Ciccio1 Jun 2012
For ages, the French and Italians have been fighting over who has the best food, the best culture and the best wine. It goes without saying that there is no way we will ever settle over these matters, especially the food. The French always had a problem with pasta and pizza.
“Mais monsieur, this is not cuisine!” is usually heard when the topic is raised.
So, with that in mind, send a French man to Ciccio, in Changkat Bukit Bintang, an old-timer’s Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, and you sure are in for a treat.
First surprise, for a Tuesday, the place is packed. When the rest of the street is pretty quiet, Ciccio is buzzing with diners spilling in from the bar to the terrace. Walk in, and immediately, Emanuele, or Lele for the regulars, will welcome you the Italian way.
Hailing directly from Milano, and having worked in Il Lido (another Italian culinary institution in KL) for a couple of years, Lele is the soul of Ciccio. Big broad smile, perfect knowledge of the menu and the wine list, the manager will make sure your time spent in his outlet is unique.
It is now time to choose from the classic menu. Calamari Fritti, Burrata e pomodoro, Bresaola con rucola, Mozzarella in carrozza, all the hearty usual dishes are here. Settling for Pomodoro Bruschette Prosciutto (although it’s beef) y Melone and a Carpaccio, I am delectably embarking on a culinary journey that will take me to the heart of Italian food.
And then come the mains! Linguine al branzino (pasta with seabass, red chicory and white wine sauce) and a very decent sized Napoletana pizza (tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, capers, oregano). The pastry itself is to die for. No Pizza Hut here mister!
The dough is tossed at the back of the restaurant and toppings are thrown in right before the pizza is put in the oven. Not salivating yet? Let me talk you through the Linguine al branzino.
Al dente to perfection, the pasta is perfectly matched with fresh and lightly pan fried seabass. The white wine sauce compliments this assemblage and the little twist is given by the red chicory. The combo is just a pure delight.
Add to this hearty meal a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia, a light bodied Italian white wine, and Torres De Casta, a full bodied Spanish (sic!) rose, and your experience in Ciccio is already one to remember.
The desserts are in the same line as the rest of the menu. Even if the Tiramisu might not be the one to die for, the Cassata makes up for it. You have to try this Sicilian style ice cream—amazing.
All in all, I have to admit. It is very easy to open an Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and pretend to cook real Italian cuisine (yes, cuisine!).
Ciccio takes it a step further. It makes you ask for more, and there is a feeling of true passion behind each dish they cook and serve. Salute y arrivederci Ciccio! I will be back!