Restaurant offers a mix of classic and contemporary Italian dishes


  • Eat And Drink
  • Monday, 10 Oct 2016

Oven Baked Lasagna with Porcini Mushrooms and Black Truffle Fondue is one of the main course choices. — Photos IBRAHIM MOHTAR/The Star

ENJOY the flavours of Italy at The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur’s Senja restaurant, which re-opened its doors to diners on Aug 1.

One focal point at the restaurant is its open-kitchen concept with a wood-fired oven. Its main dining area can accommodate up to 80 people while the back portion of the restaurant can be neatly converted into a private dining room that can fit up to 20 guests.

Leading the culinary brigade at Senja is Italian-born Chef Marco Violano.

Senja offers a mix of both classic and contemporary Italian cuisine. Dishes can be paired with vintage wines from the restaurant’s cellar that holds more than 200 varieties, including an exclusive house label produced and bottled at the Frankland Estate in Western Australia.

In conjunction with the Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival (MIGF), Violano put together an exquisite five-course menu featuring three main course choices.

The chef specialises in Italian cuisine and has more than 20 years of culinary experience in internationally acclaimed restaurants and luxury chain hotels worldwide under his belt.

Yellow Fin Tuna Loin Tartare with Crab Cake and Tuna Sauce.
Yellow Fin Tuna Loin Tartare with Crab Cake and Tuna Sauce.

We started the meal with the Oven Baked Layer of Eggplant “Parmigiana” Style with Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella. It turns out, much effort had been put into the making of this lovely amuse-bouche.

“This is a traditional Italian dish that people eat on Sundays because it takes a lot of effort to make.

“It took us three days to make it. We used salt to reduce the eggplant’s bitterness before frying it,” the chef explained.

Next was the appetiser Yellow Fin Tuna Loin Tartare with Crab Cake and Tuna Sauce, paired with Sauvignon Blanc 2014.

I really enjoyed the crispy crab cake and secretly wished I could have seconds.

Pan Roasted Cod Fish Wrapped with Zucchini and Lemon Thyme in Spicy Clams Stock and Broccoli Pure.
Pan Roasted Cod Fish Wrapped with Zucchini and Lemon Thyme in Spicy Clams Stock and Broccoli Purée.

Violano said: “There’s a lot of tuna and shellfish in the Adriatic sea near my hometown Puglia. We sometimes eat the seafood raw.”

We were then served Sicilian Cherry Tomatoes Soup with Burrata Cheese, paired with Chardonnay 2014.

Burrata, hailed as the queen of cheese, added a subtle richness to the soup, and the cherry tomatoes added an appetising flavour.

For main course, there were three choices – “Carnaroli” Squid Ink Risotto with Hokkaido Scallops Medallion and “Bottarga”, Oven Baked Lasagna with Porcini Mushrooms and Black Truffle Fondue, or Pan Roasted Cod Fish Wrapped with Zucchini and Lemon Thyme in Spicy Clams Stock and Broccoli Purée.

I opted for the cod.

‘Carnaroli’ Squid Ink Risotto with Hokkaido Scallops Medallion and ‘Bottarga’.
‘Carnaroli’ Squid Ink Risotto with Hokkaido Scallops Medallion and ‘Bottarga’

“There is a hint of white wine added to the Mediterranean fish.

“Lemon thyme is used as it is much gentler compared to the common thyme,” the chef said.

One of the guests kindly offered me some of her risotto and scallops; it was a lovely combination and being a fan of scallops, I enjoyed the dish.

For dessert, we had Black Pepper Crème Brulée with Banana Compote paired with Moscato 2014.

The chef shared with us that he likes black pepper and banana, hence choosing the two as the ingredients for the dessert.

Black Pepper Crme Brule with Banana Compote.
Black Pepper Crème Brulée with Banana Compote.

Black pepper seems like a strange combination, more an ingredient for a savoury main course than dessert, but after tasting it, I was surprised that the combination works!

The Moscato was delicious on its own; it was my personal favourite among the wines I tasted for the evening.

Available for both lunch and dinner throughout this month, this festival menu is priced at RM280 without wine pairing and RM370 with wine pairing.

SENJA, The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS, Shah Alam, Selangor. (Tel: 03-7806 7000 ext 6722). Website: www.shr.my. Business hours: 6.30am-10.30am (breakfast), noon to 2pm (lunch) and 6.30pm to 11pm (dinner).

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.



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