Osteria Gamberoni's Roman-born head chef Daniele Ponzani credits the inspiration for his cooking to his family - to his gnocchi-making grandmother and his aunts who whipped up feasts for household gatherings of over 20 relatives on weekends. His earliest memories include helping to prepare pasta in their kitchen at the age of three, long before he even entered school.
Thanks to those deeply ingrained influences, customers at KL's latest Italian eatery can be assured of a meal that remains true to tradition. With restaurant manager Simona Rossetti steering a terrific front-of-house crew to complement the capable kitchen brigade, Osteria Gamberoni offers a very pleasant experience from start to finish.
Naturally, Osteria Gamberoni crafts its own fresh pasta, a compact selection that spans gnocchi to tagliolini. We had the ravioli, beautifully satisfying, stuffed with ricotta and spinach, scattered with crunchy, juicy asparagus in classic butter sage sauce (RM36). Customers can add on northern Italian black truffles for RM25, rounding out a rustic recipe that's truly transporting.
Risotto with mushrooms is made extra-enjoyable too with thick, milky-creamy shreds of burrata cheese (a customised order by request - RM45 for the risotto al funghi, RM25 for the burrata).
Pizzas are also available - while the Boscaiola is robustly tasty, topped with meaty-textured duck sausage on a white-base mix of mozzarella and scamorza cheeses (RM46), it's not quite as completely irresistible from the crust up as a wood-fired pizza at a time when that is what's surging in popularity in KL.
Bonus tip: It's currently possible to have a meal here without paying for any food.
Osteria Gamberoni's aperitivo hours stretch from 5:30pm through 7:30pm - purchase two alcoholic beverages and you'll receive a complimentary cicchetto, an appetiser-style snack. Portions for each are hearty, from the crispy baby crabs to the luscious tomato-and-basil bruschetta, the deep-fried fish-and-potato balls to the arancini breaded rice balls with arrabbiata dip, all absolutely addictive.
Even without those complimentary dishes, the wine list by the glass is exceptional, costing between RM18 to RM22 for well-chosen varietals that take you on a tour through Italy's vineyards, from Veneto to Sicilia, Abruzzo to Puglia. The quality of these wines go beyond the typical house pours, yielding everything from gentle grapefruit nuances to a floral jasmine bouquet to full-bodied berry notes; pair the tomato bruschetta with the Donnafugata Anthilia for the perfect match. Prosecco and Aperol Spritz are also available if you're feeling bubbly.
Yap Ah Shak House, 17, Jalan Yap Ah Shak, Off Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur. Currently open 11am-8pm; closed Tuesdays. Tel: 03-2602-9727