Monday 24 February 2014

La Risata, Medan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur

La Risata, or 'the laughter' in Italian, recently won the award for Best Italian in Time Out magazines' 2013 food awards.

We decided to check it out today, hoping it would live up to its billing; KL has a lot of decent Italian restaurants but nothing I've been to really stands out amongst the competition.

La Risata is found on a little street offering a variety of eating and drinking options, including one of our personal favourites, Mezze.
Like Mezze, it's got a nice neighbourhood feel to it, and despite looking empty on the photo above, it got fairly busy for a Monday evening.

We decided to sit inside after a sweaty walk form our condo, and ordered a starter to share, tuna carpaccio RM38 (approx $12). We were also given some bread, which came with an olive tapenade.

The bread was fairly standard, and the tapenade was a nice alternative to the olive oil / balsamic mix you usually get in Italian restaurants.

The tuna carpaccio came with fennel, pine nuts, olives, orange segments, and smoked sea salt. We had hoped this would be a light, bright starter to balance the heavier mains to come, and in this sense it worked. However, it lacked basic flavours and actually tasted quite bland; it needed more salt and perhaps lemon would have been a better alternative to the orange. The tuna itself was a decent cut but I don't think this plate of food really warranted the price tag.

Overall - Okay, but we definitely wouldn't order it again 2.5 / 5

The first of our mains was spaghetti with meatballs RM26 (approx $8).

I do like spaghetti and meatballs, it's a difficult dish to get wrong but I find that it's rarely memorable, and this one was unfortunately no exception. The meatballs tasted like they had been cooked in red wine, which gave them a nice richness, but they were quite undercooked and pink in the the middle. The sauce was okay but was too sugary, something you'd expect in an American Italian like Tony Romas, not an 'authentic' one.

I was pretty disappointed with this, I'm by no means a good cook, and when I can make a better version of a dish at home, I shouldn't be paying for it in a restaurant.

Overall - Average at best 2.5 / 5

For the other main course, we ordered a chorizo pizza RM28 (approx $9).

The chorizo sausage is lamb (La Risata is Halal), the big white cheese is ricotta, and peppers, olives and chilli flakes make up the rest.

The first thing I noticed about this pizza was how thin the crust was - too thin. I couldn't actually pick up a slice without it breaking up and all the toppings falling off. Another gripe I had with it was that the cheese was very greasy, it almost tasted like the kind you'd get from a local takeaway. The sausage didn't work and I ended up picking a lot of it off in the end. To top things off, the peppers were also mixed in with pickles - not on the menu.....

A final complaint about the pizza was that the crust was simply too flaky.

I suppose the ultimate testament to this pizzas' lack of quality was that I left two slices, two slices! This is pretty much unheard of for me, and I gave one to Erin too...

Overall - Not a good pizza 2 / 5

As you can probably tell, we were pretty disappointed by La Risata, I can't understand why it was voted best Italian in KL, maybe we went on the wrong day or ordered the wrong things. However, I expect both of these musings would not be relevant if La Risata really was the best in the city; a good restaurant shouldn't have wrong days or wrong dishes...

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