Monday, February 01, 2010

Italian Food @ Vineria, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur

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.

Vineria. IT
G-133, Ground Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
285, Jalan Maarof
Kuala Lumpur

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.

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Ciki said...

burp! .. and thank u for da link boo;)

boo_licious said...

No worries C&C! Always glad to add links so others will know abt different opinions.

thule a.k.a leo said...

hmmmm... Jenn might like the goat's leg but the portion must be rather big huh?? Hafta wait till her lil bro comes back from UK and then they can share the dish together.

Sean said...

i like that they have daily specials all week long ... baby goat on thursday, seafood risotto on fridays, etc ... makes it tempting to visit every day to check out different specials =)

boo_licious said...

leo - from what I read, it seems portions ain't that big, just nice for 2 people. Dunno, have to go try.

Sean - ah, thxs for that tip. Iqbal's review didn't say a time specific date.

jesscet said...

oh i walked past this restaurant on the way to toilet! i walked inside and wanted to check the menu but no one even bother to come up! i mean i could be a potential diner (it was lunch hour) looks nice in ambience.. maybe give it a try next time - but i still prefer non-halal Italian restaurant! any good ones to recommend?

J2Kfm said...

Deep-fried seafood on a pizza? That's new. Closest thing I had was deepfried calamari pizza. Wait, Pizza Hut also did the tempura prawn version before .... hmm.

boo_licious said...

jesscet - a good porky Italian place is Neroteca, Somerset Residences near Changkat BB.

j2kfm - my first time eating a deep fried seafood pizza. Eye-opener indeed, kinda like escargots pizza!

Unknown said...

Place looks gorgeous, but food n service was a let down...Had the duck and foie gras sausage with deep fried aubergines.Awful combination. Flat, oily, chewy and foie gras taste was zero! My dream of creamy foie gras died that day.. had to abondon halfway thro. Hubby had the pasta and rated it so-so. The saving grace was the starter ..cured beef with rock melon..yums! Strangely had to wash down all that oil from the main with my starter! The Gelato was ok, wishing Gusto would come back just to serve their Gelato with biscuits!!!

Cind said...

Went to Vineria Rest at BSC, ordered seafood pizza minus the scallop, prawn not fresh, mussel stink. Told the waitress, she later gave us a plate of the missing scallop as side dish. We commented to the manager, Max ..... he told us we got our missing scallop so what the issue. Max also said that the restaurant was packed every nights, so our comments not welcome and we are not welcome. Feel so insulted. Whoever plan to go there for food, just beware. Shut up and eat your food, even thou its bad or you are not welcome. Without ordering any other food, we just paid and left.

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Ticked Off said...

My friends and I had dinner at Vineria.IT last night (this was my second visit) and safe to say that we are never going back there! Most of the food was satisfactory even though they screwed up a simple Aglio Olio (we specifically requested not spicy but when it arrived the first time, it was spicy and had to be returned).

We also had to wait 40 mins to get 2 ginger ales which we ordered when we first arrived which I found utterly ridiculous. I don't understand why wait-staff refuse to write orders down when they can't seem to remember them.

Service was sub-standard throughout the night and we were always hunting for someone to take our order. The fact that I had to get up and walk to the front of the restaurant 3 times just to get the waiter shows you how inattentive they were!

If it was just a case of ignorance, perhaps I could be more forgiving but I just could not tolerate the skinny Italian guy's (manager?) rude and pompous attitude. When we tried to ask for additional spoons while he was looking in the wine chiller which was near our table, without even bothering to look up, he just put his hand up and told us to wait. Maybe that's his way of talking but it sounded really rude from where I was sitting. Seriously, I have never been treated like this in any fine dining establishment in KL or anywhere else.

After waiting almost half an hour for our coffee and gelato to arrive, we had to leave and decided to cancel the orders and settle the bill. I won't even go into the details of the fiasco with the bill but suffice to say that the so-called Italian manager is in desperate need of a few lessons in manners (and also math 'cause he can't do simple arithmetic even with a calculator it seems) and if he's incapable of learning any, then I suggest he find another career as he's obviously not cut out for the hospitality/ service industry.

I now understand why there are so many negative reviews on this place (mainly on the service and bad attitude of the manager I might add).

How they even have the cheek to charge 10% service, I can't explain. Our bill was over RM1k so we basically paid RM100+ for NOTHING!!!!

Take my advice and spend your money elsewhere!!

ford said...

Love the food! You’re amazing. This menu is fantastic, It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect menu like this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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