Italy has always been on top of my to-travel-to lists all the time. I adore their food, I love how scenic the country is and I too love how they have come a long way with an incredible history behind.
I am glad that now, while I am still working on my savings to travel to Italy, I can easily get my Italian cuisine cravings fixed at Portofino, an authentic Italian restaurant nestled in the quieter side of Bangsar- Lucky Garden.
Portofino, named after a beautiful and posh seaside village in North West Italy, takes pride in their plethora of authentic Italian Cuisine, alongside with a selection of dishes which had been added a twist of Asian flavours. Chef Keli and Luca, both bona fide Italiano fell in love with Malaysia on a holiday to Malaysia about 2 years ago. 2 hours were all they took to decide opening a restaurant in the hot tropical country, Malaysia.
Keli, a young and passionate chef whom started cooking since the age of 14, had worked with numerous hotels and restaurants back in Italy, of which consist of a Michelin Starred Restaurant. From menu designing to procuring ingredients, Chef Keli pays tremendous attention to all the details ensuring only the best will be served on a plate to a customer.
Portofino occupies a two-storey corner building with eye-catching blue lettering emblazoning the shop sign. This place was once Pizza Hut called home for 15 years, but Chef Keli and Luca had given this place a complete refurbishment! The dark wooden themed furniture exudes a posh yet exuberant vibe all around the restaurant.
Be it family gathering or chilling out with friends by the bar, this place is every bit an all rounder.
The upper floor is spacious, great for romantic dinner dates or company events!
Sitting down for an authentic all Italian cuisine with a true-blue Italian, D and I felt as if we were teleported to Italy!
It was an absolute honour to have Chef Keli handpicked some of the best dishes this place offers.
And had him briefed us through the intricate procedures to getting these lovely dishes done.
Our lovely luncheon commenced with a refreshing salad!
Insalata Portofino - Seafood Salad (RM30) -Chef Recommendation
Sauteed fresh prawns, squid rings, scallops, baby octopus served with black olives, romaine lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber, green apple slices, red onions and capsicum with an exquisite house dressing.
I used to despise having fruits tossed into a bowl of vegetables,
but this dish changed my mind!
I love how green apple added a hint of sweetness to all the fresh and raw vegetables.
I found myself enjoying the refreshing dressing a lot.
Slightly sweet and sour, the dressing enhanced the freshness of the seafood at the same time removing the strong fishy taste.
Bruschetta alle olive - Bruschetta with Black Olive Pate (RM12)
Toasted bread spread with pate of black olice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Italian anchovies
I have never thought black olives would taste this good!
I like how the bread wasn't overdone, it was crunchy but soft in the center,
makes eating them such a breeze!
Pate also sits securely on the bread, so there is no need to fret about creating a mess on your table.
If you love Olive, this is definitely a must-try as it is truly olive, with anchovies mixed in to add texture.
Chef Keli told us that their handmade pastas are the best selling items on their extensive menu consisting over 60 dishes.
Ravioli con Erbetta - Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli (RM36) -Vegetarian
Homemade ravioli filled with fresh spinach, ricotta cheese and parmigiano reggiano.
Served with fresh tomato and basil sauce.
This vegetarian choice tasted surprisingly great.
Contrary to popular belief, this spinach ravioli is anything but bland,
all thanks to the delicious cheese that has evenly coated each and every strand of the spinach,
along with the tomato puree that tasted sweet and just a tad bit of sourness.
This had quickly become my favourite dish of the day!
I have always loved Ravioli as I fancied the idea of expecting a surprise in between the pastas after taking a bite.
Risotto ai Gamberi e Curry - Risotto with prawns and curry spices (Rm36) -CR
A unique risotto with fresh prawns, curry spices, apple and cream
This dish was D's favourite out of all dishes, and it came in a close second for me.
I love how the risotto was very nicely cooked, nothing too soggy or too hard as a result of underdooking.
You may be surprised to find some diced apples mixed in the risotto which added sweetness,
and balance off the otherwise strong curry flavour.
Four Seasons Pizza (RM36) -CR
Tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, turkey ham, mushrooms and black olives
As the name suggest, it's a pizza with four different toppings!
The 12 inches pizza came in 8 slices.
Each of the thin crust is coated with generous amount of cheese toppings,
make every bite a pleasure!
We were also introduced to their homemade chilli sauces which was the bomb!
Made with vinegar and chilli padis, it was sweet and soury with just a slight spiciness.
Their home made hot sauce is apparently really popular amongst their patrons and it is even sold in their restaurant!
What is an Italian dining without ending with desserts?
Creme brulee (RM16)
Cooked with cream custard and caramelized sugar.
Unlike usual creme brulee, theirs was infused with lime and orange juice,
which added a zesty taste to the otherwise very guilt-inducing pot of creams.
Tiramisu (RM16) -CR
Made with coffee, almond liquor combined with mascarpone cheese.
I love love love their Tiramisu.
It was really refreshing compared to all the other tiramisu I have tried.
The secret lies in the preparation of the eggs!
So you could spare yourself from the eggy taste, and just indulge in the pure goodness of mascarpone cheese and almond liquor.
It was a really lovely experience to be dining with the chef, enjoying truly incredible food and listening to stories behind this rising restaurant. I love how their staffs are really friendly and helpful, and service was really prompt too. It is a really good place for affordable authentic Italian cuisine without compromising the taste. I couldn't recommend this restaurant enough!
If you are keen to learn more about them, feel free to like them on their FB page:
Address: No. 1, Persiaran Ara Kiri, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, Wilayah Persekutuan, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone:+60 3-2094 8490
Hours: 11AM–12AM daily