November 24, 2011

Porto Romano, The Intermark: Melting Port of Mediterranean Cuisine

Intermingling the cuisine of Albanian, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, Porto Romano reigns into a luscious melting pot of rustic and bona fide dishes to please even the finicky food connoisseurs!

The latest addition to the Porto Romano restaurant group is located at The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur. Ristorante Porto Romano is the brainchild of Eddie and Sonila Wong, a dynamic husband and wife team who dreams of showcasing some of the best dishes from the Mediterranean shores.  

The restaurant is already famous in the city since a few years ago and is still proudly sharing a plethora of scrumptious dishes today. The whole ambience is decorated with combination of a classic theme of light and dark furniture with a wall showcasing memorabilia of classic movies from the past! There is a gorgeous marble bar that featured a lovely range of wines and decked with state-of-the-art coffee machine. Private dining rooms are also available at this outlet for private functions. I spied an open concept kitchen discreet tucked in the corner of the restaurant.

We started off with some Fruit Juices and beautiful Canepa wine selections of Chardonnay and Carbernet Sauvignon while someone opted for a pint of Kilkenny beer!

Canepa Wines features Chilean wines inspired from Italian soul. Our classic Chardonnay 2009 was fruity and very smooth on the palate while the red Carbernet Sauvignon 2010 had a straight and almost velvety taste with a hint of chocolate undertone.

Spicy fans, take note and request for a bottle of the house made Chili Sauce! Awesomely spicy!!

Our journey of the Mediterranean cuisine begins with a very rustic Grilled Vegetables (RM28) featuring a rainbow of grilled bell peppers, aubergines and zucchini, simply dressed with garlic, balsamic vinegar and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Smoky and pungent from garlic, the vegetable slices were addictively beautiful with a hint of sourness.

Famed for salads, Mediterranean salads tend to focus on seafood from the abundance available due to geographic location. Porto Romano Salad (RM24) displayed an array of fresh seafood such as prawn, clam, squid and mussels all vying for attention in a light dressing of herbs, lemon juice and EVOO. Bold in showcasing fresh seafood flavors and further enhanced in a huge seashell bowl!

Soups are crucial in the three countries and Porto Romano proudly produced fairly big options of soups in their menu. Out of the seven choices, we sampled three with one being Porto Romano Seafood Soup (RM24). This one guarantees to please with its overloaded array of fresh seafood cooked in a tomato based broth. Hints of herbs complete the soup lusciously!

Ox-Tail Soup (RM29) is not new to my palate but the version here is simply ‘Magnifico’! Big chunks of oxtail braised till tender swims in a broth filled with tender pieces of carrots, celery and onions. Make sure to dip house made bread into the broth for a hearty sensation… J

Prawn Bisque (RM16) has a thick and velvety texture with a base of prawn flavors melded with a swirl of cream.

After stuffing ourselves with soup, we proceeded to pastas for our carb devotion. I really cannot decide which of the pasta I like better and concurred that both were equally fabulous on its own.

Squid Ink Pasta (RM35) had jet black thick strips of fettuccine cooked al dente and accompanied by fresh squid to enhance the flavors. Great control of seasoning and flavors as the pasta flavors were savory and clean with hints fresh squids making this even more delectable. Delicious!!

I also adored the Spaghetti Puttanesca (RM27) as the flavors were beautiful from the essence of tomatoes, capers, olives and anchovies. Tender pieces of aubergines went surprisingly well with the pasta as it absorbs the tomato sauce beautifully. Customers are definitely spoilt for choice with a list of 18 pastas ranging from the brave Penne al Gorgonzola to the classic Spaghetti con Aglio e Olio!

Our next carb dedication led me to Porto Romano’s rustic pizzas! Pizza al Toro (RM35) is a haven of beefy goodness. The fairly thin crust pizza is laden with strips of beef pepperoni, beef bacon, beef pastrami and held together by a sea of melting cheese. A light tomato sauce jazzed up the pizza while a sprinkling of herbs aromatized the pizza… a Porto Romano Original!

Porto Romano’s signature pizza, Pizza Pesto & Chicken (RM45) is concocted by Sonila herself!  Tomato sauce makes way for a nutty and herb pesto sauce while lean thin chicken strips lay down the protein for the pizza. I like how the pizza tasted of herbs and cheese in its original form as this really makes the pizza truly unique and delicious in its own way.

Char-Broiled Chicken Leg Spanish Style (RM32) may sound unconsciously normal but flavors exceed my expectation. The chicken was so juicy and tender, a sign of perfect timing of doneness, while the slightly citrusy sauce of lemon really brings out the sweetness of the moist chicken. A medley of roasted potatoes and bell peppers finished the dish beautifully in a comforting manner. I really enjoyed this dish a lot!!

Moussaka (RM38) is an infamous Greek classic version of lasagna. As my sister’s mother-in-law was of Greek descendant, I was introduced to this dish a long time ago and have fallen hopelessly in love with moussaka (btw, my sis makes a mean moussaka)!

The version here was equally tantalizing with its layers of grilled aubergines and potatoes while a scrumptious minced lamb sauce hinted with cinnamon added the sauce to complete the whole cheesy dish. The dish was well seasoned and brings a sensation of comfort food at its best… J

I like risotto when it’s done just right so Risotto Fruitti di Mare (RM32) passed with flying colors at this restaurant. Italian Arborio short grain rice cooked al dente interplay with an array of fresh seafood was definitely cooked to perfect consistency. The silky risotto was creamy and flavored well with white wine and sweetness of seafood, thus I happily dug into this dish with great gusto. I would definitely order this dish again.

Our last main dish ended with a glorious sight of Braised Lamb Shank (RM38). Simply the size of my hand, the huge lamb shank was slowly braised in oven for hours till just tender and was coated with a silky tomato based sauce lovingly.

The meat was so flavorful and the savory flavors exuded the hours of cooking with accompanied vegetables. A side salad or spaghetti comes with this dish although I would have also gladly enjoyed this with rice as well. Another Porto Romano original recipe!

No matter how much I enjoyed each meal, I detest the ending, especially when a meal is so awesome! My only consolation is to end my meal with desserts… J We savored two desserts and coffee that night.

Torta di Mele-Apple Pie (RM 12) is classic take on warm apple pie with ice cream. The apple pie is wrapped like a parcel with phyllo pastry instead of the usual short crust and has a filling of apple chunks dusted with all sorts of spice mix like cinnamon and nutmeg. My only gripe was the spices were a bit too heavy for my liking as it overshadowed the apples. No faults on ice cream as it was indeed very creamy and yummy.

Tiramisu (RM 15) fared better than the apple pie as it has all the essential criteria fulfilled for a luscious tiramisu. Creamy and silky smooth mascarpone cheese filling - checked! Coffee laced almond liqueur soaked biscuits - checked! Final dusting of quality cocoa – checked! A must for Tiramisu lovers… J

Affogato, a sinful interplay of a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato and a shot of hot espresso, optionally doused with another shot of liqueur is a brilliant creation believed to be created by the Italians. Porto Romano’s Affogato is beautifully made with love and a shot of Kahlua liqueur for that extra loving touch!

Porto Romano features Caffe Vergnano from Italy from the Vergnano family and has a history dated all the way back to 1882. The coffee beans are slow roasted for an even quality with maximum flavor and aroma. Coffee lovers… get your fix here!

My first visit and I am already an ardent fan of Ristorante Porto Romano! The menu has a long list of rustic and authentic dishes from antipasti, soups, pizzas, pastas and mains to desserts and coffees. Food connoisseurs are assured of quality for the price and Porto Romano features nothing but the best of Mediterranean dishes one can find here in the heart of the city. There is just a simple rustic and authentic emotion injected into all the dishes I tried and the flavors are well balanced while the execution is near perfection of each dish! I spied so many other dishes that I would have to come back for like Stuffed Mussels, Beef Carpaccio, Ravioli with Lobster Meat, Paella and Crema CatalanaJ

Ristorante Porto Romano
The Intermark KL
Lot 6, Lower Concourse,
182, Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2162 6799

*There is also two other outlets at Taman Tun Ismail and Mont Kiara.
**Thanks to Eddie, Sonila and Sid for the lovely evening!


  1. Caffe Vergnano smells nice... Italian cuisine must followed by Beer.. Pizza!!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. wow the grilled veges looks most healthy among all, but it seems like i would favour the affogato more ;) looks perfectly nice!


  4. The ox tail soup & seafood soup were my favorite that night!

  5. Nikel: The food is fabulous!

    Fish: I actually love the grilled veggies.. hehe!

    Choi Yen: oh yeah.. the soups are simple to-die-for leh... ;0)

  6. I feel like going there reading your blog!!!!