AN Italian Christmas dinner is an invitation to experience a meal minus turkey with merry offerings of a European kind.
Neroteca jumps on the festive bandwagon by introducing a Christmas menu at its Bukit Damansara restaurant.
First off, do you know that Italians traditionally abstain from meat on Christmas Eve?
Instead, they partake in vegetables and fish for their meals as a way of purifying their bodies to welcome the holy celebration of Christmas.
This cultural practice is reflected within the menu in the form of baccala, one of the options for the main course consisting of grilled cod fish served with mashed cauliflower and mixed green vegetable.
It was easy to sink my teeth into the baccala, especially when it was served in a fillet form complemented with a healthy mix of vegetables.
Of course, if there is a desire to taste real, hard meat, consider having the porchetta or agnello as your main course.
Porchetta, the Italian version of a roasted stuffed pork promises to satisfy because the dish is served with gravy, potatoes and kailan.
The other alternative main course treat, agnello (lamb) may appear a little intimidating with its “bony” presentation, however, a little work with your fork and knife will do wonders.
The Italian Christmas Soup is actually a consommé with beans, vegetables and pieces of pork in it.
During winter, the soup helps provide sufficient warmth and strength necessary to get through the cold windy days.
It should be noted though that not all parts of Italy experience snow during winter, let alone experience sub-zero climate.
Afterwards, your dessert – panettone served with homemade vanilla sauce awaits.
Despite having a smooth texture and notable sweetness typically ascribed to a cake, this dessert is actually a type of sweet Italian bread originating from the region of Milan.
According to head chef Buck Stanlie, the sweet bread is imported from Italy to provide customers with an authentic taste of Italian desserts.
Wine lovers should note that the restaurant allows customers to bring their own wine, with corkage charges of RM60 for reds or whites.
The corkage fee for hard liquor is RM100.
Food and drinks aside, the restaurant’s design deserves special mention for living up to its name (nero - black, teca - display case) with its pairing of dim lights against its dining hall.
The fairly spacious dining area creates an ambience suitable for a romantic dining spot, provided the place is not too packed with customers.
Should you have a preference to dine at home, you can order takeaway set meals, the porchetta (pork stuffed with artichoke, sausages and vegetables or porchettoni (suckling pig). For these meals, 48 hours advance order is required.
Both sets offer roasted potatoes, authentic lentil stew, sautéed vegetables and barbecue sauce.
The takeaway set meals will cost at least RM380+ while the five-course set meal is priced at a minimum RM170+ per head.
Suffice to say, you will leave this place with your bellies filled. The Christmas promotion is until Dec 31. Ciao!
NEROTECA BUKIT DAMANSARA
15, Plaza Damansara, Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2011 5725). Business hours: 9am to midnight (Monday-Friday), 9am to 12.45am (Saturday & Sunday). Non-halal.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.