Making its MIGF debut this year, Vineria.IT’s kitchen is headed by Rome native, Chef Diego Reali who stays true to his roots, cooking classically authentic dishes from his home country. He places great emphasis on a healthy and clean dining experience, making great effort to source ingredients direct from Italy. He recently showed a group of prominent guests what serious Italian cooking really means, showcasing his full Festival Menu with grace and flare.
Nik Tasha and Wan Jauhari
Guests arrived to an already buzzing restaurant, with most tables filled in the bistro-styled eatery. Built around the central glass-encased kitchen, Vineria.IT also boasts an expansive al fresco area with lounge style seating – a perfect place to wine and dine away the day while enjoying a scrumptious thin crust pizza from the wood-fire oven.
Gathering in the newly refurbished entrance to the restaurant, the guest list was led by Festival Royal Patron Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibin Tuanku Ja’afar, his sister Tunku Dara Tunku Naquiah Binti Al-Marhum Tuanku Ja’afar and her son Tunku Nasruan Adil Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar bin Tunku Mustapha. Festival Advisory Committee member Dato’ Jeremy Diamond was also present with wife Datin Khalsom, as well as Invest KL CEO Datuk Zainal Amanshah, BMCC Executive Director Nik Tasha and FiftySix Degrees Managing Director Kristine Goh among others.
Dato’ Ruby Khong and Datin Su Wai Fun
Nik Tasha, Wan Jauhari, Su Lin Hamzah, Alan Hamzah, Dato’ Ruby Khong and Sue Wang
Stef Lim, Dato’ Kee Hua Chee and Kristine Goh
Datuk Zainal Amanshah, Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Tuanku Ja’afar, Datin Suryani Tun Ahmad Sarji and Dato’ Steve Day
Datin Kalsom Diamond and Dato’ Jeremy Diamond
Tunku Nasruan Adil Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar bin Tunku Mustapha and Tunku Dara Tunku Naquiah Binti Al-Marhum Tuanku Ja’afar
Prosecco and wine warmed up the group and prepped palettes for Chef Diego’s highly anticipated feast which lay waiting just around the corner. Following the customary group shot for posterity, MIGF Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day introduced the Restaurant team, including of course Chef Diego himself who hails from a long line of restaurateurs. His family manages a third generation Italian trattoria in Rome.
As introductions came to an end, Chef Diego’s kitchen was already busy prepping the amuse bouche of grilled artichoke in pecorino and breadcrumb crumble. Paired with a light and crisp rose champagne, the smoky artichoke was a perfect complement to the intense flavour of the pecorino.
Grilled Artichoke in Pecorino and Breadcrumb Crumble
This led straight into the appetiser – a semi cured ‘tagliata’ of French duck breast with aged Modena balsamic berries and cherries, fontina cheese and rocket salad. The unmistakable aroma of prized Modena balsamic vinegar hung in the air while guests savoured the carpaccio-thin slices of duck breast.
Chef Diego plating up the Semi-Cured "Tagliata" of French Duck Breast with Aged Modena Balsamic Berries and Cherries, Fontina Cheese and Rocket Salad
Chef Diego emerged from the kitchen with each dish explaining how it was put together, where the ingredients were from and answering any questions from the diners.
Chef Diego taking diners through his menu
Resetting palates with a sorbetto of prosecco, mint and lemon, guests were ready for the first of the evening’s main courses.
Sorbetto ‘Prosecco, Mint and Lemon’
Sautéed in 48-month aged parmigiano, a purple asparagus and salted ricotta ravioli piemontesi materialized from the kitchen, full of complex flavours from the richly aged cheese. Garnished with decadent white truffle, this was one of the highlights of the menu, with many guests saying it deserves a permanent place on the a la carte menu.
Purple Asparagus and Salted Ricotta Ravioli "Piemontesi" sautéed in 48-month aged Parmigiano and White Truffle (paste or fresh seasonal)
Allan Hamzah raved about the dish, saying that the chef had truly outdone himself with what he considered one of the best ravioli’s he’d ever had the pleasure of tasting.
The ravioli was a standout for Allan Hamzah
Chef Diego pulled no punches in delivering his next main course, proudly presenting a Roman seared Black Angus Fillet Mignon. A cut with extreme tenderness and exceptional flavour, the Italian-styled ‘king of steaks’ came served with a lush chickpea mash and shavings of truffle.
There is perhaps no other cut of beef that better epitomises the melt-in-your-mouth label, and Chef Diego’s example had the guests ‘oohing and aahing’ soon after the first bite.
A typical Roman seared Black Angus Fillet Mignon on Chickpeas and Seasonal Porcini Condiment
A swift and effortless clearing job by the wait staff had the tables ready for the final course of the evening. Chef Diego’s dessert combined the old with the new, for a fresh take on tiramisu that was every bit as delicious as the rest of his menu.
The crunch of the sweet and spongy savoiadi ladyfingers, worked in perfect harmony with the velvety mascarpone. Chef Diego’s own twist on the classic Italian dessert came in the form of slow dried tropical fruits replacing the standard coffee dusting. The swap was a winner for the entire group, who commended the chef for his innovative take.
Flowers infused "Savoiardi" Ladyfingers on Mascarpone Cream and Slow Dried Tropical Fruits
Datuk Zainal, a regular at Vineria.IT for many years, thought the service, camaraderie and quality of the food on the evening was outstanding, as it has always been. Speaking on MIGF in general, he added that “It’s very important as these types of events and activities help to promote culture and food, adding to the proposition of livability in KL.”
Meanwhile, iDE8 Head of Marketing Stef Lim, thought the Festival does much to highlight the amazing talent behind the food: “Internationally and regionally we’ve got great shows like Master Chef, Top Chef…we should have a Malaysian Chef! They’re brilliant and the Festival really brings them to the fore.”
Following shots of espresso, venerable foodie Dato’ Jeremy Diamond took to the mic, turning to Chef Diego and rounding up the evening’s meal with words everyone applauded: “I certainly will be recommending your restaurant to everyone I meet – thank you and the team very much for a delightful meal.”
Dato’ Jeremy thanking the restaurant team for an exquisite Italian experience
Last but not least, it fell to Festival Royal Patron Tunku Naquiyuddin to say the final words on behalf of all the guests: “You’ve done wonders here tonight Chef Diego, truly putting the food and the restaurant on a pedestal. Absolutely well done!”
Tunku Naquiyuddin delivered his closing remarks with customary eloquence while Chef Diego and team look on
The Full Festival Menu at Vineria.IT costs RM160++ per person without wines and RM250++ with wines. A Lighter version is available for RM120++ per person with wines and RM198++ with wines.