Nero Nero @ DC Mall, Damansara City

August 4, 2017

With a charming fountain centrepiece & garden terrace, DC Mall's latest restaurant is a destination with a distinctive decor, ideal for an idyllic meal. Nero Nero is not merely a pretty place though - chef Carmine De Filippo & his team strive to broaden the frontiers of KL's Italian restaurants, staking their claim to 'California Italian' cooking, fusing the spirit of L.A. & la dolce vita  with a focus on produce-driven recipes, prepared with passion & professionalism.

The menu could conveniently be categorised as contemporary Italian, with fresh protein & plenty of vibrant vegetables forming the cornerstones, put together with the skill & experience of an authentic artisan. Chef Carmine has been part of restaurant kitchen since he was 16, & his work has taken him everywhere from Switzerland to Hong Kong, with senior stints at five-star hotels in Dhaka & Kuwait. That means customers should be able to rest easy from the start of the meal, which might include deliciously creamy & flavoursome eggplant timbale with mozzarella & tomato sauce (RM30), addictive breaded risotto balls with beef ragu & gooey cheese (RM28) & crispy calamari in semolina flour with tartar sauce (RM32). Chef Carmine's enthusiasm is notably infectious, bringing a burst of interesting ideas at Nero Nero (ask the staff about the game of chance played here that could win you a complimentary meal, or about the privilege card for loyal customers), highlighted as well by the colourful lunch menu that he's crafted in a homage to the renowned cities of his homeland.

Pastas & pizzas prepared from scratch the kitchen are another highlight - it's a pleasure to bite into the warm, tender ravioli, stuffed with meaty oxtail & ricotta cheese, made tangy with a cherry tomato sauce (RM44), & the potato gnocchi in an unmistakably aromatic black truffle cream sauce (RM55). Chef Carmine's family runs a few pizzerias in Naples, so the man knows his dough, proofed for 24 hours, ensuring a satisfactory base in both taste & texture for toppings like the classic margherita, a sacrament of simplicity with the fundamentals of mozzarella, tomato sauce & basil (RM28).

We saved the best for (nearly) last though - our favourite recipe at Nero Nero is the oven-baked whole sea bass, fleshy & succulent, impeccably executed to preserve the natural, moist sweetness of this fish, well-complemented by potatoes, zucchini, cherry tomatoes & black olives (RM120). If you still have space for sweets after that main course, familiar favourites like a chocolate lava cake & ice cream (RM28) & achingly luscious tiramisu (RM28) beckon.

We've actually visited Nero Nero twice since it opened; our first trip was before chef Carmine began his stint here. He has since completely revamped Nero Nero's menu, but we still have fond memories of our May meal here, which included an endive salad with gorgonzola cheese & roasted walnuts; guacamole chicken sandwich with avocado & tomatoes; risotto topped with plenty of fennel & pan-seared sole, saturated in the sweetness of orange beurre blanc sauce; arancini rice balls stuffed with turkey ham, cheese & eggplant for a tasty wallop, complemented by mizuna leaves & garlic aioli; paccheri tube pasta, packed with smoked duck & mushrooms in cream for a surprisingly well-balanced, addictive indulgence;  a pizza blanketed with smoked beef, pepperoni, salami, zucchini & burrantina; completed with desserts like a crunchy Sicilian cannoli filled with ricotta, raisins & pistachios, with a side of honey ginger sorbet & a good bottle of wine. Thanks to Nero Nero for having us back.

Nero Nero
L03-02, DC Mall, Jalan Damanlela, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Sat, 12pm-11pm. Tel: 03-2011-3811