Azzurro @ Pavilion

January 23, 2015

This Italian restaurant is the latest venture by Urban Bar Concepts, which also runs the South American-themed La Boca Latino Bar & French-tinged Cafe De Paris in Pavilion. We liked those two earlier outlets, but Azzurro misses the mark for us.

 Azzurro's massive menu is meant to pay tribute to southern Italian traditions, with many seductive-sounding temptations such as polenta chips with Parmesan cheese & rosemary, served with salsa rossa tomato sauce (RM16 before taxes). But Azzuro falls short of transcending its setting - these chips lack character & charisma, tasting like what a shopping mall kitchen serves, not a classic trattoria. It's Italian cooking at its most efficient, not its most effervescent.

 We only scratched the surface of Azzurro's selection, but none of these inspired us to sink our teeth further. Not the stodgy gnocchi stained with gloppy gorgonzola sauce (RM31), hearty but heartless spinach-&-ricotta ravioli in overbearing tomato-&-basil sauce (RM32) or the confused mess of risotto with rosemary, pumpkin, cheese, chillies, mushrooms & truffle oil (RM35).

Pizza dough fritters rolled in sugar & cinnamon & teamed with Nutella (RM15) could either be totally worth the calories or a cause to look back on lunch with remorse - only one outcome is true. Note: This meal was back in September; every time we thought of writing about it, there seemed to be something else more encouraging to highlight.

 If you must though, Azzurro's affogato with pistachio gelato (RM15) is kinda cool. Italian-inspired cocktails are offered too, laced with the likes of limoncello & prosecco. Heaps of thought & effort have been poured into this restaurant's repertoire, making the gap between its ambition & its execution all the more inexplicable.

Level 2, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. Open 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-2148-8822

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