Updated on 15 July 2016 with the review of my visit to Villa Danieli to try out the “Chanterelle Affair” menu.
A Chanterelle Affair at Villa Danieli
Villa Danieli in the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel is one of my favourite Italian restaurants thanks to its combination of a very romantic ambience and good food. Villa Danieli is a cozy free standing trattoria-style Italian restaurant housed on level 5 of the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel. I’ve been there quite a number of times over the past few years however some of the moments with my partner in crime there do stick in my mind:
This July, Villa Danieli has a rare Italian dining experience using the exquisite ingredient of the culinary industry, chanterelle or better known as finferli in Italy. Chanterelles are fairly bright yellowish orange wild mushrooms. They’re about 2 inches tall at the most, and their caps expand out of their stalks, rather like trumpet bells. Chanterelles are relatively high in vitamin C, very high in potassium and are among the richest sources of vitamin D.
The Villa Danieli team headed by Italian Chef Gaetano di Stefano have created a special chanterelle menu with flavourful and unique creations such as Coda di rospo (Pan fried Monk fish fillet with green peas puree, sauté chanterelle & dill lemon sauce), Petto D’anatra (Duck breast, with truffle barley risotto style, chanterelle, and berries jus), Risotto ai finferli e albicocca (Chanterelle risotto with dry apricots and sage) and more.
This chanterelle promotion is available for lunch and dinner for the month of July and is priced at RM40 nett per dish onwards.
This was the first of our two antipasto (appetisers) for the night and it was definitely the prettiest dish of the night! The polenta was grilled to form a “bruschetta” on which the rest of the ingredients sat on. Now as this was the first time I was eating chanterelles (of perhaps more like eating such an amount of chanterelles), I was quite intrigued by the flavours.
The chanterelles in this dish were lightly sauteed (Chef Gaetano mentioned that if you overcooked chanterelles they become rubbery and lose their unique taste, thereby tasting like ordinary cheap mushrooms) and imparted a very earthy taste with a bitter aftertaste that followed. As I can drink stout and peated whiskies, this was surprisingly pleasant for me, and to my surprise, my partner in crime liked it too!
Balancing the dish was a creamy ricotta cheese and basil mouse which went absolutely perfectly with the chanterelles! The polenta “bruschetta” was quite unusual as well, not boring like a piece of French loaf, but was tasty and had that wonderful polenta texture, allowing you to actually feel the grains on your tongue. This dish was quite a good example of a showcase of taste, texture and presentation making it a great start to the meal!
My partner in crime loves salad so this one was mostly for her. The egg was perfectly poached with a lovely runny yoke coating the salad and complementing the balsamic vinaigrette. In this dish as well as the previous one, the earthy and bitter aftertaste of the chanterelles really balanced out the flavours.
This was a nice and heartwarming soup and I so wanted to dip the basil coated crouton and even the complimentary house breads in this however this being a semi-fine dining restaurant, I decided to maintain my table manners and spooned the soup into my mouth, swallowed it, then took a bite of the bread.
The consistency was not too thick so we guessed that there wasn’t much thickening agent like flour added to it which meant more chanterelle taste! My partner in crime really liked the fact that it wasn’t a super creamy soup either, just a touch of cream to add a hint of richness, with a splash of truffle oil adding that extra luxury and dimension to the dish.
I know Gordon Ramsay really doesn’t like his chefs using truffle oil and overdoing it can totally mask the taste of the dish but it’s an ingredient that I really like (added in correct quantities of course).
Monkfish is really ugly looking fish that’s mostly available off the coasts of Europe. Now we chose this dish because monkfish is also known as the “poor man’s lobster” with the tail meat very similar in taste and texture to lobster. As the chanterelles impart quite an earthy flavour with a bitter aftertaste, using a more delicate fish like cod, or a strong flavoured one like salmon just wouldn’t do. Hence the need for the monkfish with its firm and sweet flesh that went wonderfully well with the dill lemon sauce. In fact I liked the sauce so much I pretty much wiped the plate clean and actually contemplated for a moment about asking for extras however my partner in crime was saying that we’ll lose the original flavours of the dish if we smother it in sauce so I relented.
The sauteed chanterelles were served on a bed of green peas puree which really complemented the exquisite mushrooms. I’m so not a fan of green peas but somehow this tasted so good that I didn’t leave even the tiniest morsel left on the plate. My partner in crime though, was more interested in the dish below.
This one was definitely the star of the night. Beautiful cooked tortellinis filled with a pumpkin cream, with flavours bursting into you mouth when you bit into one. In the centre of the dish, surrounded by the tortellinis, were large pieces of lobster – perfectly cooked and with that lovely sweetness that only a lobster can impart (sorry monkfish!).
The chanterelles were incorporated into the tortellinis, lending just enough of their flavours to balance the dish which also had some sweet and piquant flavours from the cherry tomatoes and that distinct artichoke taste (artichoke is something that I cannot decide if I like or not), keeping it from getting too overwhelming rich.
By the time we finished the mains we were totally stuffed so we decided to skip dessert. Also because my partner in crime and I are not really dessert people and I really hate seeing food go to waste.
There are two (2) chanterelle desserts available in the special menu though:
Budino finferli e frutti di bosco – Chanterelle and berries bread pudding with vanilla ice cream priced at RM42.00
Tiramisu e finferli croccanti – Tiramisu with chanterelle crumble priced at RM40.00
We thought it was a really interesting dinner (and we’ve been to our fair share of interesting dinners over the past few years) and of course as we are mushroom lovers hence we appreciated it even more. It was a great showcase of the chef’s imagination and skills and we look forward to more seasonal special menus from Chef Gaetano!
If the prospect of every dish having chanterelles is too much for you, you can mix and match the dishes in the special chanterelle menu with the dishes in the normal menu.
Villa Danieli opens for lunch from 12 noon to 2.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays & Public Holidays, Prosecco Brunch from 11 am to 2.30pm on every Sunday and serves dinner from Mondays to Sundays from 6.30pm to 10 pm.
For table reservations at Villa Danieli, call 03-2717 9922 or email email@example.com.
For more info, head over to http://www.villadanielirestaurant.com
Photos of the food review (with the exception of the two that were shot with the Huawei P8) were shot with the Fujifilm X-A2.
More info at http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_a2/
Mid Autumn Mooncakes at Celestial Court
Chinese believe the full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion. On Mid-Autumn night the harvest moon is supposed to be the brightest and fullest of the year, so the festival is also known as the “Day of Reunion” and the “Moon Festival”.
This year, Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel has prepared eight (8) different home-made mooncakes to mark the festival. The mooncakes are presented in authentic boxes and make perfect gifts for family, friends and clients.
Look out for four (4) new mini snow skin flavours of mooncakes, besides the classic, traditional baked mooncakes. They are Gold dust Premium Musang King Durian, Salted Caramel Golden Custard and Azuki Bean, Strawberry White Lotus Paste with Chocolate Berries Truffle and Teh Tarik Flavoured Yam Paste with Macadamia Nuts.
Traditional baked mooncakes consists of all-time favourite Pure Lotus Paste Single Yolk with Dried Longan and Melon Seed, Pandan Lotus and Mung Bean Single Yolk with Pumpkin Seed and healthier choices of Low-Sugar Osmanthus Wolfberry White Lotus and Black Sesame with Melon Seed and Assorted Fruit & Nuts.
The mooncakes are available from 15 July to 15 September. There is an Early Bird Offer of 20% discount on all mooncakes purchased between 15 July and 7 August 2016. The prices of the mooncakes start from RM20 nett each.
There will be a Mooncake Counter will be set up at Toastina Café and Bar on the ground floor of the hotel, where you can select the mooncakes and have them packed in beautiful gift boxes. Alternative, you can also purchase directly from Celestial Court during your dine-in at the restaurant.
The mooncake gift boxes can also be customised with a corporate logo or company’s name for a minimum purchase of 50 boxes. The mooncakes themselves can be engraved with the company logo if 300 boxes or more are purchased.
For orders, call +603 – 2717 9988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info, head over to http://www.celestialcourtrestaurant.com