10, Persiaran SC1 2/1,
Sunway City Ipoh,
Tel. 605 5474007
Food type: Italian
Food rating: 4/10
Nearest tube: –
(Editor’s note: Please note that the scoring of food in Malaysia is based on a linear scale)
I was supposed to write up my review of a new Japanese restaurant I had lunch at last week but I couldn’t be arsed to download the pictures from my mobile on to my laptop. Not that there were many pictures of that restaurant anyways. I seem to be very forgetful lately when it comes to bringing a camera along with me when I go out for food. Only today I did just that, which was a huge pity as for once I had lunch which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Another excuse for me to go back there again I guess. Anyways, before I put you to sleep with my incessant rambling, here is my review of my recent visit to Italia-mia.
Italia-mia is, as the name suggests, an Italian restaurant located in Bandar Sunway, Ipoh (not to be confused with the one in KL). Run by a husband-wife team, the restaurant serves up typical Italian fare. The menu is small and concise with around eight options each for starters, pasta and mains, not including the specials. Most importantly, the restaurant is Non-Halal and serves pork. This actually makes a huge difference, seeing as Italians make use of a lot of Pancetta (Italian style smoked bacon) and Wine in their cooking. And before you even get started – using beef bacon as a substitute is like trying to make roast pork with beef. Pizza is not on the menu which is fine by my count. Personally, I am all for a limited menu as the consistency and freshness of the food can easily be maintained. It really amuses me that many restaurants in Malaysia fall into the trap of putting 50 items on the menu and all hell breaks loose during dinner service.
By the way, did you know that Italians, eat a 4 course meal consisting of Antipasti (First course or Appetisers), Pasta (this includes rice dishes and soups), Mains – Pesce (Fish) or Carne (Meat) and finally Dolci (Desserts). I sometimes wonder how Italian women stay so slim!
We were provided with some Herb and Chilli infused Black Olives to pick on while per-using the menu. The olives were pretty good seeing as I didn’t manage a single photo of it before I had completely devoured it. (4/10)
I started off with some Chicken Liver Pate. The pate came in the form of a terrine slice, with a aspic layer, and served with thin slices of toasted bread. The aspic layer was dotted with some peppercorns which added some bite and texture to the pate. As a pate goes, this one was pretty good, in unadventurous, with a good livery flavour and a smooth texture interspersed with some mushrooms. It is a pity that the bread used was bought in and not freshly made. (4/10)
Next up was some Mushroom Bruschetta. At this point I must stress that all these starters were shared with my parents. I may eat a lot, but I am not a complete fat bastard… well not yet anyways! The bruschetta was pleasant (I personally prefer their Tomato Bruschetta). (4/10)
Risotto al Funghi
To follow, I had a Mushroom Risotto (Risotto al Funghi) which I had pre-ordered in advance – making risotto from scratch is a time consuming (not to mention monotonous) process. The risotto served here was nicely cooked and al dente although I personally prefer mine much creamier (with the addition of frightening amounts of butter and cream of course). (4/10) As a side note, many restaurants that serve risotto make loads of it in advance and store it in the freezer.
Grilled Sirloin Steak
My mains consisted of a Grilled Sirloin Steak with button mushrooms. One special mention is that the beef served here is chilled and grain-fed which gives it much better flavour (as opposed to grass-fed beef you find in England). In addition the beef was well-aged, intensifying the flavour as well as ensuring it’s tenderness. **Cooking tip: When buying beef, choose a steak which has a brown, mahogany colour as opposed to a bright red piece which is full of liquid/blood.** The steak was cooked correctly and each bite was a pleasure. The steak was accompanied with some pretty forgettable sides of rosemary scented roast potatoes, runner beans and cabbage with bacon and herbed carrots. One minor drawback is the sauce funky mustard sauce served with the steak which was plain awful. That said, the steak alone was stellar and merits a 4/10.
Dad had a bowl of seafood spaghetti pasta which was pretty good and worth a mention.
I ended my meal with a slice of Tiramisu. The Tiramisu here is probably the best version I’ve had in Malaysia (although it still could have done with a huge alcohol kick). While cheese (mascarpone) is used in making Tiramisu, I have to stress that it should never taste like or even come close to tasting like a cheesecake. The mascarpone, which is pretty tasteless, is used to give the Tiramisu structure without affecting the texture of the filling too much. Many places substitute mascarpone for the much cheaper cream cheese. This is at the expense of making the filling heavier and stodgy. Anyways, I won’t say much more about the tiramisu here other than that I have been known to go to the restaurant specifically to buy a tray of Tiramisu. (5/10) By the by, although I did not try them today, the profiteroles here are really good too – light airy cream puffs drenched in rich, dark chocolate sauce.
I ended dinner with a single expresso which was rather weak. The meal for 3 came up to RM300 (£50) which isn’t too bad when you take into account the amount of the food we had in addition to alcohol. Dinner here was very pleasant indeed with very friendly and attentive service. The food here is rustic, honest, authentic Italian fare. Speaking to the owner, it is a shame that the local’s perception of what is authentic Italian food is severely skewed (I am looking at you Pizza Hut). I’m definitely coming back here for another visit before I head back to England, especially as Gnocchi is on the menu!