Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

–Please proceed to bottom for updates–

“A’more di merrier” is Italiannies’ shared presentation menu concept, great food and good times are meant to be shared amongst the company of family and friends. Their dishes are designed for sharing, and their large portions allows you to sample many different tastes while enjoying the family style dining of Italy.

Boast for serving authentic Italian dishes with great complementing wines, Italiannies is at this moment introducing eight new pasta dishes in its ‘Festa della Pasta’ promotion. The new pasta dishes provide local pasta lovers the chance to savour a selection of authentic pasta recipes originating from the various regions of Italy. The promotion runs from now until the end of June 2013, but if the demand is overwhelming it might be extended.

A recent media launch held at Italiannies in Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang gave us an opportunity to understand the flavours and textures behind the selection of pasta for the promotion, and a first hand look at handmade pastas that are used for their dishes.

The ‘abbondanza’ or sharing portion and free flow of specially paired wines gave us the chance to try 5 out of the 8 pastas offered for this month long pasta promotion.

Starting the food tasting in motion was their ‘Mediterranean Salad’, moist and tender grilled chicken breast, black olives, tomatoes, onions, rocket leaves and romaine lettuce served with a generous amount of their Italian dressing. The salad was refreshing, sweet with hint tanginess and richness.

Another appetiser was their ‘Gamberi Con Aglio’, firm and tender shrimps cooked with dried red chillies, black olives and tomatoes served with garlic bread on the side to mop up the spicy and lemony sauce.

The pasta tasting kicked off with their Cannelloni, tubular pastas stuffed with spinach and artichoke filling and served with homemade marinara sauce topped with melted Mozzarella cheese and béchamel sauce. The pasta is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti, a red wine with intense fruity flavours with mild acidity. The Cannelloni was created by Chef Nicola Federico in Sorrento Italy in 1907, and was originally called ‘strascinati’ and only gained popularity during World War II, when residents of Naples fled to Sorrento.

Paccheri con Ragú, large, hollow, tube-shaped pasta served with a traditional meat based sauce and Parmesan cheese. It is to be paired with, again,  Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti to compliment the ragú’s rich beefy taste and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. The shape of paccheri pasta is from Campania Italy and is similar in shape to the rigatoni, but paccheri are shorter and have a larger diameter. A Ragú is an Italian word for any meat-based sauce, derived from the French word ‘ragouter’,  which means to revive the taste.

Tagliatelle con Salvia, Funghi e Popettine, handmade tagliatelle pasta sauteed with lemon, shiitake mushrooms and homemade beef meatballs. The savoury and lemony with a hint spice is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Rosso Vigneti Dolomiti. Tagliatelle (from the Italian tagliare which means “to cut”) is a traditional type of pasta from Emilia-Romagna and Marche, regions of Italy. Individual pieces of tagliatelle should be long, flat ribbons that looks similar in shape to fettuccine and are typically about 6.5 mm to 10 mm in width.

Tagliatelle con Pesto al Pomodoro, handmade plain and spinach (straw & hay) tagliatelle pasta cooked with green pesto and served with sweet, firm choped tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. The fresh, herby and nutty pasta is to be paired with Adesso Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia, a red wine with pleasant notes of mulberry and plum.

Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, pappardelle pasta cooked with clams and mussels in a white wine sauce. The light tasting pasta was paired with Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio Venezie, a white wine with fresh apple aromas and a delicate spiciness; fresh, flavorful and focused. Pappardelle are large and broad flat pasta noodles that looks like the the wide fettuccine. The fresh types are two to three centimetres wide and may have fluted edges and dried ones have straight sides, it is traditionally served with very rich, heavy sauces, especially sauces which include game such as wild boar.

At the end of the sampling, we were served with their “Italian Trifle”, made with layers of Mascarpone, Ladyfinger biscuits and topped with dark chocolate powder and chocolate chips. It was a light and easy dessert but my favourite of that particular night was their signature Tiramisu, an Italian pick-me-up, which was not in the list.

Italiannies’ Tiramisu was light, fluffy, well chilled and most importantly utilises Espresso instead of normal brewed coffee.

*We have yet to sample the remaining 3 pastas, Fileja con Pomodoro e Basilico, Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto and Fusilli con Spinaci ed Alfredo sauce.

Our overall experience:
Taste
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The dishes were mostly well prepared and well paired with wines that complement the flavour notes.
  • The Mediterranean Salad dressing was pleasant and flavourful, it brought out the sweetness of the greens and balanced the richness and saltiness of the goats cheese.
  • The only dish that we did not really appreciate was their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, it lacked that seafood sweetness and flavour.
  • The pasta we most enjoyed would be the Paccheri con Ragú, Cannelloni and Tagliatelle con Salvia, Funghi e Popettine.
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The pastas were al-dente, with good texture.
  • Mediterranean Salad’s greens were crisp and chicken cutlets tender, but one of the pieces were slightly too pinkish for my liking.
Service
  • N/A as it is an invited review event, but the staffs at hand were quite helpful.
Cleanliness
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Cosy and homely with alfresco seatings.
Price
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Portion
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Value
  • N/A as the portions were sharing portion, thus it does not represent the actual serving.
Consistency
  • N/A.

Add: Lot 1-31, Ground Floor, Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang
Tel : +604 228 9761

There is stiil time to check out their Festa Della Pasta promotion for lunch and dinner:
Lunch promotion
A lunch promotion from the Festa Della Pasta menu includes a top of up RM6 for a choice of pasta and a choice of either a salad (Insalata Verde), a dessert (chocolate brownie) or a glass of Pepsi that will be served from 11am till 3pm.

Dinner promotion
The dinner promotion from the same Festa Della Pasta menu includes a top up of RM16, for a choice of pasta, and a choice of an entrée (Gamberi con Aglio), a salad (Insalata Mediterranea) or a dessert (Italian Trifle), which is applicable for dinner service that commences 6pm onwards.

–Updates on 25th June 2013–

Just last week (Thursday the 20th of June) we were back at Italiannies Gurney Paragon Mall Penang to sample the last 3 pastas that we haven’t tried and to re-sample their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, which we did not really feel justice was given to the dish during the previous visit. For this try, the Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle were well executed, with sufficient sweetness and a savouriness to taste,  and the seafood was firm and tender to feel.

Fusilli con Spinaci ed Alfredo sauce (RM22.90), fusilli pasta sauteed with chicken breast in a light alfredo sauce and served with fried crisp spinach and chopped walnuts on top. The savoury pasta with hints of spice and nutty flavours are to be paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia. Fusilli is a diminutive of fuso, the Italian word for “spindle”. It is traditionally the pasta is “spun” by pressing and rolling a small rod over each thin strip of pasta to wind them around it in a corkscrew shape.

Fileja con Pomodoro e Basilico (RM18.90), fileja pasta sauteed with fresh tomato puree and cherry tomato and served with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The pasta dish was tart but at the same time sweet and fresh, accentuating from the basil and tomato combination. Remember to let the residual heat of the pasta to warm and wilt the basil leaves to release the aroma and taste. The dish is to be paired with Adesso Inzolia IGT Sicilia or Adesso Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia. Fileja is traditionally from  Calabria in southern Italy, they are eggless pasta rolled by hand using a thin metal rod or skewer.

Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto (RM26.90), spinach and ricotta filled tortellini pasta sauteed with smoked salmon, fresh dill and capers in an alfredo sauce served with with smoked salmon rosettes. The pasta was rich, creamy, smoky with hint of tartness from the capers, it is to be paired with Alois Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio Venezie. The “belly button” like Tortellini is originally from the Italian region of Emilia, in particular Bologna and Modena.

Our overall experience:
Taste
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • Their Mussels & Clams Lombardi con Pappardelle, was savoury sweet and the mussels were firm and tender.
  • The taste and ingredient were well complimented with the type of pasta to carry the flavours.
Texture
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The pastas were al-dente, with good texture.
  • The Tortellini con Salmone ed Aneto filling may be slight sandy/powdery due to the cheese’s texture, but was considered normal.
  • The smoke salmon were fine and mussel were firm and tender.
Service
  • Not as attentive as it should be apart from the attention to detail by their manager, Jerry.
Cleanliness
  • 4.0/5 (Good)
  • The dining area was neat and clean.
Atmosphere
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • Cosy and homely with alfresco seatings.
Price
  • 3.0/5 (Average)
  • The pasta prices are more or less on the average with other Italian or specialty pasta restaurants.
Portion
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • The single serving portion will be filling depending on the type of pasta you order.
  • It would be good to increase the pasta portion for a more hearty meal.
Value
  • 3.5/5 (Good)
  • With a better pasta texture and flavours and accompanying ingredient quality, it should be considered value for the price.
Consistency
  • N/A.
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2 Responses to “Festa della Pasta At Italiannies Gurney Paragon Mall Penang (Updated)”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Everything looks so yummy!

    [Reply]

    Jason Wong Reply:

    The pastas are good, better than Spasso in fact. We want Italian Italian food, not the localised versions.

    [Reply]

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