Sunday 2 March 2014

Trattoria, Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur

There are actually two Trattoria restaurants, about 500m apart, in the same area of KL. One of them is non-Halal, and typically goes on an all out attack to satisfy people with cravings for pork. The other, which we visited today is Halal and benefits from being in a better location than its pig-loving cousin.

I can't say that either of the Trattoria outlets have gone on the charm-offensive when it comes to decor and atmosphere, but they do however both offer outside seating. This visit was on a busy Friday evening so we were forced to dine inside with the riff-raff. 

One of the nice things about this restaurant is that the selection of breads is superior to what you usually get in the Italian restaurants in KL. 

The highlight of the selection above is undoubtedly the dough balls which have been lovingly deep fried, we asked for more when this lot was gone.

We skipped the starters, and the first main course to arrive was the tagliatelle with meatballs RM36 (approx $12).

In my opinion, any self-respecting Italian restaurant will make their own pasta - it pays off. A glance at the picture above will therefore indicate that Trattoria is a self-respecting Italian restaurant. The pasta and tomato sauce was delicious, and could have been a respectable dish on its own without the meatballs. 

The meatballs unfortunately let the side down. They aren't your typical meatballs; they clearly haven't been cooked with breadcrumbs, resulting in small, firm chunks of beef. This didn't really work for me, and to be a bit of a purist, I think a real Italian meatball should be made of up beef, veal and pork.

Overall - Great pasta, the meatballs were a bit disappointing 3.5 / 5

The next dish to arrive was the spinach and ricotta calzone Rm 32 (approx $11).

I don't really see much point in going for turkey ham, beef bacon etc. If we wanted pork we'd have gone to the non-Halal Trattoria down the road. It made perfect sense to therefore go for this calzone, and it turned out to be a good decision. 

The inside of the calzone was generously filled with cheese with just enough spinach to add a pleasant bitterness without overpowering the ricotta. The dough was also done very well - the right level of thickness, and nice and floury. 

Overall - A very good calzone 4 / 5

The final main course (we went with friends) was the gnocchi with mozzarella and parmesan cheese which came in a creamy bolognese sauce.

Gnocchi dishes can often be a touch on the small size but this one had no such problem. The meaty sauce accompanied the potatoes well and the cheese on top made this a very hearty dish of comfort food.

Overall - Very enjoyable 3.5 / 5

While I think both Trattoria outlets are good, I would go out on a limb and say I might prefer the Halal Trattoria to the porky version; it's better located and the homemade pasta dishes don't suffer from the lack of pork. That said, if I was to go for a pizza I'd go for the non-Halal version.

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