Taverna, The Gardens Mall
November 13, 2022
Taverna by The Tokyo Restaurant is The Gardens Mall's new for Italian cooking infused with Japanese ingredients and influences. Officially opening 17 November, it dishes out distinctive takes on pastas and more, served by a poised team in a polished setting.
Overlaid with lots of luscious uni and flaky bottarga, the cold capellini brings together Japanese sea urchin and Italian cured fish roe in one compelling coupling, brightened by chives and lemon oil for a sensational starter with sweetly, fragrantly briny nuances (RM110).
If you love punchy pastas, the mentaiko butter pasta is a pleasurable pick, its slick, robust umami aromatically buoyed by ooba leaves, seaweed strips and garlic chips (RM32). But the squid ink tagliolini aglio olio is even better-balanced, tossed with fleshy Japanese oysters in a clam stock, rounded out with Italian parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, yuzu pepper and garlic chilli oil for diverse dynamics in each forkful (RM50).
If the flower crab pasta in tomato sauce with white wine and fresh cream feels like too much work (RM90), the pappardelle with A5 wagyu beef is the easy choice, complete with chunks of moist, gelatinously meaty beef (RM80).
For light eaters who crave heavy, hearty flavours, try the house-made potato gnocchi, with terrifically natural textures, rich with gorgonzola and Parmesan (RM40), and fresh tomato risotto with garlic butter, Parmesan and basil, flying the colours of the Italian flag (RM25).
Taverna is a spin-off of The Tokyo Restaurant in Lot 10 - the brand's specialty cheesecake is available here, alongside The Tokyo Pudding of Madagascar vanilla pudding with caramel sauce and cream (RM20) and The Asakusa Cassata, a take on the Sicilian cake, prepared as an ice cream cake with nuts, dried fruits, caramelised hazelnuts and honey syrup (RM20).
For beverages, natural wines are a wonderful highlight; sparkling, orange, white and red varietals promise enjoyable, effortless drinking, from the delicately bubbly to the berry-lively.
Taverna by The Tokyo Restaurant
Level 3, Isetan, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur.
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