We recently headed over to Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel to try the new menu (which is currently available) by new Italian Head Chef, Roberto Panareillo at the hotel’s Tuscany-inspired restaurant, Villa Danieli.
Villa Danieli has long been one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, largely due to the fact that it’s a free-standing trattoria hence you don’t feel like you’re walking into a commercial restaurant but more like into a Tuscany styled Italian cottage in the countryside.
Through the years (I’ve been visiting Villa Danieli since 2013), there have been various chefs (foreign chefs are usually here on a two to three year contract before moving on to other properties) hence the style of the menu changes a bit – from very traditional to the slightly more modern (while keeping to the authentic fundamentals of Italian cuisine of course) and everything in between. Hence, we were quite eager to see what Chef Roberto Panareillo had in store for us!
Chef Roberto graduated from the Hotel Management School at the Marco Polo of Genoa and Catering Alliance, Italy. He is also a qualified geometer at the Technical Institute Palazzi of Genoa for Food Hygiene, Health & Safety, HACCP.
His career as a chef began in 2001 as a Junior Sous Chef at Dolce Vita in Philadelphia, USA, a well-known Italian restaurant in the state. During his tenure there, he developed a passion for culinary artistry that harnesses the ingredient’s natural flavor, a practice which has propelled him into the spotlight. Roberto was the recipient of the “World Luxury Restaurant Award” 2015/2016 and was recently awarded as the “Best Head Chef” at the prestigious Golden Q Plaque 2018 and the “Authentic Italian Restaurant Abroad – Thailand” in 2016 and 2018.
Roberto penned his excellent food memoir with a number of famous celebrities such as Bono from U2, Madonna, Roberto Mancini, Italy’s National Football Manager, and many more. Embodying Sheraton’s community pillar, where the brand is inspired by the melting pot of people walking through its doors, he feels most fulfilled when he cooks and sees diners enjoying the dishes.
Roberto’s cooking style is rustic and simple, yet innovative to suit modern iterations of Italian cuisine. In his repertoire, he includes passed-down recipes from his great grandmother. His basic cooking rules for a great Italian dish are to use only the finest and freshest ingredients.
Course 1: Antipasti – Tartare Di Tonno
Premium tuna takes centrestage, complemented with imported green and black olives, sweet Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy and shallots.
This was a classic dish presented in an elegant manner. I personally feel that you don’t need to always reinvent the wheel, just use something that is time tested and execute it well. A delicious antipasti which serves to awaken the palate for the following courses!
Course 2: Pasta – Ravioli Carbonara Di Mare
House-made ravioli pasta, original Italian carbonara sauce, stuffed with local seafood such as shrimp, mussels and baby cuttlefish which not commonly used as ravioli stuffing.
This was a hearty pasta dish which was perfectly executed, and filled with umami goodness while not being overly cloying! Just lovely!
Course 3: Pesce – Merluzzo Alla Griglia Con Salsa Alla Puttanesca
This recipe has been in Chef Roberto’s family for nearly 80 years! Made at home for family and loved ones, Chef Roberto’s great grandmother’s classic recipe features grilled cod fish that was air-flown from the North European sea, served with the real Italian tomato-based sauce Puttanesca, alongside steamed vegetables, olives, capers and tomatoes.
A beautifully cooked piece of cod with a robust tomato-based sauce to accompany it, imparting loads of flavours to the expensive fish. This was a nice and filling main of rustic flavours and fresh ingredients.
Course 4: Dolce – Panna Cotta Al Profumo Di Sardegna
Chef Roberto re-created the Panna Cotta recipe by adding premium Madagascar vanilla and a combination of citrus fruits, which provided a scent that reminds him of home, Sardegna.
A well-balanced creamy, (slightly) sweet, and tart dessert to end the meal. Really liked the nuances of vanilla in the panna cotta which contrasted against the tartness of the coulis. I’m generally not a dessert person, but this was a nice dessert!
Amongst the above highlights, Chef Roberto took the lead and evolved the menu for Villa Danieli. Inspired by the rustic Italian newspaper layout or known as Gazzetta, the menu comprises all food sections from Antipasti to Dolce. A wide selection of home-made pasta such as Ravioli di Magro, Pappardelle ai Funghi Porcini, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Gratinati on top of the Pizza selection which was improved and added with two signature items – 5 Cheese, a combination of Mozzarella, Parmesan, Smoked Scamorza, Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, fresh Wild Rocket and Villa Danieli, tomato-based pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, Wild Rocket, Bresaola, Sliced Parmesan cooked to perfection in the traditional wood-fired oven.
For more information and reservations at Villa Danieli, call +6012 337 9980 or email email@example.com
Villa Danieli is located at
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Restaurant operation hours:
Closed every Monday
Lunch: 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm – 10.00 pm