Chicchetti Di Zenzero @ Menara AmpleWest
August 27, 2017
Inspired by the flavours of Venice's backstreet bacari bars, this new Italian restaurant brings a fresh experience to KL by specialising in small plates of chicchetti, the Venetian equivalent of tapas, served in a sleek setting that feels like a contemporary oasis in the city.
Take a table inside surrounded by wines from across the globe, or sink into a comfy seat outdoors with a leafy view of KL Tower. Chicchetti Di Zenzero is the latest effort by the team that runs Zenzero at nearby St Mary Place, so customers can be assured of confident cooking spearheaded by executive chef Paolo that does justice to Italian traditions.
Start with the sarde in sour, a bona fide Venetian classic of sweet-sour sardines, very tender & tasty, with notes of onions & vinegar, partnered with creamy polenta (RM18). The chicchetti here harnesses the harvest of both ocean & land, gliding effortlessly from octopus salad (RM18) to Spanish beef ham with Manchego cheese (RM20), alongside other choices such as smoked Scottish salmon that embrace a sense of European inclusiveness.
The food is built for sharing, extending to antipasti staples, impeccably executed, including a luscious Black Angus carpaccio with arugula leaves, gorgonzola dressing & walnut kernels (RM34), irresistibly crisp fritto misto featuring baby crabs, mini white prawns, calamari rings & zucchini (RM24) & meltingly milky-smooth burratina with roma tomatoes & artichoke pesto (RM26).
In true chicchetti fashion, it's best to enjoy the experience with a drink close at hand - the bar is capable of whipping up worthwhile cocktails, from the time-honoured Italian aperitif of an Aperol spritz (RM42) to a Gin & Tonic that the team takes justifiable pride in (RM44) to house specialities like a Cosmopolitan with a twist of ginger-infused vodka (RM32) & Aqua Pazza with house-made limoncello (RM32).
Our favourite course is typically pasta, & Chicchetti Di Zenzero does not disappoint in that regard, from the briny Black On Black of squid ink pasta with squid ink sauce & shaved bottarga (RM38) to the decadent-textured polenta-&-gorgonzola ravioli with butter sauce, white truffle paste, Grana Padano & beef ham (RM32) & firm-to-the-bite Italian vermicelli aglio olio e peperoncino with smoked duck breast (RM28).
By this point of the meal, you'll likely have moved on to wine; patrons will be heartened that Chicchetti Di Zenzero offers no fewer than a dozen vintages by the glass, spanning vineyards in Veneto, Puglia, Tuscany, Sicily & beyond, with Argentina, Australia & Chile also well represented.
Protein courses are also served in lighter portions, but they remain substantial enough to ultimately result in a filling dinner. Sardines make a welcome reappearance, roasted with an aromatic herb bread crust, complemented by a rich caponata & eggplant pesto (RM38), & superbly juicy lamb rack scottadito enhanced with a robust flavour punch of goat's cheese, balanced by a broccoli timbale & rosemary jus (RM56).
Cheese & desserts follow suit in the chicchetti style - you can order each option separately, or form your own fabulous four-cheese board with the likes of Fontina Val d'Aosta, Taleggio, Pecorino al Tartufo & more (RM120; served with figs, fruits & relishes) & a delectable dessert platter of, say, tiramisu, cannoli, molten Guanaja chocolate cake & thyme lime tart (RM56).
All in all, Chicchetti Di Zenzero is a lovely addition to the city centre's culinary landscape, certainly meriting a close look from fans of Italian fare. Many thanks to the team here for having us.
Chicchetti Di ZenzeroA-G-1, Menara Ample West, Jalan Puncak, Off Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 430pm till late.
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