Romance your loved one with a gorgeous meal..
I admit that when I first read about Romanza on Sean's blog, I was already mesmerised by the creativity in the plating of the dishes... call me a sucker for nice presentation! When I finally got the chance to dine here, I was indeed blown away by both the tastes and presentation of the dishes. Truly a maginificent dining experience for me.
Romanza is named after one of the owner's favorite albums from the famous Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli.It also translates to romance in Italian, and the owner hopes that the restaurant will be able to create romance between the diners and the food as well as the ambiance of the restaurant. The restaurant opened its doors to public on 14th February (Valentine's - the day of love) so it's love all around at Romanza.
Bold wallpaper, grey wall slates and chandeliers give the restaurant a modern yet classy outlook. Natural light pours into the restaurant during the day and by night, the restaurant is transformed into a romantic venue. There is also an outdoor terrace where you can literally dine under the stars at night.
Love is all around..
One thing for sure is that the food here is prepared with attention to detail. Even from the moment the amuse bouche was served to us, we were thoroughly impressed. The amuse bouche for the day was Norwegian salmon ceviche rolled in cucumber and topped with alfafa sprouts and caviar on a citrus gastrique.
We found out during our visit that the kitchen staff, including the head chef, sous chef and pastry chef are all from Capetown, South Africa. The head chef, Steven Kruger has numerous culinary awards under his belt and has previously worked in some of the top restaurants in Cape Town. The menu is wholly created by him featuring French Mediterranean cuisine with a hint of South African flair.
Kruger’s creative flair is evident in the food that we ate that afternoon, beautifully presented and often made up of a symphony of components that blend together to elevate the flavours of the dish. Lots of oohing and aahing going on at our table as each dish was presented to us.
We started off with the Sweet and Sour Tiger Prawns (RM45). One of the things you will find is that the dishes have very elaborate description beneath the name of the dish, and you will also find that one of the waiting staff (Conrad) is extremely knowledgable - hence if there is something you want to know about the dish, just ask away and he always has answers! Kruger tells us that his favorite ingredient in the kitchen is prawns.
The seared king prawns are placed on a bed of watercress, accompanied by mildly spiced peach salsa, spicy tomato sofrito and homemade coconut sorbet to take the edge off the spiciness. The prawns were huge and fresh and I love the vibrant colours of this dish. The chef uses lots of white plates and black tiles as a canvas for his dishes.
Work of art
The seared and sliced lamb (RM28) was another appetizer that we tried. The tender lamb was sliced thinly and served with smoked aubergine puree, eggplant chips and caviar and topped with alfafa sprouts and pretty edible flowers.
I love risotto and the wild mushroom risotto (RM24) here is perfectly executed. The risotto is toothsome, and possibly one of the prettiest risottos we've come across, thanks to the accompaniment of goat’s cheese croquettes, pan fried shimeji mushrooms and a crisp mushroom-truffle oil tortellini. On the side is a lemon infused Hollandaise sauce which blends well with the risotto.
Usually a palate cleanser need no description, but I think I ought to give this a mention here. When the palate cleanser of watermelon sorbet with kiwi was served, I remarked to Hubby that he could have mine as well since there was kiwi. 2 minutes later, Conrad returned with another palate cleanser for me, watermelon sorbet with watermelon cubes which he said "doesn't look as nice as the other one but at least you can eat this." I have to say I was really impressed with this small gesture, attentive service indeed!
The sesame crusted yellowfin tuna loin (RM60) has been lightly seared and is served with avocado puree, Indo-flavoured sushi rice and a nori layered omelette roll topped with caviar. I'm not a huge fan of seared tuna, as I usually like mine raw (sashimi!) but this was pleasantly nice and Hubby enjoyed this thoroughly.
Ostrich fillet is definitely not something we come across everyday. Kruger sources the ostrich meat from a local farm in Seremban. He tells us that it is an ingredient commonly used in South Africa, and the rarer it is the better! (the more you cook the meat, the tougher it will get)
The ostrich fillet (RM75) is first pan seared and then oven roasted to medium rare perfection. It is served with a spiced pumpkin puree flavoured with onions and a hint of chilli, pommes croquettes with dried apricots on a bed of red cabbage and mange tout and Japanese curry infused jus. Hubby remarked that he wouldn't mind ordering ostrich if he ever saw it on the menu again.
And the desserts here are to die for. First of all, kudos to the pastry chef for creating such a beautiful dessert. I have to say this is the first time I have eaten such an elaborate one in KL (last time I had something like this was in a Michelin restaurant in UK) and it was sooooooo delicious as well.
The chocolate landscape (RM42) is a work of art and pure delight to savour with five different chocolate components including the peppermint crisp semi freddo mille feuille, light white chocolate mousse, dark and white chocolate ganache with crisp hazelnut meringue and a chocolate cylinder filled with hazelnut anglaise. I think if you saw this on the menu, you may think it's expensive for a dessert but once it is served the price is kind of justified since a lot of work has gone into making this dessert. This is definitely one of the best desserts I've eaten in KL.
For a more wallet-friendly dessert but equally delicious, try the vanilla parfait (RM24) served with a raspberry coulis and white chocolate honeycomb. This is a refreshing dessert after a heavy meal, allow this dessert to "melt" a little as we felt this was the best way to enjoy it.
Verdict: After this meal, Romanza has rightfully earned a place as one of our recommended fine dining restaurants in KL.
Pork-free (no alcohol used in cooking).
Opening times: Lunch 12.00-3.00pm; Dinner 6.00pm-11.00pm. Closed on Mondays.
Service: Excellent service, very knowledgeable staff.
Location: Romanza Le Restaurant, Terrace at Hock Choon, 241 Lorong Nibong, off Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur (behind Hock Choon Supermarket).
Tel: 03-4252 6059
GPS Coordinates: 3.159981, 101.728742