Thursday, July 1, 2010

il Lido Italian Dining + Lounge Bar, Kuala Lumpur

Having read several glowing reviews on il Lido, we were keen to visit this Italian restaurant and sample their food. il Lido, inspired by Venice's Lido island, has been hailed as one of Singapore's best Italian restaurant by several publications. Using only the most premium ingredients sourced from Italy, fresh homemade pasta and gourmet meats, we had high expectations of our meal at il Lido.

We bumped into the Executive Chef, Samuel Alvisi when we got out of the lift, and he kindly directed us to the restaurant where an army of waiters were just finishing their daily briefing. Being the first two customers of the day, we were literally swamped with too many waiters at one time. Gradually, as more customers arrived, the number of waiters attending to us whittled down to around 5. We chose a rather secluded table so not to be intimidated by their peering eyes.

The decor here is chic, contemporary and very sleek with noted designer pieces such as Philippe Starck's chairs. I was impressed that I even got a stool for my handbag, this is what I call attentive service (just like in Mesana!).

Are you comfortable there, dear bag?

We went with the intention of first sampling their set lunch, and if the food was any good (as what others have said), then we would come back and have the degustation / a la carte items. However, after browsing through their menu, Hubby was keen to try their Classic Set Menu. Looking at his choice of menu, I didn't hold back myself and went for the whopper, the Degustation Set Menu.

Focaccia flavored with onions, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar was slightly soggy on the bottom. Nevertheless, flavoursome.

Amuse bouche was lightly seared tuna topped with caviar, served on a bed of radish (or parsnips?). Pretty tasteless, a little seasoning would have done the trick to make it palatable.

Hubby's first course was the Pan Roasted Scallops with Tomato Compote and Liquorice Sauce. The scallops were plump and juicy, and he was pleasantly surprised by the combination of scallops and tomato compote.

My first course, the Crab Salad with Avocado and Bisque Jelly (photos which I have seen on il Lido's Facebook page), was a beauty to look at but disappointing in terms of taste. It was far too bland for my liking. Again, all it needs is a little seasoning. And I was dismayed to find bits of crab shell in my crab salad, I would have thought a fine dining restaurant like this would be more meticulous in their food preparation.

Since my Degustation Menu consists of 5-courses and Hubby's Classic Set Menu only of 4, he had to watch while I ate my next course, Pan Fried Goose Liver with Saba Wine Must and Sweet Potato Galette. This, I have to say, was simply a delight to eat. It was probably my favorite dish of the day. The foie gras had a crisp outer layer, while still being soft and silky on the inside, which literally melted in my mouth..... ooooh la la. The sweet potato galette had a slight sweetness to it which complimented the foie gras very well. And, yes, I did share this with Hubby, I couldn't just let him watch and salivate!

Next up were the pasta dishes. Hubby had the Squid Ink Tonnarelli with Spicy Crab and Saffron Foam. This was a rather unique dish, as the tonnarelli is coloured by the squid ink, so leaving quite a distinct squid taste to the pasta. The spicy crab sauce was really delicious and the combination of flavours were magical.

I had the Tagliolini with Lobster and Spicy Calabria Salami. The homemade pasta, cooked al dente, mixed with the spicy salami sauce was absolutely divine. The sauce was packed full of intense flavours. The focaccia came in handy for soaking up the flavoursome sauce.

Hubby got to choose between the Wagyu Beef Cheek or Pan Roasted Atlantic Cod with Savoy Cabbage and Pumpkin Sauce and he chose the latter. An excellent choice, as the cod was flaky, moist and chunky with a crispy exterior. The natural sweetness of the fish definitely shone through.

Having read so much about the next dish, the Sardinian Roasted Suckling Pig with Plum Sauce, a classic regional specialty, I was excited to take my first bite. Topped with a crispy skin, the tender meat with layers of melt-in-your-mouth fat had masses of flavour. However, I felt the plum sauce was not very distinct and the saviour was actually the caramelised shallot, which had the requisite sweetness to accompany the suckling pig.

Desserts are definitely not their forte; Hubby was deeply disappointed with the vanilla ice-cream served with his Molten Lava Chocolate Cake. When it arrived, I commented that it resembled "fried custard" (?). It tasted nothing like vanilla ice-cream, and had bits of ice in it.

My Ricotta Cheese Cake with Orange and Pistachio fared slightly better, although I have had better cheesecakes. The cheesecake was light and delicate, wrapped in a thin flaky pastry, topped with pistachio and edible gold paper.

Petit fours of amaretti biscuits, white chocolate and dark chocolate were served in a plate far too big. The best of the lot was probably the white chocolate, which reminded us of Milky Bars we used to get in the UK. The dark chocolate was far too bitter for my liking, leaving an unfavourable taste in my mouth. Oh, and it was almost too squishy to hold with our fingers.

After our meal, we asked if we could view their Lounge Bar, and the Restaurant Manager, Fendi kindly took us upstairs for a tour. The lounge bar is still in the midst of renovation, but they are hoping to open on the 1st July (today as you read this!). Looks pretty funky although unfinished, it promises a spectacular rooftop lounge bar with charming views of KL's vibrant skyline.

What I didn't like: I was slightly dissatisfied with the way they served us drinks; when we arrived, we specifically asked for cold water (if Sage can serve us cold water instead of still, why can't they?) but they still brought us still water. We didn't want to make a fuss about it, so just accepted what they brought. However, to my dismay they opened a 2nd bottle without having the common courtesy of asking whether we wanted another one! Still water to me is just water, why pay RM18 a bottle for it?

Verdict: The restaurant is stunning, but the food was a bit of hit and miss. While some dishes were exceptional and bursting with flavours, several were lacking, in terms of seasoning. However, we would come back at a later date to try their set lunch menu.

Lunch: Mon-Fri: 12.00 -2.30pm
Dinner: Mon-Sat: 6.30 - 10.30pm

Service: Good.

Price: RM150++ for the Classic Set Menu (4-course) and RM180++ for the Degustation Set Menu (5-course).

Location: il Lido Italian Dining + Lounge Bar, Lot 183, Jalan Mayang (off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng). 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2161 2291

Directions: We did not instantly find this place, so a little directions might be helpful to the rest of you. As you drive along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, you will notice Menara Ambank on your right. Directly opposite it is The Mayang Club / il Lido. Take a sharp left up the ramp and you would find il Lido here. However, if you miss the ramp, fret not. Take a left turning at the traffic light, and another left at the 2nd traffic light, then bear left into Jalan Mayang, drive all the way to the end of the road, and il Lido is the last building on the left.

GPS Coordinates: 3.16047, 101.71099



  1. Dropping by ere. =). Nice pics

  2. There is detail in the way food here is presented, very pleasing to the eye and intriguing to the senses of what the eye candy would translate to on the tongue for a person who has not tried like me :)

  3. Lean: Thanks!

    Quirky: The food here were definitely presented well, most of them tasted as good as it looked. Hopefully everything will be tiptop in a couple of months.

  4. very honest comments here, looks like they need to buck up the service, to tone down the aggressiveness, and improve inside the kitchen too.

  5. joe: hopefully they will get better in time..

  6. is there a lunch set which only costs rm49.90? it?

  7. Yes, there is a set lunch for RM49.90++. Served Monday to Friday.


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