Thursday, June 6, 2013

Italiannies (Festa Della Pasta Promotion) @ Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang.

In conjunction with Italiannies (a renowned Italian-chained restaurant in Malaysia, or Gurney Paragon Mall in Penang) Festa Della Pasta promotion, fellow bloggers were being invited to a food sampling session few days ago. Strive to serve some of the selected and authentic pasta from various regions of Italy, Italiannies is proud to introduce their eight new pasta dishes; the Festa della Pasta promotion (prices ranging from Rm 18.90 to Rm 26.90) will be available from now until 30th of June, 2013 (available for Italiannies throughout Malaysia). One of the eight new pasta featured- Tagliatelle pasta, will be freshly made by hand at Italiannies' kitchen on a daily basis.

*Real portion varies as the portion served that evening was meant for sharing.* 

Before the pasta dishes were served, we were invited to their open kitchen where the chef had a demonstration on the making of Spinach Tagliatelle.

Cannelloni (Rm 26.90) was the first pasta served to us and was my favorite of that evening. The tubular pasta was originally created by Chef Nicole Federico in Sorrento, Italy, which gained popularity during World War II. The Cannelloni stuffed with Spinach and Artichoke filling, served with homemade Marinara sauce topped with melted Mozzarella cheese and Bechamel sauce. This dish hit the top-notch among the bloggers, the creamy and cheesy sauce was very good, well complemented with the al-dentely cooked Cannelloni. This dish was paired with a glass of Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti (Riff Rosso Merlot Cabernet 2009, Rm 17/ glass), a fruity red wine with sharp tannis and slightly bitter when you swallow the wine. Backed by expertise, the combination was good, considering the pasta was cheese-based, so this combination of cheese with wine can rarely go wrong.

The second pasta served was Paccheri con Ragu (Rm 18.90) which was a beef pasta. No doubt the texture of the pasta was good (al-dente) but it tasted pretty ordinary to me. I was expecting more herbs to be added or at least some other creative elements to give the extra kick. The pasta was slightly clumpy towards the end. You may opt to have this pasta paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti 2009 (Rm 17/ glass).

Up next was Tagliatelle con Salvia and Funghi e Popettine (Rm 22.90) which comes with some Beef Balls. Salvia refers to Sage while Funghi refers to Shitake Mushrooms. This was again, another lovely dish pulsating with flavors. As much as I like the firm, meaty texture and slight-cheesy flavor of the Beef Balls, but they were slightly saltier than expected. Nevertheless, Shitake, Beef Balls, freshly made Tagliattelle pasta did make a wonderful combination. You may opt to have this pasta paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti 2009 (Rm 17/ glass).

Tagliatelle con Pesto al Pomodoro (Rm 22.90) comprises of Spinach Tagliatelle and plain Tagliatelle served with Green Pesto sauce, fresh tomatoes and garnished with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and a handful of Pine Nuts. I am not a huge fan of Pesto due to its oily nature but to my surprise, this Tagliatelle con Pesto al Pomodoro was not oily at all, however, it was slightly too bland to my liking. We were also served a glass of red wine together with this dish- Adesso Nero D'Avola IGT Sicilia 2011 (Rm 14/ glass), a fruity red wine but it should fare better with a meat-based pasta. You may opt to have this pasta paired with

The fifth and last pasta of the night served to us was this Mussels and Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle (Rm 26.90) was just okay, I was expecting this dish to be bombastic due to its hot and garlicky flavors but the dish turned out to be slightly too under-seasoned and lacked of the kick from Chili Flakes and Garlic. Not only do they lacked of those two, the dish lacked of some seafood-sweetness for some unknown reasons (probably cooking in a bigger portion than they used to). The Mussels and Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle was accompanied with well-chilled Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio Venezie 2011 (Rm 17/ glass), a very fragrant and refreshing White Wine with a soft and smooth texture, a hint of honey-sweetness towards the end. I certainly enjoyed this White Wine a lot.

There are more worth-the-value add-on along with their Festa Della Pasta promotion (only applicable with purchase from the Festa Della Pasta Menu).

For Lunch (available from 11am to 3pm):
Simply top up Rm 6 for a Salad (Insalata Verde, a light salad of sliced onions, cherry tomatoes and black olives served with Italian Vinaigrette) and a Dessert (Chocolate Brownie, Italiannies chocolate brownie served with chocolate sauce topped with strawberries dusted with icing sugar and toasted walnuts.) OR Pepsi.

For Dinner (available from 6pm until closing):
Simply top up Rm 16 for an Appetizer (Gamberi con Aglio), Salad (Insalta Mediterranea) OR Dessert (Italian Trifle).

We also get to sample the varies add-ons available for dinner. We began with Gamberi con Aglio (Juicy Sauteed Shrimp cooked with Dried Red Chilies, Black Olives and Tomatoes served with Garlic Bread). The  Shrimps were fresh and succulent but unfortunately, they were slightly over-seasoned. The overall dish was slightly on the salty side. Garlic Bread was good on its own but rather salty to be savored with the Shrimps, probably due to the use of salted butter which they have spread on the bread.

Insalta Mediterranea (Seasoned grilled Chicken Breast with Black Olives, Tomatoes, and Onions served with Rocket and Romaine Lettuce tossed with Italian dressing and Feta Cheese) is definitely a crowd pleaser. The beautifully charred Chicken Breast was tender and well seasoned. I particularly love the dressing, very refreshing and well-complementing the fresh greens. Extra marks for the use of Feta Cheese, not too over-powering but it provides a creamier texture to the salad. Delizioso!

The dessert- Italian Trifle (An Italian classic made with layers of creamy Mascarpone Cheese mix, lady fingers and chocolate chips topped with Dark Chocolate Powder) was a very pleasing dessert to enjoy. It was not too sweet and just perfect to my liking, with the right creaminess and texture. What a comforting dessert to end the meal.

I was back to Italiannies again for a second review on the remaining three pasta dishes, the serving portion shown is the exact portion you as a customer is getting, please do note that the portion is no longer a sharing portion.

We had a second attempt on this  Mussels and Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle (Rm 26.90) and to my surprise, it was near to perfect! The al-dentely cooked Pappardelle has fully absorbed the flavors from Mussels and Clams. Cooked in a smaller portion, they have successfully re-captured the recipe, not only as such, the whole dish carries a very strong seafood-sweetness and the sweetness from white wine either. Clams and Mussels were certainly very fresh but I would personally prefer if they could add in more chili flakes for the extra kick. Nevertheless, it was still a beautifully done dish. Thumbs up for this.

The pasta- Fileja in Fileja con Pomodoro e Basilico (Rm 18.90) was rather unique. It was my first attempt on this kind of pasta and I was told that they actually made the pasta themselves instead of importing them. The chewy texture of the Fileja was certainly delectable but I found the dish to be rather boring. It will be better if they can add some other ingredients such as Prawns or Chicken Breast into the pasta, It feels too boring to just savor the pasta alone. Nevertheless, the use of Garlic, Dried and Sweet Basil mixed does make a unique combination. You may choose to have this pasta paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia 2011 (Rm 14/ glass) OR Adesso Nero D'Avola IGT Sicilia 2011 (Rm 14/ glass).

Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto (Rm 26.90) comes with big chunks of Smoked Salmon, both cooked and uncooked. However, the Smoked Salmon was too salty to my liking, especially with the cheesy filling of Tortellini and the Alfredo sauce. Their Tortellini were made up of Spinach and Ricotta filling whilst the sauce was Alfredo sauce with a handful of fresh dill. However, the saltiness was slightly reduced or balanced by a squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice. Saltiness aside, I would say it was a decent dish but not for someone like me who does not prefer cream sauce. We had this dish paired with Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigrio Venezie 2011 (Rm 17/ glass) which is white wine with accents of apple and peach.

The final pasta served to us was this Fusilli con Spinaci ed Alfredo Sauce (Rm 22.90) which came in rather unique, the dish was topped with some Deep Fried Spinach and Crumbled Walnuts. No, not about Fusilli; Fusillis are common but the sauce was good. Thick, not too creamy with a hint of spiciness. Moreover, the generous amount of Chicken Breast was impressive, we just could not be bored of eating this dish! This dish can be paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia 2011 (Rm 14/ glass).

Complimentary Bread/ Open Food will be served after you have your orders placed. There will be two types of bread available- White Bread and Focaccia Bread. The waiter will then serve you their Balsamic Vinegar with Olive Oil (with herbs added).

Grazie to Italiannies for the invitation. 

Additional Information:
Address: Lot 1-31, Ground Floor,  Gurney Paragon Mall, 163D-1-32, Pesiaran Gurney, 10250, Penang.
Business Hour: 11am to 11pm. Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 228 9761
Italiannies Facebook Page

*Gurney Paragon Mall is just situated right beside G Hotel and Gurney Plaza*

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