IL Bacaro brings a delicious slice of Italy to Penang with its ever evolving selection of authentic treats rarely found elsewhere.
The restaurant, part of the Campbell House boutique hotel in inner George Town’s Campbell Street, has daily specials highlighting the flavours and produce of the season.
Latest ones include Burrata on Beetroot Carpaccio with Rocket Salad, drizzled with some vincotto which is akin to a reduced and sweet balsamic.
"Burrata means buttered in Italian. It is a variant of mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk, and is softer and more buttery, hence the name.
"We import it specially from Italy," said proprietor Roberto Dreon of the starter, which visually resembles a precious egg in a nest.
For mains, he recommends the Osso Buco ala Milanese, which has a slowcooked and cross-cut veal shank sitting atop a bed of saffron and parmesan risotto perked up with a hint of orange.
"The veal is from Fassone cattle that is less than nine months old. They are still fed with milk rather than grain, thus the meat is whitish and not red," Dreon pointed out.
Once you have devoured the melt-in-your-mouth meat, dig into the jelly-like marrow, the bone in the middle of the cut, and enjoy just like how the Milanese do.
For dessert, there is Chiacchiere, one of Italy's most popular celebratory sweets inextricably linked to the Carnival of Venice that takes place around this time of year.
"People would get into costumes, wear masks, and play tricks on each other on the streets. All around, there would be stalls and shops selling Chiacchiere," Dreon said.
Essentially deep-fried pastry strips sprinkled with sugar, they come with a dark chocolate and mascarpone dip.
Bite into them and hear the crunch, which likely inspired their moniker which means small talk or gossip.
Other dishes of note are the Calzone or folded pizza with ham and mushroom filling, and Seabass Guazzeto with cherry tomatoes, pimentos and clams.
There are also Mixed Grill platters for two. The meat option has ribeye, chicken breast, lamb cutlets and short ribs, while the fish one comes with various catch of the day, which may include seabass, giant calamari, prawns, salmon, snapper and more.
Set Lunch is available from Monday to Saturday from noon to 4pm, priced at RM29++. It comes with a starter, main and dessert.
Il Bacaro is open from 8am to 10.30pm daily. Visit www.campbellhousepenang.com for more information, or call 04-2618290 for reservations.