UPDATE: This restaurant has ceased operations as of 2015. However, the review will remain on my blog as a form of reference for readers. Thank you.
It's been awhile since my last food review! Well, I'm glad to see that JB is growing bigger in the food scene and I was invited to the latest Italian food eatery in JB, Trattoria Asiatico, for a food review. Super psyched cos it's not only yummy but situated near my house! :p
Trattoria Asiatico was started just a few months ago in Akademi Suites @ Taman Mount Austin. In Italian, "trattoria" basically translates to an Italian cafe & bistro. They pride themselves in serving unique Italian food that cannot be found anywhere else in JB. Truth be told, they can be said to be pioneers as there are not many authentic Italian eateries in this small town. The place serves alcohol and most of the ingredients are imported from across the Causeway.
Most restaurants and cafes nowadays are decorated elaborately and people tend to frequent the place to take photos, mostly. I like the simple yet vintage decor of the whole place. You can opt for outdoor or indoor dining too.
Meet the chef, Lance Yeoh. He has had 10 years of experience in the culinary field and used to work in a few top Italian restaurants in Singapore. He is also the mastermind behind all the tasty dishes we had that day!
A glass of Sauvignon Blanc to whet our tastebuds to better enjoy the food before we start the review. Cheers! Apparently, Sauvignon Blanc tastes different when paired with different food which makes it so interesting.
18-Months Aged Parma Ham with Melon RM28
First off, a cold, salty appetizer to really get our salivary glands going. I'm not even kidding when I say it's super salty! This meat comes from an 8kg thigh that has been salted for 18 months. It is best served melon and rockets to neutralise the saltiness. One bite and you'll get a burst of flavours in your mouth - the saltiness of the ham, sourness of the vineigrette and sweetness of the melon. It's so interesting!
Blue Swimmer Crab with Watermelon RM22
At first sight, this dish sure looks interesting enough. Can't figure out what's the yellow cubey thing and the orange paste? It's actually yellow watermelon and carrot puree! Yellow watermelon actually tastes sweeter than regular watermelon and all the girls loved this dish because it's so summery and refreshing! The Alaskan Blue Swimmer Crab is fresh enough and does not have any fishy smell at all. There is also a mix of textures as the tender meat is seasoned nicely which goes well with the sweet and crunchy melon.
Buffalo Mozarella Cheese, Fresh Tomato and Pesto Sauce RM25
Some might consider this a plain dish because the ingredients are just so basic - fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh mozarella cheese chunks, homemade pesto sauce and rockets. But I really liked this and helped myself to an extra serving because I find that it is quite a refreshing appetizer too. The cheese is mildly salty which doesn't make the dish boring.
This dish is tantalising because you get the fresh, juicy scallops with crunchy asparagus, complemeted by the salty parma ham again, this time cooked. My favourite part about this dish is the fresh yet buttery taste of the beetroot sauce which makes a good accompaniment for the scallop!
Homemade Squid Uni Tagliolini RM32
This freshly made tagliolini by the chef is a MUST-TRY! Unlike the usual squid-ink pasta that makes your teeth go black and so unglam when you eat it, the natural squid-ink has been infused into the pasta. The subtle squid ink taste won't make you feel sick of eating it as there is no alkaline taste and the pasta is springy and al-dente. Not a lot of seasoning is needed, only a little accompaniment of fresh crab meat and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy while its hot as the fishy smell gets stronger as it cools down.
Spaghetti with Sea Urchin RM48
This was my absolute favourite dish that day. Another dish that is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED is this spaghetti with my favourite sea urchin! The spaghetti used is store-bought as the chef explained that handmade ones will not have as nice a texture when the dish is cooled. The star of the dish, the sea urchin, has the perfect texture and taste which is not too sharp. The sauce is also made with sea urchin and shallots and left a sweet, tingling taste in the mouth that everyone enjoyed.
Home-made Fettucini Pasta with Beef and Truffle Veal Juice RM38
As I don't eat beef, I had to miss out on this dish. As we all know, truffle is an expensive delicacy used to enhance the taste of the dish. The use of just a little bit truffle oil made the pasta very fragrant. The girls thoroughly enjoyed this and claims that it's still super tasty even when the dish gets cold. The meat used is striploin beef however, it is not tender enough.
FYI, Trattoria Asiatico makes their own fresh pasta and these are the few kinds that they offer.
Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Creamy Mashed Potato and Truffle Beef Sauce RM48
Now, this is something you don't see everyday. Wagyu beef CHEEK?? Another dish that I had to miss out, which made me really really sad. The fact that it was served in a jar makes it interesting enough, what more the use of such an interesting portion of meat. According to the chef, wagyu beef cheek is commonly considered as a "poor people food" but what many do not know is that the meat is actually very, very tender. Only the Italians will cook the meat this way as the tender beef cheek is easily burnt. The preparation of the dish involves slow-cooking it for 3-4 hours in red wine and is best paired with white truffle.
Once the lid was opened, the aroma wafted through the air and hits you in the nostrils. It smelt so good and I was sooo tempted to try it! The accompaniment of some creamy mashed potato and shitake mushroom just makes it that much more fragrant! The girls said that this is their favourite dish of all as the meat quite literally melts in your mouth! What a unique dish!
Pan-roasted Sea Bass with Beetroot Mash and Seafood Caciuccio Sauce RM38
Finally, something for me. I love seafood so I was really excited to try this. The sea bass used is so fresh that the meat cuts off cleanly and is so tender with no fishy smell whatsoever. Seafood reduction is drizzled on the fish after cooking to enhance its freshness. I also love that there is an added grilled prawn. The buttery beetroot mash and vegetables makes it that much more enjoyable.
This is a conventional affogato which uses vanilla ice cream and single shot expresso. Kim describes this as sweet and lovely.
Creme Brulee RM15
At every review, we always get the chance to try out creme brulee and chocolate lava cake which we all adore. I mean,which girl doesn't like desserts? This one definitely meets the standard with the perfectly caramelized top layer and sweet, creamy custard layer at the bottom.
Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice-Cream RM16
Ending the meal which this sweet delicacy is a simple pleasure in life. The use of hazelnut is to give this dish a little twist. There is a heavy hazelnut taste which reminded me of Nutella! Nyum~ Hazelnut also makes the chocolate less sweet which I truly enjoy.
Ooh awesome! The chef uses Barry's 70% dark chocolate which is extra fragrant. Slighly crispy layer on the outside, with oozing chocolate and a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream - the perfect combination of hot and cold, melting in your mouth.
Some selfies! Finally met pretty Felinda!
My lovely Princess Neverland!
I always love going back to JB as there are so many food to try out now! I would revisit Trattoria Asiatico again because the dishes have left me pining for them even after so many weeks, especially the sea urchin spaghetti! Drooling just thinking about it. It's a really quiet place, perfect for private dining. Couples, take note. ;) Even though desserts are not their strong point, they definitely do not disappoint. I commend the chef on his creativity in making seemingly plain dishes look and taste so tantalizing, truly and enjoyable experience!
Do drop by if you happen to be around the area! They are located at:
G-07 Akademik Suites,
Jalan Austin Heights Utama,
Taman Mount Austin,
For bookings and events, please contact them at 0160912 4823 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find them on Facebook! :)
I can't wait to shift back to JB soon. More food reviews coming your way, hopefully! :) Have a great day everyone!