Nero Nero – Tradition Meets Modern

Perched on a third floor courtyard at Damansara City Mall, Nero Nero hit the ground running when it first materialised on the Kuala Lumpur dining scene in mid-2017, thanks to its unique cuisine. California Italian (where fresh and sustainable ingredients are prioritised) is the overriding theme here, and it shows both on the plate and everything around it – as the guests who arrived for Nero Nero’s maiden participation in the MIGF Dining Series discovered.

Benefiting from the restaurant’s distinctive layout, which features an inviting al fresco portion that wraps nicely around the length of building, the first groups of guests to make the scene mingled on the outdoor section with canapes and drinks in hand. With an open-air setting framed by the attractive visage of surrounding skyscrapers, and a gentle breeze gracing the skin, it was a lovely curtain-raiser for the evening ahead.

As the final guests showed up, the party moved indoors to be met by an exquisite ambience nurtured by the fine décor (replete with a grand fountain in the dining area!) and soothing instrumental Italian background music. MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day and Director of DC3 Group of Restaurants Chia Jen Wen officially welcomed the dignified company, and soon thereafter everyone was ushered to the dining table, filled with great anticipation for the dishes to come.

On the guest list were several notable figures, including H.E. Carlos Felix Corona, Ambassador of Mexico to Malaysia, Tunku Dato’ Seri Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Group Executive Chairman of Melewar Group Berhad and Datuk Uwe Ahrens, Chief Technical Officer of Melewar Industrial Group.

The guests all ready for an evening of delicious food and superb company
Dato’ Steve Day, Looi Kien Leong, David Wong and Ong Kian Yew
Three charming husband-wife pairs: Sonia Kim Eun Hai and H.E. Carlos Felix Corona, Datin Seri Maneesah Ahmad and Tunku Dato’ Seri Iskandar Tunku Abdullah, and Datin Andrea Ahrens and Datuk Uwe Ahrens
Pauline Chong, Yuhei Teraoka and Chia Jen Wen
May Lim and Dato’ Ranbir S. Nandra
David Wong, Jeanice Ng, Looi Kien Leong and Janaka Ranjana
Dato’ Steve Day, Rayce Han, Datin Andrea Ahrens, Datin Su Wai Fun, Datuk Uwe Ahrens and Key Soon Yue

Calling the shots in the kitchen is Chef Domenico Nicolino, a highly experienced culinary expert whose passion for food has taken him from his hometown in Milan to kitchens across Europe, North America,  Australia, and Asia; a career journey that has also seen him cook under the guidance of a Michelin-starred chef. For the evening’s dinner, he crafted a breathtakingly comprehensive menu and an extensive wine pairing arrangement, much to the delight of the esteemed diners.

Chef Domenico (in white) working tirelessly to deliver nothing short of perfection from the kitchen

There were no less than four variants of canapes, including cod croquette with zucchini puree, and beetroot cured Norwegian salmon with black olive crumble, fennel, radish and an orange glaze. The latter was the favourite dish of Datuk Uwe Ahrens, who exclaimed that the salmon was second to none.

Cod croquette with zucchini puree
Beetroot cured Norwegian salmon with black olive crumble, fennel, radish and an orange glaze

Black Angus beef with grana padano shortbread and fondue was next, which Ong Kian Yew, Executive Director of PIKOM, held high praises for. This was followed by a carrot and wild mushroom carnaroli risotto, a dish that proved to be extremely popular. Dato’ Ranbir S. Nandra, Regional Director, ASEAN of BAE Systems commented that it was “absolutely fantastic” while David Wong, Founder and Group CEO of SnT Global Sdn Bhd and Key Soon Yue, President of Porsche Club Malaysia also proclaimed their affection for it.

Black Angus beef with grana padano shortbread
Carrot and wild mushroom carnaroli risotto

The next item was the first of two entrées, honey and earl grey tea cured Black Angus beef carpaccio with sliced shiitake, wild mushroom puree, grana padano and toasted walnuts. Many lauded this splendid creation, especially H.E. Carlos Felix Corona, who stated that it was a simply superb dish among the diverse food range served on the menu.

Honey and earl grey tea cured Black Angus beef carpaccio with sliced shiitake, wild mushroom puree, grana padano and toasted walnuts

The chef, however, had a surprise up his white sleeves, for he prepared a dish off-menu to go along with this entrée; a beef tartare Angus, comprising caper berries, anchovies, olives, lemon, mango, mustard and quail egg, among other ingredients. Like the carpaccio, it did not last long on the plate after the guests had a taste!

The first surprise dish of the night, beef tartare Angus

Charred octopus with potato espuma, dehydrated black olives, confit cherry tomatoes and aji was the other entrée, which found fans in Yuhei Teraoka, General Manager & Chief Sommelier of DC3 Group of Restaurants, and May Lim, Managing Director, SEA, Middle East, India & Africa of Lee Kum Kee (M) Sdn Bhd.

Charred octopus with potato espuma, dehydrated black olives, confit cherry tomatoes and aji

It was then time for the main course, Aquitaine France duck breast with glazed carrot, roasted shallot and beetroot jus. As with the carpaccio, it too came with a covert accompaniment – duck egg sous-vide, essentially poached duck egg with duck breast Rillettes. It was a dish that Tunku Dato’ Seri Iskandar raved about. “The menu as a whole was well thought-out, but I love the duck, it was the highlight for me!”

The exquisite main course – Aquitaine France duck breast with glazed carrot, roasted shallot and beetroot jus
The duck egg sous-vide, which was another lip-smacking creation that was uncredited in the menu 

Signalling the end of the evening was the wonderful dessert, a tiramisu consisting of coffee custard, sponge cake and mascarpone cream. It earned the approval of Looi Kien Leong, Founder and Executive Chairman of 1001tech Group, who announced that it was one the best desserts he has had in a while.

The divine tiramisu dessert constructed with coffee custard, sponge cake and mascarpone cream

Dato’ Steve Day then delivered his closing speech, thanking Chef Domenico and the Nero Nero staff for their amazing effort, as well as the restaurant owners for helping to make the dinner a reality. He then passed the microphone to H.E. Carlos Felix Corona, who expressed his happiness on discovering a new place to socialise and enjoy a great meal, while looking forward to finding more such restaurants in KL.

H.E. Carlos Felix Corona voicing out his warm sentiments on the dinner
Tunku Dato’ Seri Iskandar summing up the evening with an eloquent speech

Tunku Dato’ Seri Iskandar subsequently reiterated what His Excellency said, while complimenting the restaurant’s delectable offerings – and surprises – which amounted to an excellent evening.

Alluding to its California Italian concept, Nero Nero has a dynamic menu that changes every so often, prepared with Chef Domenico’s penchant for taking traditional ingredients and presenting the end product in a modern way. Visit its website to learn more of what it has to serve at the moment, as well as to look out for its upcoming special Christmas and New Year’s menu.

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