Catch Leonardo Da Vinci’s Work in Malaysia at The Opera Omnia Exhibition, Balai Seni Visual Negara

If you’ve always wanted to see the Mona Lisa up close – but because you’re a poor millennial like me and can’t just pop on to the Lourve whenever – here’s some good news.

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The Italian Ministry of Foreign Embassy has brought Leonardo da Vinci to Malaysians at the National Art Gallery, where you can see true-to-size, digital reproductions on display until 15 August 2019. The “Leonardo Opera Omnia” exhibition features 17 of Leonardo’s art works painted in the 1ate 15th to early 16th centuries, as well as a special exhibition based on one of notebooks, Codex on the Flight of Birds. For those who have never been exposed to European art, this is an excellent chance to get acquainted and also be wowed at the sheer technique and beauty of the renowned genius’ masterpieces.

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The digital reproductions are displayed in high definition in low light, which ‘evokes the feeling of viewing the actual artwork’, according to the pamphlet. You can definitely see the tiny cracks and creases from the original, which was painted with oil on poplar panel. While I’m sure it can’t compare to seeing it at the Lourve, I felt like viewing the Mona Lisa here was a great experience. The crowds are less, for one, and you can get really close to the ‘painting’. I can see why it is one of art’s most popular pieces. There’s just something about her slight smile and Leonardo’s excellent use of form and atmosphere that creates an ethereal, mysterious quality to it.

Fun fact: The subject of the Mona Lisa is Lisa del Giocondo, an Italian noblewoman, and despite being one of the most well known faces in art, little is known about her personal life.  

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Some of Leonardo’s other popular artworks on display include (from top left) Lady with an Ermine (1490), Portrait of a Musician (1490), La Belle Ferronniere (1490) and Head of A Woman (1508).

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The Annunciation was one of Leonardo’s earliest completed works, and you can see how the technique was rather ‘raw’ in comparison to his later artworks – proving that while one may be born a genius, it still took years of honing his craft to reach his full potential.

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I was excited to view the Madonna of the Rocks, because I was fascinated by the way Dan Brown used the symbolism in the painting as an important element in the Da Vinci Code novel. The painting depicts Mary and a child Jesus, with an infant John the Baptist and the angel Uriel.  There are actually two versions of the painting; they’re identical in terms of composition but differ with a few significant details, namely the hand of the angel (which is pointing towards Jesus in one) as well as the gaze (one is looking down and the other at the ‘viewer’). You can find both on display at the Opera Omnia!

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Leonardo was fascinated by the idea of flight, and the exhibition includes a section called Codex on the Flight of Birds, based on a notebook he owned which detailed his observations on the flight of birds, and how it could relate to creating a machine where man could fly. Written in his famous reverse script, the pages are filled with wondrous diagrams, sketches and notes. I can see why the man was both admired and feared in his time – he was truly a visionary, of the kind that the world might not ever see again.

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Aside from his usual notes, Leonardo often peppered the pages with quotes on the side.

The Opera Omnia exhibition is running at the National Art Gallery from now until August 15. 

While you’re here, there are plenty of other exhibitions to check out! The Open + Lab BMS (Bakat Muda Sezaman) / Young Contemporaries 2019 is an annual event by the National Art Gallery, dedicated to showcasing the work of young Malaysian artists. Many of these touch on current issues with powerful messages behind them – which is what I think art should be all about. Here are some of my favourites:

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Awal – Akhir, 2019. by Muhammad Effi Syafiq Jusoh. Wood, paper, acrylic, bitumen and smoke machine. The piece is supposed to symbolise ‘life’ as the – between beginning (Awal) and end (Akhir), as illustrated through a crowded building with various houses and quarters within.

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Details.

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Colour Rhythm, 2019. by Choo Yan Xin. Cloth, wire and plastic airliner, various size. 

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The Witnesses, 2019 by Shahar a/l Koyok @ Shaq Koyok. Acrylic & charcoal oil on pandanous mat, nipah leaves woven, tree stumps, wood, soil, clay, rattan, dried leaves and nylon string. 

An indigenous artist, the piece was inspired by the plight of Shaq’s people, the Temuan, who are facing extinction of their natural habitat due to deforestation and illegal logging. This is, sadly, nothing new in Malaysia – and many other countries for that matter – where indigenous rights are often eroded and destroyed over time. The ancestral lands in which they have lived off for centuries are in ever imminent danger of being taken away in the name of progress and greed – and the piece is meant to spark debate and awareness among the public of their plight.

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Table Talk, 2018. Tan Yi Ching. Kopitiam cup, speaker and mp3. 

At first glance, a simple installation featuring cups fitted with speakers playing random snippets of conversation within each unit. The concept behind it is interesting though, and is meant to represent the importance of communication. The use of kopitiam cups – something integral to many Malaysians’ lives – makes it all the more relatable.

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Merbahaya, 2019. by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum & Khairul Izzuddin Mohd Hiffni touches on another hot topic in Malaysian society: PPR flats, and urban poverty. PPR flats are essentially low cost housing projects, where thousands of people are often forced to live together in squalid conditions. They’re essentially giant, multi-storey slums in the city – the difference is unlike sprawling squatter homes, they are now confined to a flat. Drugs are a common problem, as are social issues. Children are not monitored as parents try to eke a living, and deaths have occurred due to railing rotting away and breaking off, or even several cases where garbage was thrown from the upper floors, striking someone below. While there are no easy solutions to such problems, pieces like this create awareness and get the conversation going, and hopefully, results in action. It is often too easy to forget or ignore things we aren’t willing to face.

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The Bomoh in 4th Industrial Revolution, 2019 by Aiman Husin & Hawari Berahim is a thought-provoking, tongue-in-cheek series, portrayed as a parody of today’s society and how we interact in cyberspace. A ‘bomoh’ in traditional Malay society is essentially a witch doctor and a problem solver of sorts, who communities approached for help. The idea behind it is that many today are acting as ‘bomoh’s on social media, “casting spells and curses with little regard for truth and fairness”. This is especially true of Malaysian society. I think many Malaysian social media users are gullible yet trigger happy, eager to dispense mob justice on cyberspace, yet unable to distinguish between what is right and wrong. It is dangerous, and we need to reflect on how we can process information and be proactive rather than reactive.

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Appropriate. Doesn’t it seem like everyone seems to be an ‘expert’ on social media these days, offering their unwarranted opinions and judging others for it? Lol.

There are plenty of other thought-provoking pieces in the exhibition, and I was very impressed with the quality and effort put into each. These are definitely works that get you talking and thinking, as opposed to being so abstract or “syok sendiri” that viewers can’t relate. There is great potential in the Malaysian art industry.

So there you have it! Instead of heading to the mall this weekend, go check out BSVN! Entrance is free.

BALAI SENI VISUAL NEGARA  (NATIONAL ART GALLERY) 

No. 2, Jalan Temerloh, Off Jalan Tun Razak,
53200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM (daily)

GETTING THERE 

Rapid KL Bus 402 from KLCC heads towards the National Art Gallery. It does not stop directly in front of the building, so you will have to stop near Hospital KL and walk across the road. Coming back is a bit more complicated. You can either take 402 again to loop back to KLCC, or board 302. Alternatively, Grab services are available within the city.

 

 

Review: An Italian Affair @ Villa Danieli, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

I confess that I’m not too familiar with Italian cuisine, other than the occasional prosciutto pizza at Enorme (purists will crucify me. Blasphemy!). And while commercial pizza and pasta joints are a dime a dozen in KL, most of these serve bastardised versions that will make any nonna weep – think ‘tom yum’ pizza or salted egg chicken spaghetti, lol.

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If you’re in for an authentic Italian experience, try Villa Danieli at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur. A separate building on its own next to the pool, the restaurant offers a slice of Italy right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, with rustic yet elegant settings and fresh, good food inspired by the region of Tuscany. It’s easy to see why the place is popular for weddings and events – the warm lighting, beautiful frescoes, cosy seats, and liberal use of wood and stone elements manage to pull off expensive, without being pretentious or intimidating.

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The restaurant has its own wood-fired pizza oven, and guess what? We got to make our own pizza (and eat it too) ! Guided by new resident Chef Federico Bozzo from Genoa, our media group floured, rolled and shaped our way to pizza glory. It’s definitely easier to eat than it is to make – you have to ensure the dough is rolled out evenly in a round shape, not too thin or thick – and then there is also the matter of spreading the tomato sauce with the bottom of the ladle.

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Mine turned out looking like an abomination, but it didn’t taste too bad. lol

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We had our fun, but real food is best left to the experts. Villa Danieli offers a Mamma Mia Brunch special every Sunday from 11AM until 3PM, featuring a large selection of fresh baked pastries and antipasto, ala carte dishes and desserts from RM148nett per adult.

The salad and antipasto bar serves appetisers such as Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Feta Cheese, Prawns Salad and Beef Carpaccio, and diners can also tuck into an assorted selection of freshly shucked oysters, clam, prawns and mussels while waiting for their main course.

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For the mains, we tried Risotto with Asparagus, Peas, Mint and Truffle Oil. The rice was thick and creamy but with an al dente texture, while the truffle oil lent it an element of earthiness.

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My favourite was the Beetroot Gnocchi with Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese. Loved the chewiness and bite! It had a nice balance of flavours – beetroot was subtle but was not overpowered by the cheese. Other dishes include Fettucine with Spinach Cream, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and Chicken, Slow Cooked Oxtail and Creamy Polenta, Mixed Grilled Seafood, and Braised Lamb Shank with Mash Potatoes. 

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Leave some space for the restaurant’s array of Western-style mousses and creams, flans, tarts, cakes and crumbles, sure to satisfy the sweet tooth. The affogato, served with a shot of espresso and a side of biscuits, was the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.

For reservations, call +603 2717 9922 or email to Villa.Danieli@sheraton.com.

VILLA DANIELI 

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Open for lunch and dinner Tues – Sat, brunch (11AM – 3PM) and dinner on Sun. Closed on Mondays.

Experience An Italian Affair This Spring @ Bar Cicheti, Singapore

Say goodbye to winter and hello to a spirited spring, as Bar Cicheti, Singapore’s first homegrown pasta and wine bar, brings to diners the sweet, hearty harvests of Italy. The new menu is a tribute to springtime in Italy, from driving through the hills of Tuscany to the seaside sunsets in Sicily. Handmade pastas are perfect to showcase the season’s best produce, paired with a beautifully eclectic wine list to satisfy all palates. Chef Lim Yew Aun’s rich, comforting dishes give way to fresher, brighter tastes that celebrate the bounty of spring, while sommelier Ronald Kamiyama’s new floral-forward wine selections are delicious on their own, each with a story to tell.

 

 

 

 

SPAGHETTI - housemade jalapeño pesto, grated ricotta salata, chopped pistachio, toasted pine nuts

For a limited time only, tuck into Chef Aun’s four Spring-inspired specials, dressed in vibrant colours and flavours of the season. Twirl up forkfuls of Spaghetti (S$28) done one of two ways – the first coated in a creamy, housemade jalapeño pesto that’s tossed with chopped pistachios, toasted pine nuts and a generous grating of ricotta salata.

 

 

 

 

 

2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico. Rioja, ES (Viura blended with sherry) - 2

 

 

SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE - burnt leeks, peperoncino, parsley, garlic chips

Pairing perfectly is the 2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico—fresh, fine and bone dry—a peculiarity of a Spanish Rioja which sees manzanilla sherry introduced to the barrel aging process, resulting in a nutty characteristic that lends itself beautifully to the roasted flavours of the pesto. The other is a classic Spaghetti alle Vongole (S$32), where the sweet leek of Spring gets a fresh coat of char, adding an irresistible aroma to the clams’ briny tang.

 

 

 

CORZETTI - porcini and button mushrooms, marsala wine

Hand-stamped medallions of Corzetti (S$28)—a Ligurian specialty dating back to the middle ages—need nothing more than earthy slices of porcini and button mushrooms sautéed in a flavourful Marsala sauce. The dish is best enjoyed in between sips of the 2006 Tenute Sella, Lessona, a lost expression of Nebbiolo from Alto Piedmont that’s making its way back into vogue. Vibrant aromas of leafy underbrush, moist soil, berries and herbs, along with a shared provenance, bring out the earthy undertones of the moreish mushroom ragu.

 

BUCATINI - hokkaido scallops, saffron, spring peas, citron zest

For a taste of the lush Lazian countryside, the final seasonal special is Bucatini (S$30), where thick, hollowed strings of pasta are tossed with spring peas, citron zest and a seared Hokkaido scallop, in a hearty saffron broth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANOLINI - taleggio, ricotta, parmigiana, caramelised onion, hazelnut, butter sauce

Adding to the new permanent menu is an update of Bar Cicheti’s tight, confident rotation of pastas – offering more vegetarian options, new pasta shapes and in-season ingredients. All available in either starter and entrée size – pretty purses of Anolini (S$18/28) stuffed with taleggio, ricotta and parmigiana are finished in a decadent brown butter sauce, topped with caramelised onions and a sprinkling of hazelnuts. The ever-trendy Cacio e Pepe gets more bite than before with slippery strands of hand-rolled Pici Cacio e Pepe (S$18/28) – spiced with Sarawak black pepper, fresh marjoram and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the rich parmigiana.

Linguine (S$22/35) is an uncomplicated toss-up of handpicked blue swimmer crab and treviso radicchio—an Italian chicory that together with the crab, release sweet flavours of land and sea— brightened with orange zest. On the other end of the spectrum, thick, stubby tubes of Paccheri (S$20/34) are paired with slow-braised polpo and given the Puttanesca treatment – fresh tomatoes simmered long and slow, folded with fiery flavours of chilli, anchovies and capers, and to finish, a sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs. Here, the 2016 Château de Trinquevedel Rosé is ideal for the bright, tomato flavours in the feisty sauce. This is a fourth-generation gem from the Tavel appellation of Southern Rhone, France–where only rosé wines are allowed–made with mostly Grenache and other native varietals such as Clairette, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.

Tagliolini Nero (S$22/35) is chef Aun’s way of reimagining Bar Cicheti’s reigning darling, Fusilli Nero (S$19/32). While the original is a feisty umami bomb of squid ink fusilli, crab lump, Japanese uni and basil and anchovy crumbs; the latest contender is an ode to the sea at its seasonal best. By folding freshly harvested squid ink deep into the dough with military precision, each strand is unabashedly black and briny and lends itself to an ocean-fresh medley of Hokkaido scallops, local squid, and Japanese uni – all coated in a bisque reduction that tastes like the sea.

All these dishes are available in two sizes, for a little bit of everything, along with a selection of new and signature antipasti and desserts that have been updated for Spring. Wines at Bar Cicheti are available by glass, quartino and bottle. 

For a taste of everything, opt for the menu’s new “Feed Me” options (S$68 or S$88), which includes 1 antipasti, 4 pastas and a dessert to share. Add a S$58 supplement for wine pairing. 

*Photos courtesy of Mango PR. 

BAR CICHETI 

10 Jiak Chuan Road, 089264 Singapore

Phone: +65 6789 9801

Opening hours: Lunch Tues – Sat 12PM – 2.30PM, Dinner Mon – Sat 6PM – 1030PM. Close Sundays

Website 

Food Review: The Olive Italian Restaurant, Maxims Resort World Genting

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With its dim lighting, warm hues and attentive service, The Olive at Maxims, Resorts World Genting exudes elegance and class. The fine dining establishment, which has received numerous awards since its inception, specialises in Continental cuisine, which I got a small taste of during a recent visit for work.

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Kicking off the meal, there is the strikingly-coloured squid ink bread, which had a nice, crispy crust dusted lightly with flour. The exterior had a texture similar to baguette, but softer, while the inside was light, airy and fluffy. There was a notable, slightly bitter undertone, which I presume is from the squid ink, although it wasn’t unpleasant.

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Caviar; olive oil for dipping.

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Amuse bouche of fried vegetable tempura, accompanied by jelly cubes and bits of fresh tuna. Wonderful blend of textures and flavours, batter was light and crispy, and the jelly cubes had a refreshing, citrus-like taste.

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Mushroom soup topped with foam. Thick and chock full of ingredients, the flavours were well balanced and exhibited the rich earthiness of the mushrooms.

The star of the show was undoubtedly the Lobster Tail and Chilean Seabass with Orange Basil Sauce, Asparagus, and Mushrooms Ragout. This dish was specially crafted for our media visit, and as such, is not yet available on the menu. You can try the award-winning Chilean Seabass dish at the restaurant, just without the lobster tail.

The dish hit all the right notes, and was done with finesse. Huge, meaty chunk of seabass, perfectly done. Airflown into Malaysia, it still retained an amazing degree of freshness, and the flesh was naturally sweet and had a melt in the mouth texture. Asparagus was also done well, crisp and cooked to perfection. Lobster tail was sweet with a springy texture, and the orange basil sauce brought all the different elements together. Worthy of a five star establishment!

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To end the meal, molten chocolate lava cake which oozed out beautifully when the cake was cut. It was a little too sweet, but the tartness of the fruit and the lightness of the ice cream cut through the flavours and prevented it from being cloying.

If you’re looking to impress a date while in Genting, or simply want to splurge a little with your casino winnings, opt for The Olive for its impeccable service, ambience and excellent food.

THE OLIVE 

Lobby Floor, Maxims Genting

Opening hours: 6PM – 11PM (daily), 12PM – 2.30PM (Sundays only)

For reservations, call +603-6101 1118

 

Experiencing Australia’s Prosecco Road: Chrismont Cellar Door, Pizzini Wines & A Tavola ! Cooking School

The initial plan for my third day on the Victoria High Country Food and Wine Trail was to go on a hot air balloon ride over the King Valley wine region. Unfortunately, the weather did not permit (cries) and I had to be content with a tour on solid ground instead. I was a tad disappointed, but quickly perked up when we visited Australia’s very own Prosecco Road, where five prominent winemakers have set up their vineyards. Some of these are run by second or third generation Italian immigrant families, and a few of the owners of separate vineyards are  related.

We stopped by for a quick wine tasting at Chrismont Cellar Door, a modern building perched on top of a hill with beautiful architecture and gorgeous views of their vineyards. First established in 1996, Chrismont carries four brands, namely the Chrismont, La Zona, Riserva and Casa, each with their unique wines.

We tried the classic European varietals from the Chrismont range,which included well-loved favourites like Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their La Zona (Italian for the zone) range, on the other hand, carried the signature Prosecco NV, along with Mediterranean varietals such as Nebbiolo and Moscato. Riserva are for the older vintages dating back to 2005-06, while Casa offers the cheaper blends.

CHRISMONT 

251 Upper King River Road, Cheshunt

Operating hours: 10am-5pm

chrismont.com.au

Next we came to Pizzini Wines, which also houses the A Tavola! Cooking School, where we had a cooking class scheduled. The school was located in a long, low building with a few tobacco drying sheds and flowers lining a pretty little creek. Very picturesque, like a scenery you’d find on a postcard.

There was still some time, so the friendly manager at Pizzini’s took us up to the vineyards in his car. It was quite the ride as the car bumped and jolted through uneven paths. The lane was just wide enough for us to pass, and at times grape vines would brush against the vehicle.

After a 10 minute ride, we parked at the top of the hill to look down onto the scenic valley, flanked by rings of mountains as far as the eye could see. Large swathes of land were covered in vineyards, or were kept as pastures for cattle and sheep. The air was fresh and clean, and we leaned back against the hood of the car while sipping on a few glasses of Pizzini wines (how am I not drunk yet? It’s 11 in the morning).

It was early autumn during our visit, so the grapes had not been harvested. They looked plump and juicy.

The taste of wine depends a lot on the weather and climate, which affect how well the grapes grow. Certain conditions can cause the grapes to be sour/sweeter/have more acidity/etc. It’s not easy being a winemaker !

Time to head into the kitchen! We were met by the friendly proprietress, Katrina Pizzini, who learnt the art of making Italian food when she married her husband, Fred, and joined the Pizzini family. Her hands-on classes are small and intimate, with an emphasis on hearty local/Italian fare that uses fresh ingredients.

Now I’m not much of a cook (I prefer eating lol), but Katrina has a very patient, motherly vibe to her and the classes were easy enough to follow, even for beginners. Our first dish? A classic vegetable stew, with ripe and juicy chopped tomatoes, eggplants and peppers tossed into a huge pot and left to simmer on low heat.

Katrina showing us the ropes.

We prepared the apple strudel before our main course, as this had to be baked for some time. The recipe was handed down by the Pizzini family’s matriarch, Nonna, who learnt it from an Austrian chef.

We kneaded and rolled the pastry into sheets. The filling was made up of thick, sweet slices of apple, as well as raisins and currants that was then sprinkled over with cinnamon and cloves before it was rolled up into a fat, log shape. Then, it was the basting process for aroma and shine. In it went into the oven!

For our mains, we prepared gnocchi(a chewy potato/dough dumpling) and hand-made pasta. It was quite an experience making my own pasta – I’m so used to buying ready made ones that you can just chuck into the water – so to actually make the mix, blend and knead the dough, roll it out and shape it made me realise why ‘hand-made’ food tastes better: you’re in control of the whole process. Also, it’s a ‘labour of love’. 😀

A quick salad was drenched in liberal amounts of olive oil and tossed.

We had lunch on the verandah overlooking the field and nearby creek, complete with a chequered table cloth ! Katrina had put together our pasta with some simple dressing and garlic. The dish was smooth and fragrant, and the noodles had an al-dente texture. Amazing what a little guidance in the kitchen can turn up 😛

The gnocchi was chewy, cooked in a thick and rich tomato-base sauce. Although the shape was a little off (some were bigger or smaller), it turned out well overall, especially when sprinkled over with some cheese. The apple strudel that we made was a perfect sweet ending to the satisfying meal: flaky, rich and chock full of apples and currants.

We had a visitor at the table! Although Katrina asked us not to feed him…. He made puppy eyes throughout lunch.

It was a great experience at A Tavola ! Cooking School, and I recommend it to anyone doing the food and wine trail in the King Valley. Classes are available for booking online.

A Tavola! Cooking School (inside Pizzini Wines) 

175 King Valley Rd, Whitfield VIC 3733, Australia
Phone: +61 3 5729 8030
pizzini.com.au

 

Authentic Italian Cheeses @ La Latteria Mozarella Laboratory, Milk & Yoghurt, Melbourne

There are so many gems (of the gastronomic variety!) to be found in the old neighbourhood of Carlton in Melbourne – especially in its Little Italy district along Lygon Street, which is famed for its pizzerias, alfresco dining cafes, bakeries and Italian restaurants. For stout dairy devotees, a must visit while in this part of town is La Latteria. Don’t let its humble-looking facade fool you: the place has its own ‘Mozzarella Laboratory’, and churns out fresh cheeses that are hand-stretched and shaped here daily, in addition to milk, yoghurt, cream, hams and other goodies you’ll find on a table in Italian homes.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a beautiful display: slabs of cheese wheels, round balls of fiore di burrata and buffalo mozzarella soaking in brine, olives, peppers, as well as stacks of sausages and hams. Hailing from Malaysia where knowledge of ‘popular’ Italian food is generally limited to things like pizza and pasta, I was glad that the outlet’s friendly proprietor, Katia, had the patience to walk me through some cheesy terminology:

  • Burrata – Cheese with a mozzarella skin , shaped like a money bag and filled with seasoned and stretched curd and cream.
  • Fiore di Burrata – A beautiful ball of fresh mozzarella with oozy, seasoned cream in the centre.
  • Ricotta – Milky cheese that is like a spread, with a smooth texture and delicate flavour.
  • Pecorino – A type of hard cheese, with filling such as olives, peppers and chillies.

Cheeses at La Latteria are freshly made from pasteurised milk sourced from Melbourne’s surrounding Victoria region.

We tried the latter three, served on a wooden chop board with thin wafers. The Fiore de Burrata, made from buffalo milk rather than regular cow’s milk (it’s supposedly lower in cholesterol and rich in vitamin A) was my favourite – the ball had a soft, bouncy texture and a fresh creaminess that was not cloying, while the centre was oozy, light and savoury. Eaten cold, it was super addictive even on its own. Similarly, the ricotta was rich in flavour but light, with an airy texture: perfect for desserts, pastries or added on pastas. The pecorino was good, a bit on the salty side, but then again I’ve always preferred squishy, chewy cheeses over hard ones.

Tempted to bring some of these goodies home, but I still had a couple of days to go around Aus and storage would have been a problem. 😛

Still reminiscing on that amazingly light but creamy flavour of the burrata as I type this *drools*.

La Latteria (Melbourne) 

104 Elgin Street, Carlton 3053

Phone: 03 9347 9009

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 2pm

lalatteria.com.au

 

 

Salvatore Ferragamo’s 2017/2018 Pre-Fall Collection

Fans of Salvatore Ferragamo are in for a treat, as the Italian luxury brand celebrates a new chapter in its history with the debut of their Pre-Fall 2017/18 Women’s Footwear Collection – the first created by Paul Andrew, the category’s newly appointed design director.

The new designs see Andrew putting to centerstage founder Salvatore Ferragamo’s lifelong dedication and obsession with craftsmanship, innovation and fit – essential values that were as vital to the craft today as it was in 1927, when the brand was founded.

High tech meets high-craft in a series of sharply punctuated groups, where Andrew harnesses state-of-the-art technology and the savoir-faire of Italy’s finest artisans. Timeless icons and design gestures have been reimagined and recast, from the signature black and gold and a ‘column heel’ from the late 1930s, to a reconceived ‘F’ wedge and the new flat: A sneaker in Neoprene or technical stretch rib knit.

Fit standards have also been adjusted for today’s global clients, motivated by the belief that the success of a design is measured not only through its visual evidence, but also its experience.

“My concept for the collection was simply to highlight the fundamentals that made Salvatore such a profound and groundbreaking presence in his field and to express those values through designs that are relevant to a new generation of strong, discerning women.” – Paul Andrew

The pre-fall 2017/18 Women’s Footwear Collection is available to purchase in stores and online at ferragamo.com. 

Kuala Lumpur outlets: 

Bukit Bintang: 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Lot 2.20 & 3.22, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mid Valley: Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, G-220, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Suria KLCC: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, G32, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Motorino Napoli-style Italian Pizza @ Genting Sky Avenue

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! 🙂

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Served fresh and piping hot !

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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.

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Antipasti of Roasted Chicken Wings (RM20) was tender and flavourful, drenched in a light sauce of lemon, chilli flakes, onion and mint.

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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.

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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.

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Caesar Salad (RM17) : Baby Romaine, red onion, Parmigiano, anchovies and Caesar dressing with Croutons.

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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 

MOTORINO 

Level 1, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting, 69000
Genting Highlands Resort, Pahang, Malaysia

Open daily: 11AM-10PM