Location: 3C-G-2, Block C, Ground Floor, Straits Quay, Penang
Penangites! Be prepared to experience an Italian gastronomic sensation of a lifetime.... Spasso Milano, Penang's newest contemporary Italian restaurant opened its doors a couple of weeks ago at the prestigious Straits Quay (adjacent to Weissbrau). I was left speechless and honoured when I was invited by Spasso Milano to review its spanking new restaurant, extensive menu and had some personal time with its main star attraction, Chef Felice Martinelli who is a native Italian from Milan who had left me a lasting impression of his impeccable dedication and talent to true Italian traditional cuisine.
Only after speaking to Chef Felice and experiencing the food, I really appreciates what Spasso Milano is offering to food lovers in Penang - true authentic Italian cuisine made with the freshest and quality ingredients. I have since raised my understanding and appreciation of what traditional Italian cuisine is. Previously, all I know about Italian food is pizza and pasta but now I know that there is more to Italian cuisines beyond the common stereotypes.
Spasso Milano spares no expense in selecting the best ingredients in its dishes, even if it means importing them from Italy. For example, the mushroom soup is the best I ever had. Made from Porcini mushrooms and drizzled with white truffle oil which gave the soup a distinct aroma. Another dish I tried was the mushroom and truffle risotto and is one of our favourite picks as the risotto is less creamy & rich, leaving us to experience the real sweetness of the mushroom risotto and stock.
We also had pasta but Spasso pasta is a cut better than other pastas in other restaurant. Cooked al-dente as it should be and with pasta made from top quality Durum wheat which simply make the dish a very healthy choice and more delicious as the texture is able to hold more sauces. Spasso imported many other types of pasta that is not available in local market. That's what I call a top class restaurant.
We ordered the "Trutti Di Mare" pizza with assorted seafood. The pizza is baked in a natural wood fired oven. Domed in shape with a terracotta base, the wood fire reaches the temperature up to 400c degree evenly which only takes a few minutes for the pizza to cook. Wood fired pizza taste much better than any other conventional oven and the wood fire oven is the main showcase of the restaurant.
For antipasti, we had the home-smoked duck breast with avocados, pan-fried goose liver on a bed of rocket salad and drizzled with a balsamic reduction and the tuna tartar. My favourite is the duck breast and goose liver, simply delicious and tender.
For mains, we tried the lamb shank with polenta, grilled (medium rare) Wagyu rib eye, one served with crusted herbs and the other with gravy. My points goes to the Wagyu rib eye.
For desserts, we had Tiramisu, Chocolate Lava Cake and Panna Cotta which is fresh cream pudding with mixed fresh berry coulis. We also tried their chili jam which fills your palate with a pleasant spiciness. The fresh cream pudding is silky smooth but without doubt the Tiramisu is our favourite with its irresistibly creamy and biscuit fillings with a hint of liqueur. But to our pleasant surprise, no alcohol is used. The aroma comes from the Espresso coffee.
I recommend Spasso Milan for authentic Italian food. The establishment offers alfresco dining overlooking the marina and also offers a private dining area fronting the wine cellar and wood fire oven for those who requires a more discreet dining experience. At the time of the review, the restaurant is only serving dinner and by reservations only. I would definitely be returning to try the panini, garden fresh salads and their special white pizza (without tomato base) which we did not manage to order and also to create the chance to meet Chef Felice (again) who has more than 15 years of international experience. Do call Spasso Milano for reservation as the place was very popular. Spasso Milano also retails the best of Italy's olive oils, tea, pasta and balsamic vinegar. More dishes and wine will be added to the menu. You won't be disappointed!
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