Bold flavours, comforting textures: A'Roma Dinings is maturing into one of PJ's top landmarks for a taste of la dolce vita, steered by the stewardship of Malaysian chef Silverster Marcus, whose fundamental training in French cuisine & two decades of professional experience in Italian cooking leave a fairly distinctive impression. It's a comfortably spacious restaurant that feels like a labour of love, filled with painstakingly painted murals that set a memorably vibrant tone for a hearty, soulful meal.
Pastas & risotto may be the benchmark by which most patrons judge an Italian venue: By that measure, A'Roma does justice to the Roman spirit of kitchen-spawned meals, with casarecce & curly pappardelle - varieties of pastas not often seen in the Klang Valley - crafted by A'Roma's own team for a firm, fresh bite, the former partnered pleasurably with chunks of slow-braised pork cheek & sauteed bacon in a thick, tangy puttanesca sauce (RM38), the latter heaped with tender duck leg in an earthy ragu of foie gras morsels & mushrooms (RM45). And since we're fans of saffron risotto, we're encouraged to spot it served here, respectably aromatic, freckled with substantial scallops, tiger prawns, green peas & roasted capsicum (RM48).
If you're carnivorous for pork & lamb, the menu should satiate those meaty cravings: The Spanish-sourced pork belly & ribs both prove to be sacraments of sheer succulence, potently perfumed with flower honey & chipotle, rewarding customers with a luscious, flavoursome chew, with plenty of crunchy pork crackling on the board to munch on (RM79 for the full ensemble). A'Roma also takes pride in its lamb racks, a caveman-worthy portion to sink your teeth into, crusted with a fragrantly textured crumble of harissa peppers & herbs, complemented by charred capsicum, grilled vegetables & mashed potatoes (RM78).
We also like A'Roma's sharing boards, showcasing charcuterie & cheese (RM60 each), accompanied by bread & pickles. The first platter is enjoyably curated with Italian cold cuts - Bologna-produced mortadella, Milano salami, prosciutto & lip-smacking fatty cotechino - while the cheeses come from all across Europe, comprising Italian gorgonzola with green olives & black cherries, French herbed boursin in truffle oil, Greek feta with herb oil, & Cypriot halloumi with apricots & basil, for a spectrum of cheesy dynamics. Either or both would be a suitable follow-up to A'Roma's thin-&-crispy flatbread & dips (rather addictive).
Desserts are typically worth saving space for at Italian joints - A'Roma puts its own twist on every dish, savoury or sweet, & the tiramisu is no exception, layered with Sumatran-harvested Degayo coffee & melted dark chocolate fudge, brimming with nuts & berries galore at its base (RM23). If you prefer something more decadent, the 75% dense & dark chocolate semifreddo ticks that box, enhanced with butterscotch, hazelnut ganache, orange segments & strawberries (RM23). A solid selection of wine is available by bottle & glass, so head here for your Chianti & Cabernet fix; many thanks to A'Roma's friendly team for having us.
1, Jalan 20/14, Paramount Garden, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Sun-Thurs, 12pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, 12pm-1215am. Tel: 03-7865-9829
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