Thursday, May 06, 2010

FABLED VENETIAN FARE


Breads. Nope, not the run-of-the-mill loaf but light, airy and rustic hand-made ones that taste absolutely heavenly. Le Meridien's Executive Chef Antoine Rodriguez is not kidding when he said the Italian breads at Favola are one of the outlet's signature specialities. Served with three different dips: truffled potato, roasted tomato and extra virgin olive oil-balsamic vinegar, the splendid loaves and grissini (breadsticks) would adequately put paid to any carb-free diet plans.

Lunching at Favola (a worthy successor to Al Nafourah), one can't help but be seduced by the charming and tasteful ambience that artfully blends modern and rustic accents. The food follows a similar slant - everything appears simple yet flavourful and is presented with panache minus any pretensions.

The Capricciosa Pizza (RM40++) is delightfully thin and crisp; laden with hot pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, roasted artichoke, anchovy fillets in olive oil, black olives and garlic. An amazing aria of toppings that leave you wanting more after that very first bite!

For some inexplicable reason, risotto is really the bees' knees for me. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven after my first spoonful of the Risotto con Cappesante (RM45++)! The plump rice grains were creamy, tender and just a tad al dente; richly imbued with a melange of seductive nuances - that of leeks, lemon zest, chilli and basil. Crowning this masterpiece was three large, succulently plump and super-sweet pan-fried sea scallops...drool, drool, drool!

Of course, no Italian meal is ever complete without pasta. At Favola, a choice of dry and fresh pasta is available in various guises. We sampled Conchiglioni Marinara al Cartoccio (RM45++) - a supremely scrumptious parcel of conchiglie (shell-shaped pasta) baked with seafood in tangy tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. This sterling composition of Italian culinaria tastes so good, you'd be tempted to give it a standing ovation.

Never judge the Lasagna al Forno (RM45++) by its 'cover'...for underneath that splotchy cheese crust drizzled with truffle oil lies layers of piping hot, fresh pasta sheets layered with braised Wagyu beef cheek. It's a pity the meat's all minced up but the deep-seated, hearty beef flavour's simply unmistakable. Garfield would've given this two thumbs (should that be paws?) up.

The Grilled Salmon Trout doesn't even need to fish for compliments...I daresay diners would readily heap praises on it anytime. Redolent with the distinct aroma of rosemary and thyme, the fish's inherent flavour is exquisitely perked up by a classic interplay of garlic, tomato, olive oil and lemon juice.

Brace yourself for some snap, crackle and pop when you sample Favola's fabled Tiramisu (RM25++). Laced with Illy coffee, the decadent treat of mascarpone, coffee jelly, savoiardi (sponge fingers), egg yolks and cream bear a sprinkling of sweet crusty crumbs and 'pop rocks' candy that lends the dessert an unexpected effervescent touch.


You know the Cassata (RM30++) and Budino di Cioccolata (RM25++) are seriously out of this world when my lunch companions made short work of both treats while I was being regaled to Chef Antoine's early culinary exploits! From my one and only tiny spoonful, I could tell the stack of Haagen Dazs ice cream and cake that forms the Cassata is to-die-for. Ditto for the dark, dense and alluring chocolate pudding served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

So what's a gal to do but vow to make a return trip in search of Favola's fabled fare.

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