Friday, May 03, 2013

Neroteca Italian

This was the dinner for my recent birthday. And it was a small quiet one. Just 4 family members. SP and wife were away in Perth. Crystal chose the venue. When she first mentioned the place, I had no idea what she was suggesting. For I had not heard of Neroteca.

Neroteca is located on the ground floor of the Somerset Residences on Lorong Ceylon in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur. It is quite tricky to find and a GPS is recommended. It is one of 3 restaurants of the Nero group. The other two are Nerovivo - a jazz place in Jalan Ceylon, and Nerofico in Wisma Perintis, Damansara Heights.

The place is the only commercial outlet in the spartan and barren Somerset Residences building.

Inside, it was small and narrow. Yet it was cosy and conducive, and somewhat European in decor.

Wine bottles lined the whole wall on one side of the restaurant.

Brass pots and pans dangled from the ceiling.

And salamis, sausages and garlic loomed over the serving counter.

The waitresses were friendly and helpful. One of them came over to help us with the menu. We made our selection and settled to nice leisurely dinner.

The bread was uniquely served with roasted garlic in a paper bag. They went very well with black Italian balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Our starter was the cold meat platter. It was a selection of cold cuts, ham, bacon and salami. It was served with some rocket salad and burrata cheese. The flavour of the various pork slices were wonderful. The burrata and rocket complemented the meat superbly. But the serving was quite small and we did not have enough of it.

Next was the roast piglet. The waitress first suggest half a piglet. We felt it would be too much for the 4 of us. Besides we were having other dishes. So we settled for just a serving. When it arrived, I thought it was a mistake. We did not order chicken. The serving of roast piglet which was the hind thigh, was no bigger than a chicken drumstick. The taste was so-so. It was not a wow. The skin which was supposed to be crispy was rather flaccid. And the meat was too dry. 

The Risotto Con Funghi was cooked in mushroom, peas and topped with rocket salad. The rice was rather mushy. The flavour was good. The serving like the others was small. The rocket actually blend with the risotto very well. I liked it.

Papardelle is a broad flat pasta, similar to fettuccine. The papardelle we ate was braised with wild boar meat in a tomato sauce flavoured with chianti wine. I personally did not quite like the broad pasta. I would preferred the thinner spaghetti or linguine. The flavour was very tomato. I did not detect any wine.

The last dish we shared was the Valdostana pan fried pork tenderloin with roast potato and asparagus, topped with fontina cheese. I think this was the worst choice of the evening. The meat was rather bland.  The sauce and cheese topping did not do much to enhance the flavour. I remembered the awesome pork tenderloin we had in Checkers. This was no where near.

We were done with the entrees and we were ready to order dessert. It was at this point that I heard the birthday song sung by the waiters and waitresses behind me. For a short while, I thought it was celebration at the next table behind us. Until they brought me this piece of cake and my family joined in the singing. It was a wonderful gesture - all arranged by Crystal. The tiramisu tasted exceptional good - compliments of the house.

The other desserts we had were this mango thingy in a glass. I really cannot remember what it is call. It was pleasantly delicious.

And this chocolate ice cream cake.

I ended the dinner with my usual long black, while my wife and Crystal had this innovative hot chocolate which was a chocolate "lollipop" dipped and melting into a cup of hot milk.

It was a memorable birthday dinner. The food was not the greatest. The occasion with my loved ones certainly was.

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