In the quiet, elegant ambience of The Library at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, I sipped prosecco and felt a rush as the oyster with sherry vinegar jelly, wasabi chips and avruga caviar slid down my palate. This Ostrica amuse bouche was a light and delightful beginning to our four-course Sicilian lunch by award-winning guest chef Lino Sauro.
For the past three days he has been presenting his signature dishes in an exclusive four-course dinner paired with Sicilian wines in The Library and this will end on Saturday March 18. Lino is from Sicily and is the chef-owner of Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare in Singapore. He received the Chef’s Choice Award at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence 2016.
Polipo, the appetiser, was an exceptional showcase of charred citrus glazed octopus, risone, capsicum, sun-dried tomato aioli and pistachio pesto. It was a brilliant blend of textures and flavours, first from the silky risone which is short-cut pasta shaped like rice and seemed to taste like risotto. Tinged with squid ink and combined with bits of squid, the risone had a tingling heat. The tender, caramelised octopus was both sweet and tart, but so perfectly balanced in flavours. A sprinkling of nuts and the tomato aioli brought it all exquisitely together. This was paired with the Vigneti Zabu Grillo Terre Siciliane IGT, which is like a sauvignon blanc.
The taste of the sea was in the Capellini con Aracosta or angel hair pasta topped with a knob of luscious, sweet lobster, with seaweed flakes scattered over it. The past had been tossed in a light, creamy lobster reduction.
Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo or Signature Gattopardo Seafood Stew was my main course. There was a rich burst of aromas as the bright orange stew filled with squid, octopus, fish, prawns and mussels was brought to the table. It was hearty stew, with the added oomph of fried garlic in it. It was not unlike a bouillabaisse but Chef Lino when asked later, said: “You can’t get fat on my Seafood Stew. There’s no butter or cream in it!” Instead extra virgin olive oil, fish stock, prawn bisque and chilli were in this stew, in truly Sicilian spicy style.
A fellow writer generously offered us a slice of her Manzo Australiano or Australian Wagyu with morel mushrooms and horseradish sauce. It was so delicate and had an amazing flavour. This was paired with an excellent red, the Mazzei Zisola Sicilia Doc.
Cassata is a traditional Sicilian layered, liquer-soaked ricotta cheesecake but Chef Lino served up his own deconstructed version of this which was creamy, nutty, fruity and so lovely. The chef believes in working with sustainable ingredients and is committed to the preservation of Italian culinary traditions while channelling contemporary culinary techniques.
The Sicilian dinner at The Library is priced at RM250 with an option of wine pairing at RM375 per person. Dinner is available from 7pm. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +60 3 2142 800. This dinner is among four culinary events by guest chefs for the year to be showcased at The Library.