to make it for desserts - gelato and tiramisu.
G-133, Ground Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
285, Jalan Maarof
285, Jalan Maarof
Tel: 03-2287 7889
(Pork free. Restaurant is next to the newly relocated British India at the back facing the new office blocks where work is still ongoing. More pictures are found in the Flickr set.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.