iL Primo, KLCC1 Apr 2011
Identity is important for a restaurant. Diners usually get their all-important first impressions long before they even see the menu so you’ve got to have a bit of character, a uniqueness to your eatery.
iL Primo have embraced the challenge of how to inject some distinctive personality into their setting through what must have been a sizeable financial investment and the interior design knowledge of people with genuine taste and flair.
Even the name smacks of the desire to be different, distinct, unique. No, that’s not a typo; that’s how iL Primo wants to be labelled.
You could also say that the location on one of central KL’s quieter streets (albeit triangulated within close proximity of the chaos of Bukit Bintang, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak) is quirky, especially when you consider it in the context of it being planted above a private members club.
In all this striving to be different though there is at the heart of this restaurant an achingly similar tale: its cuisine could only be described as “fusion”.
Oh no, I hear you cry. How disappointing. And, yes, of course we’ve all been “fused” more than any of us can cope with. But the trick at iL Primo is that you are not presented with various catch-all creations or have to choose between some bizarre cross-breed between Italian and Thai cuisines or Indian and Middle Eastern.
Each section of the restaurant has its own kitchen (which voyeuristic diners can inspect from their tables) and each produces their own specialities—Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Thai. There are not reams of choices, just the best that can be made using high quality produce.
Take the Italian kitchen, for example. On our visit, the squid ink risotto was divine, sticky and soaked in flavour as nature intended.
There was also a lamb tenderloin dish that was busting with juicy goodness, one of the best of its kind in this part of the world, where lamb is more sparsely used. However, beyond these two there were barely any alternative options.
Which was not just good for the indecisive diner but for those who respect that when you have a chef who really knows what they’re doing, most of the fun of the night out is to put yourself in their hands, pass over your taste buds to them and entrust them to satisfy you.
And at iL Primo that’s exactly what will happen. My advice (beyond absolutely insisting that you order the seafood platter as the freshness of the offerings is impeccable) would be to go on a weekend as it is quite a large (yet relaxing) venue and the more people there are the better the atmosphere.
And stay after your meal to indulge in a drink or three at Luminous, their lounge, where the selection of single malts draws sighs of respect and admiration from whisky lovers, while their walk-in, glass-walled wine cellar is another major asset.
iL Primo is a restaurant for proper foodies who are seeking nothing more than the very best in cuisine. What better identity could they ask for than that?