One of Penang's top venues for Italian cuisine extends its reach to KL: Via Pre first opened up north in George Town in 2012, run by founders who played key roles in the creation of KL establishments like Bukit Ceylon's Nerovivo & BSC's Vineria. This month, it embarks into Bukit Damansara, with Florence-born Chef Luca conveying a taste of la dolce vita in this casual space.
In George Town, Via Pre is a cavernous restaurant on the coastal road of Weld Quay, its shelves spilling over with Italian hams & cheeses, with a menu of temptations like bucatini with pork cheeks & pizzas with Parma ham & prosciutto. In contrast, this new suburban KL outpost makes a no-pork concession, but the selection remains intriguing. The should-try is the gnocchi, a genuine treat of kitchen-made pumpkin & ricotta dumplings with a natural, delicate lightness, well-matched with smooth, savoury slices of cured beef, steamed zucchini & gorgonzola sauce (RM36). The pan-fried sausage platter is also enjoyable - a duo of duck & veal sausages, robust in flavour, rustic in texture, complemented by stewed lentils & garlic potatoes (RM56).
Pastas & pizzas display distinctiveness: Aglio olio is bequeathed with bottarga for a subtle brininess (RM65), while carbonara is studded with cured duck morsels (RM25), both built with whole-wheat spaghetti that's firm to the bite. For cheese acolytes, the Quattro Formaggi Pizza forgoes the tired tropes of mozzarella & parmesan for a punchier white combo of taleggio, toma, gorgonzola & goat's cheese (RM39). A solid selection of aperitifs & Italian wines from the north, central & southern regions is available: The most distinctive choices will likely be the Ugo (RM27), combining Prosecco with elderflower liquor, mint & soda, with a classic Sicilian Nero d'Avola wine that's a plummy pick at RM82 by the carafe. Meals may finish with the flourish of complimentary limoncello; service is warm & efficient. Via Pre could become a neighbourhood hot spot - on a recent Saturday evening, the place sprang to life shortly after sunset with a birthday party & a nearly full house of other revellers.
Via Pre Kuala Lumpur
25 Lorong Setiabistari 2, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tues-Sun, 1130am-330pm, 530pm-1030pm. Tel: 03-2011-2003
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