Joanne and I recently attended the Palazzo Maffei wine pairing dinner which was held at a’Roma dining which is located in a quiet corner of Taman Paramount in Petaling Jaya. It was my first time visiting a’Roma dinings which started operations in December 2015. This Italian cuisine restaurant has a rustic, old Italy vibe with dark wood furniture, a hand-painted Colliseum mural, and slow music – making it an ideal spot for a casual date or dining with family/ friends. Actually there are not many such establishments in this area of Petaling Jaya therefore the restaurant is a viable option if one doesn’t want to travel out of PJ.
The chefs have a make-from-scratch approach, with large part of the menu items made in-house including breads and pastas. On the menu you’ll find fresh pasta, cured meats, roasts and more which you can pair with wine. Their coffee bar offers gourmet artisan coffee from the Gayo Highlands of Acheh and a series of premier handpicked teas by Harney & Sons.
Palazzo Maffei hails from an ancient estate in the hearth of Valpolicella, in Italy – renowned as a land of excellence and of age-old winemaking traditions. The brand pride itself with producing a collection of precious wines with an austere, aristocratic personality. When the Cottini family took over this historic property, they decided to continue the winemaking tradition of the noble Veronese family of Marquis Maffei.
The history of the Cottini family has been one of dedication, determination and success – and of noble ideals that inspires every action. It all started in 1925 with the family founder Carlo Cottini, and grew in the 1952s with his son Raffaello.
The estate occupies a single 12-hectares plot: a clearly defined area in a very favorable position for producing wines of elegance and quality. In Valpolicella, to the east of Verona, the land is ideal for a winery due to the altitude and by the composition of the calcareous and clayey soils, exposure to the sun, microclimate, and the care of the historic vineyard.
The winery produces a collection of red wines with a noble heart, and high-ranking whites of great styles and elegance, reflecting the strict selection in the vineyard and meticulous method in the cellar. Wines with an assertive, unmistakable personality, from the austere Amarone to the lovely recioto.
Taler Graf – “literaly Count if the Valley” – is the name that the locals used when referring to the aristocratic family of Marquis Maffei in the ancient Cimbrian language. Palazzo Maffei decided to give the same name to a selection of fine wines – elegant, aristocratic treasures with an astounding wealth of fragrances and aromas.
Focaccia, Crocante & Grissini
served with tomato relish, aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil
I love home made rustic breads as compared to those commercially available ones. The breads at a’Roma as fresh and went well especially with the tomato relish!
of lavash (thin crust Turkish bread), liver parfait, brandy, truffle, saddle (beast meat of the rabbit), prosciutto
A little preview of the dishes to come, showcasing the chef’s skills by combining various flavours and textures! Not often that I eat rabbit!
Citrus Confit Salmon Trout
with yoghurt, apple, fennel, roe
A beautifully cooked piece of salmon, topped with roe which provided an intense burst of umami flavours. The yogurt sauce kept the dish appetising and fresh! A simple but well-executed starter!
Paired with the Palazzo Maffei Lugana which is made solely of Trebbiano di Lugana grapes which have a distinct minerality taste. I’m not a fan of having red wine with fish/ seafood so I enjoyed this wine separately.
Slow Braised Rabbit Ragu
with homemade curly pappardelle, pomodoro, vino rosso, grana padano
Rabbit makes an appearance again – this time slow braised till really tender and sitting atop the pasta and topped with a grana padano disk which was baked till crispy. This was a very hearty dish indeed and sadly we had to restrain ourselves from finishing it as we had to leave some space for the mains. This pasta is ideal for those who like gamey meats (myself being one of them).
Paired with the Palazzo Maffei Valpolicella which is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. This wine pairs well with pastas and pizzas such as the dish above.
Mains (Choice of)
tiger prawn & katalfi, edamame, zucchini
A perfectly cooked piece of cod with a fried tiger prawn on the side. A surprisingly elegant dish for a restaurant which prides itself on being more rustic but nevertheless it was a welcome surprise. Always nice when restaurants elevate their dishes.
charred eggplant, asparagus, baby beets, juniper jus
I had this one which was simply lovely! A lamb rack cooked to a nice pink medium that went wonderfully with the wine pairing. This was my favourite pairing of the evening! A well executed dish enhanced by the flavours of the wine.
Paired with Valpolicella Ripasso which is made from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grape varietals. The wine has a firm and resolute personality that brings out all the taste and aromatic harmony of ripe fruit. On the palate it is elegant, robust and lingering.
white chocolate, strawberries, balsamic, sorbet
A decadent dessert to end the meal. The surprise ingredient was the balsamic vinegar which really perked up the dish and prevented it from becoming overly rich!
Paired with the Amarone which is a blend of 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara. The wine is aged for two (2) years in a barrel and is quite premium because of the juice from the grapes which is reduced to half its original volume.. The result is a wine that is sweet and robust with some dryness – giving it a very balanced taste indeed!
For more info on Palazzo Maffei, head over to http://palazzomaffei.com
a’Roma Dinings is located at
1, Jalan 20/14,
46300 Petaling Jaya,
Telephone: 03-7865 9829
Closed on Mondays.