Over 50 years ago, when Genting Highland‘s founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong decided to build a resort-cum-casino on top of the mountain, most thought he was mad. There was literally nothing there except jungle and greenery, and it took four years for them to build a proper access road up to where the ‘resort’ would be located. Their first hotel opened in 1971, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Young or old, many of us have fond memories of Genting Highlands. It remains the only place in the country with a legal casino, and for kids back in the 90s and early 2000s, there was nothing like a trip to its theme park – since there weren’t many in Malaysia to begin with, what more one in the mountains. Although the old place has been closed for renovation, a new generation of visitors will get to experience the Fox 20th Century Theme Park once it opens at the end of this year.
In 2013, Genting set out on a 10-year transformation programme costing over RM10bil in a bid to give the resort a makeover and a fresh appeal. Three years on, the first results have been revealed, including a new cable car system, luxury shopping malls and more food and beverage outlets. I was privileged to go try out the new offerings they had in store! :)
The new Genting Awana Skyway, which visitors can board from where the upcoming Genting Highlands Premium Outlet will be. This was a much needed upgrade from the old cable cars, which had been in use since the 1990s. The gondolas were spacious and can easily accommodate up to 10 people. Regular rides are RM8, but we got to ride on the ‘special’ ones…
Glass floor! At RM50 per pax, it was pricey but an interesting experience nonetheless. There are even USB ports for you to charge your devices during the 10-15 min ride.
The line was very stable with minimal swaying, and quiet to boot. You can even hear the sound of birds chirping and monkeys howling from the surrounding jungles!
Construction is still underway for the theme park.
We got off at the Sky Avenue station. Sky Avenue, a lifestyle mall, is the latest addition to Genting’s repertoire and features a mix of luxury/premium outlets + hipster-ish F&B restaurants. The first one on our list was a place called Motorino.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Motorino was founded by an Italian chef who wanted to create the perfect Napoli-style pizza, which has a chewy texture. It already has branches in Manila and Hong Kong, but this is its first outlet in Malaysia.
Stepping into the resto’s interior, one feels transported to old Brooklyn, with its diner-style deco, black and white chequered tiles, accents of green and white, wooden chairs and warm yellow lights. Pizzas are cooked in not one but two pizza ovens imported from Naples. The wood fired oven’s structure is dome-shaped and has been for centuries, and gives the pizzas a smokey flavour impossible to replicate with conventional electric ovens.
Served fresh and piping hot !
They say that the mark of a good food establishment is in the most basic/simple of dishes. In Motorino’s case, the proof is in the pudding… or its meatballs. Drenched in a tangy-sweet tomato sauce, the meatballs were juicy and succulent, minced to fine perfection.
Antipasti of Roasted Chicken Wings (RM20) was tender and flavourful, drenched in a light sauce of lemon, chilli flakes, onion and mint.
On to the mains! Because Motorino hails from New York (where everyone is always on the move), the proper way to eat it is to fold the pizza in half and eat it from the narrow end.
(Above) Margherita Pizza (RM53) came with a tomato sauce base and was topped with stringy, melty mozarella, basil, pecorino and olive oil. Despite the liberal amount of cheese, it was creamy without being cloying, and complemented the tangy tomato base well.
Arugula and Bresaola pizza (RM64). Bresaolo is an air-dried salted beef that has been cured for two to three months. The distinctive fresh taste of arugula blended well with the thin and salty Parmesan cheese slices, as well as the lean, sweet and musky cured meat.
Caesar Salad (RM17) : Baby Romaine, red onion, Parmigiano, anchovies and Caesar dressing with Croutons.
Del Popolo Pizza (RM54) – Tomato Sauce base with Mozzarella, parsley, onions, olives and cured anchovies. Anchovies on pizza remind me of that Futurama episode with Fly xD
Prices are reasonable for such an establishment, and the pizza is definitely tastier than your regular chain-joints. The cosy dining environment is great for families and those looking for an authentic experience.
*Photos not watermarked are courtesy of Resorts World Genting
Open daily: 11AM-10PM