Saturday, February 7, 2015

La Risata, Medan Damansara: The Italian Valentine


A San Valentino Romance and more…


I am smitten… totally smitten with La Risata, an Italian restaurant that I discovered recently hidden in Medan Damansara and a second branch in Ampang. La Risata has been dishing out authentic Italian favorites since 1996. I wonder how come I had never visited this Italian bar cum pizzeria before because the food here is scrumptious!


My first visit to La Risata, translate as ‘The Laughter’, was an unforgettable dining experience. The ambience resembles smart and casual Italian eatery with a soft dim lighting, evoking much comfort with a little romance in tow. One can choose from their indoor dining or their al fresco dining. La Risata has a long bar greeting everyone at the entrance and followed by a view of the wood oven at the end of the room. Lots of wood with earthy tones made up the rustic interior. It’s comfortable dining at a glance.


We were here for a peek at their upcoming romance menu themed San Valentino to be available on Valentine’s Day.  The four-course Italian set menu is priced at RM110++ per pax. The value for money Valentine set menu will have many hearts fluttering with its take of an Italian romantic experience this Valentine’s Day!


Kicking off with an amuse bouche of Chilled Gazpacho, the evening took off with a zesty and refreshing start.


The Carpaccio di Salmone arrived, all prettily arranged like art. Home-made Smoked Salmon Carpaccio is served with the luxurious Avruga Caviar, rocket leaves, fennel salad, boiled quail eggs, orange segments and cherry tomatoes. This course is a medley if salty, sweet and tangy flavours beautifully married with a light herb and oil dressing. I enjoyed the creamy rich salmon and pop of salty caviars contrasting with the citrus segments. It reminded me that love is a little bit of everything like its flavours.


The second course was Raviolone, a traditional Bergamo Raviolo stuffed with lamb, pear, biscuit and cheese served in a butter and sage sauce with Mosto Cotto sauce or balsamic vinegar. Sounds complicated but the dish is surprisingly light and rustic. The ravioli was tender and very light. I enjoyed the gorgeous buttery sage sauce with a light drizzle of rich reduced balsamic vinegar. The crispy breaded sage leaf gave the dish a contrasting texture.


Guests are to choose a main course out of the two choices available with one from land and one from sea. The first one of Tonno Rosso features seared red tuna loin served with leek risotto, rose jam and black ink salted butter. The chef has cleverly paired all the ingredients together to evoke the balance of flavours again. I really love the leek risotto which was absolutely creamy and cooked al dente to my liking. The unique luscious black ink butter gave the tuna a bold and oceanic flavour while the rose jam brought sweetness to the overall dish.


The second choice of main course was Ossobuco alla Milanese, a very traditional Milanese style braised ossobuco served with polenta ‘Concia’ and gremolata sauce. It’s a plate filled with bold and rich flavours. The deep rich ossobuco was tender and well braised. It also came with a luscious bone marrow made for digging. The dollop of polenta was a bomb of flavours as it had loads of strong cheese like gorgonzola and parmesan in it while the bright gremolata sauce had a good dose of herbs to cut the richness of the meat and polenta. Though I am not much of an ossobuco fan, I enjoyed this combination a lot.


Every love story should have a sweet and sinful ending. The San Valentino menu ended with Zabaione al Cioccolato, a cold chocolate sabayon on strawberry salad served with whipped cream and hazelnut crumble. Strawberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven so there’s nothing better this Valentine that to enjoy the match as a sweet ending with your loved one!


Besides the Valentine menu, La Risata’s regular menu is a menu to watch out for. The menu is filled with their handcrafted signature pizzas and pasta together with some Italian main courses and a list of delectable desserts.


We tasted their Antipasti Misti, a platter of a bit of everything Italian. Beef Carpaccio, Deep Fried Calamari Rings, Grilled Mushroom, Chicken Liver Pate with Garlic Crostini is carefully arranged on a platter. The small bites really whet the appetite. What stood out among the plate was the magnificent Chicken Liver Pate which is silky smooth and very luscious with a hint of buttery notes. It was so good, I wanted to order more of this on its own.


La Risata makes possibly the best pizza I have tasted with its signature thin crust and filled with hearty toppings that impressed us all upon arrival. We savored Pizza Frutti Di Mare, Pizza D’Anatra and Pizza Pera E Gorgonzola that evening out of their choices of 19 pizzas.


Pizza Frutti Di Mare has whole prawns, squid, garlic, basil, tomato and mozzarella while Pizza D’Anatra has smoked duck, rocket, anchovy, caramelized and mozzarella and Pizza Pera E Gorgonzola has pear shavings, rocket salad, gorgonzola, mozzarella and walnut. I didn’t bother trying to choose a favorite as all three were my favorites that night.


Each pizza has its own unique flavours and is bold and delicious. High points goes to the how chunky the filling is, making the pizza utterly irresistible. It was high ravings among all of us that evening for these pizzas!


From the pasta section, we had the Capellini Al Nero Con Frutti Di Mare, angel hair pasta with prawn, squid and roasted cherry tomatoes in a squid ink sauce. The pasta is aromatic and cooked well. While most places also tend to cook the seafood in the squid ink sauce, the seafood here is cooked separately, making it prettier at sight. The pasta is very tasty with the interesting oceanic black squid ink sauce while the seafood is cooked well.


From the main course sections, we had Pesce Alle Melanzane Piccante and Agnello Alla Griglia.


Pesce Alle Melanzane Piccante  is pan fried fillet of barramundi with sautéed eggplant, anchovy, garlic, chili and pine nuts while Agnello Alla Griglia is grilled Australian lamb tenderloin with a fennel and black pepper crust served with mashed chickpea and vegetable caponata and a red wine reduction. Both dishes does have a lot of ingredients on a plate but they paired well together. The barramundi had a good crusty skin with tender sweet flesh. I like it paired with vegetables and pine nuts because it had a good lightness for easy savoring. The lamb tenderloin is so tender and delicious as well.


Our evening ended with more desserts from the a la carte menu. From Sicilian Bombe to Cannoli, Zucotto and Panettone Bread & Pudding, there is a sweet list of desserts to please everyone.


Our Sicilian Bombe stole the limelight with its brandied flaming action. Once the flame has died down, we dug into a thick sweet meringue to unveil liquored sponge filled with lemon cream brought together with the brandy. Sinful and sweet…


Cannoli is Sicilian fried pastry shell filled with a sweet ricotta cream dipped in chocolate and pistachio. This dessert never fails to remind me of a precious moment in my life with someone special. The cannoli here is pretty authentic and so good!


Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding was also another favorite of mine. I am a big fan of bread & butter pudding and this one was light as it uses Italian bread panettone. It is nicely studded with raisins and drizzled with caramel sauce for extra richness and is served with vanilla ice cream. Yum…


Another Italian dessert of Zucotto tasted as good as it looks. A wedge of Liqueur dome cake filled with chocolate and vanilla cream with almond, hazelnut and chocolate bits does wonders for the taste as the combination is pretty much classic.


La Risata also has a long list of wines and other beverages in their menu. As most of us decided to go the no alcohol route, we opted for their Italian sodas instead with Passionfruit Cream Soda, Apple Juice, Tangy Blush and Melon Kiwi Soda.


La Risata is my new Italian love this season. There’s a reason why it is still around after more than a decade. Serving up authentic and rustic Italian food with a reasonable price, the bar cum pizzeria is definitely dishing out great pizzas, pasta and other Italian dishes to many foodies like me. I am already planning to head back for their pizzas and pasta with my family…


LA RISATA
128 Jalan Kasah,
Medan Damansara                   
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2095-9572


Lunch: 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm

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