Eatalia @ Desa Sri Hartamas
December 15, 2016
Pastas, pizzas & more: Eatalia tackles the crowd-pleasing classics with a casual confidence, cultivating a reputation as a friendly neighbourhood destination for fuss-free Italian fare at fair prices. The restaurant's Malaysian husband-&-wife founders worked with an Italian chef to craft the recipes served here, & they've also infused a charming personal touch to their eatery, with the couple's Vespa scooter greeting customers at the entrance & photos from their travels in Europe gracing the walls.
Eatalia's salads reveal a promising start for a trip here, showing respect for the Italian emphasis on fresh produce & carefully tuned flavours. Rocket leaves come tossed with equally crisp pear slices, balanced with Grana Padano shavings, almonds & walnuts in a lively lemon dressing (RM22), while the restaurant's take on the traditional Caprese salad puts together a platter of ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes with hefty hand-torn chunks of mozzarella & green basil to whet the appetite for what's ahead.
We appreciate any Italian venue that makes some of its own pastas - ravioli is prepared in Eatalia's kitchen, tinted black with squid ink, served with baby scallops & mushrooms in a rich cream sauce laced with saffron & pink peppercorn (RM33), while the gnocchi should fulfill fans of tender potato dumplings, immersed in a thick, robust gorgonzola sauce (RM25). The dried pasta selection remains tempting too - try the spaghetti in a house-blended pesto sauce, aromatic with basil leaves & olive oil, textured with pine nuts & fleshy prawns.
Residents & workers at Desa Sri Hartamas may realise that Eatalia marks a revamp of the long-running Pizza Brava; the name has changed, but the place continues to take pride in its wood-fired pizzas, with a wide selection that spans numerous varieties - the Rustica (RM32) boasts toppings of beef salami with tomatoes, peas, corn, rocket & gorgonzola, perfect for sharing on those evenings when everyone feels like savouring a tasty thin-crust pizza, accompanied by time-honoured antipasto like beef bresaola with buffalo mozzarella (RM33) & mixed mushroom bruschetta with scamorza cheese (RM18).
Eatalia does justice to meat & fish as well - the NZ rack of lamb with assorted vegetables & potatoes (RM56) makes for a hearty, protein-packed serving, while the stuffed chicken breast with ricotta & spinach sauce will be comfort food for many customers, complete with pumpkin mash & mushroom cream sauce (RM28). The pan-fried sea bass is capably executed too, with the moist fillet supplemented by almond flakes & pickle-caper sauce alongside baby spinach & mashed potatoes (RM35).
Desserts done right: Save space for Eatalia's delicately wobbly panna cotta, more naturally nuanced than the norm, finished with a berry compote (RM13), can't-fail tiramisu (RM16) & a faultless creme brulee (RM13) that proves Eatalia's capabilities extend to this French staple too.
Among Eatalia's cocktails, the Blue Margarita is one of several with unexpected visual allure, crested with the cutest of ducklings (RM25). And since no Italian meal is truly comprehensive without wine, Eatalia ensures that its selection is satisfactory - house pours start from RM28 by the glass, but the range of bottles should be explored too, with a Banfi Chianti as the recommended red. Many thanks to Eatalia's warm, hospitable team for having us here.
Eatalia by Brava
18, Jalan 25/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-6201-6608