Wednesday, September 1, 2010

iL Primo @ Kia Peng


We had high hopes for iL Primo, the latest addition to the city center's increasingly crowded dining scene. Thankfully, it lived up to most of our expectations.


Despite its name, this isn't exactly an Italian restaurant; pasta is one of the highlights of the menu, but the best recipes seem to focus on seafood. In some ways, iL Primo feels like a familiar cross between Shook!, Favola and Il Lido, but it still retains a sense of uniqueness.


Service is excellent; this is one of those places where staff members put customers entirely at ease and cheerfully try to fulfill every request. We lingered here for hours on a weekday evening, but the time flew by effortlessly.


Fine de Claire oysters. Sweet and fleshy, with a straight-from-the-reef sorta freshness.


South Australian Pacific oysters. Surprisingly, it wasn't easy trying to tell the difference between these and the French ones; these tasted a bit more briny, which we kinda preferred (!).


Hamachi crudos. Not a smashing success, since the slightly-too-salty dressing of grape seed oil, rice vinaigrette & yuzu overwhelmed the natural sweetness of the delicate yellowtail.


Vialone Nano squid ink risotto with Australian marron (freshwater crayfish), New Zealand little neck clams & Australian Boston Bay black mussels. One of KL's best versions of this recipe, bursting with the full flavors of the ocean. The rice was impeccably cooked, with a creaminess that absorbed all the savory richness of the superbly fresh seafood.


Grilled garoupa fillet with sea salt & extra virgin olive oil. Moist but firm; nevertheless, while it was nicely prepared, this isn't the most memorable fish around.


Wood-fired tiger prawns with pepper, bearnaise & horseradish cream chive sauces. Can't complain about this either, but sometimes, prawns are simply prawns.


Nova Scotia North Atlantic lobster & Norwegian red king crab legs. Very much recommended; perfectly plump crustaceans, with a smoky succulence that could scarcely be bettered.


Santa Julia Torrentes '08 (Argentina). Refreshingly light and easy to drink.


So is iL Primo KL's best new restaurant of 2010? Nope, that honor still belongs to Il Lido, Mandarin Grill or Nathalie's (I favor Il Lido). But it's in the Top 10 _ we've made two trips here over the past week; a second entry, for meat, pastas and desserts, will be posted soon.


Parking is abundant; the restaurant building has a large private compound. Prices are high, so be prepared for a potential shock to the wallet.


iL Primo,
Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur.
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

28 comments:

  1. What captivated me the most is the squid ink risotto. The colour looks interesting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. another new restaurant!

    based on the number of re-visits, i say il lido is your fav of 2010! unless something godly and heavenly appears in the next 3 mths!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Michelle: oh yeah, one of the best squid ink recipes I've had in ages ... and perhaps the best seafood risotto I've had this year :D
    Joe: yeah, il lido is hard to beat! As far as this year's new outlets go, I love the food at mandarin grill too, but it's not quite as fab as il lido. And nathalie's is amazing, but the terrible opening hours and lack of a proper wine list would prompt me to deduct a few brownie points =)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey! This is just down the road. I'm a sucker for fresh oysters :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Unkaleong: quite decently priced oysters too! About RM8-ish per piece (but with minimum order of three). And yeah, fresh and flavor-packed! :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Them lobster and crab legs... that looks GOOD.

    I think the reason I've been gaining weight recently is cos I've been overdosing on food DOUBLY - once when I eateateat and once more when I readreadread your blog and feastfeastfeast my eyes on all that makan. :P

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ooh la la! I want a bite of the risotto! :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. You could try your hand at the slot machines there to win back some of the money!

    ReplyDelete
  9. We drove past the place yesterday - so huge! It's amazing how one lot gets razed and a new place comes up so quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Vialone Nano squid ink risotto with Australian marron (freshwater crayfish), New Zealand little neck clams & Australian Boston Bay black mussels..?! Blardy hell.. for THAT alone i will eat CARBS! Roooarrrr .. :P


    gr8 shots u BAD BAD BOY!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. lfb: oh yeah, i'm really lazy when it comes to tackling crabs, but the flesh in these ones were so easy to scrape out =) hmmm, i have a diet proposal for u: keep reading my blog, but stop eating! (hey, u gotta choose one or the other) :D
    j: i'd be happy to share, since the serving was massive! neptune's bounty indeed =)
    lemongrass: but i'm only the king of chor tai tee ... i fear that slot machines are not my forte!
    boo_licious: gosh, i have no idea what this was before it got turned into a restaurant. maybe a private residence, i guess. but i like how it's semi-secluded...
    ciki: thanks! yaaaa, even if i gained a pound or two from eating this, it would be worth it! i know that gluttony is a sin, but i can't help myself! :D

    ReplyDelete
  12. Heh heh, that does sound like a half decent diet plan... :P

    ReplyDelete
  13. lfb: yep, i guarantee u'll lose at least 10 kilograms in two weeks. errrmm, well, if u don't perish first, that is...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Haha. I shall hold on perishing till I bask in the glory of fitting into more old clothes of mine! :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can't wait to see your next post on what they have to offer for Meats & Pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Everything looked and sounded FINE until I read your last sentence "Prices are high, so be prepared for a potential shock to the wallet."

    ReplyDelete
  17. lfb: a skeleton would be able to fit into those old clothes! and if u perish, that's what u'll be! (who's wearing those old clothes for now? skeletons in your closet? bwahahhahaahahahaah ... so lame, i know) :D
    pureglutton: actually the seafood turned out to be better than the meat and pasta :D
    leo: yaaaaa, it's actually over-priced. it'd be more reasonable if they lowered the prices by about 20percent...

    ReplyDelete
  18. That IS lame. :P

    But no lar, my clothes fit except the waist bit. It's the love handles I've to get rid of. Sighs. Love sucks. :P

    ReplyDelete
  19. OH my ...really overpriced? Hhmm.. i nd a big big group for this then..cos tht will make the 'ouch' to the wallet lesser ;p

    ReplyDelete
  20. I want me some red king crab legs!! Love that shade of red - makes ANY seafood lust-worthy!

    ReplyDelete
  21. wow so many new places and I still haven't got to go! But this place looks like it's worth a try!

    ReplyDelete
  22. lfb: well, if u gotta choose between: (A) having love AND love handles; or (B) having NO love and NO love handles, we know what u'd pick :D
    tng: but big group might mean an even bigger bill!
    min: oh yeah, red makes every recipe look brighter :D
    eiling: yep, i think u'll like it! was a bit surprised that a restaurant managed to open during ramadan, but it was a pleasant surprise =)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'll choose (C) having love AND no love handles. :D

    ReplyDelete
  24. lfb: i'm sure the genie in your bottle will be happy to grant that :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey Sean see you came to ilprimo. That was quick. I was anticipating your arrival this week :) Hope all is well with you.

    Ginny Lotto

    ReplyDelete
  26. ginny: hi, ginny! gosh, i didn't realize u were affiliated with il primo :D hope to see you around sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  27. :) yes hope to see you soon..lets have some wine soon..I will be going to il lido tonight for dinner.. any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ginny: oops, yikes, sorry, saw your message too late. Hope u had the Sardinian suckling pig ... That's my fave! :D

    ReplyDelete