Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Food: icook Italian Gastronomia @ 3 Two Square, Petaling Jaya

Up till now, 3 Two Square hasn't been very well known for it's eateries. We feel it's quite a shame, since the place is so near Wendy's house that we would frequent the area more often if there was a wider variety of restaurants. Things are at least improving a bit now with the arrival of icook Italian Gastronomia!

Owned and managed by Chef Nicola, an Italian, icook's aim is to introduce more varieties of Italian fare, besides the standard pizzas and pastas that we Malaysians are already familiar with.

Coffee is also an important staple at icook. This is made obvious by the packets of coffee beans lining the counter! I'll admit that so far we haven't given their list of beverages a try yet, so we won't give any comments on those. =)

Although not elaborately decorated, there's enough to make the place stand out from others. We particularly liked the vintage black and white posters (especially those to do with pasta!) hung on the wall, boosting the Italian vibe around the place. =D

Another novelty - choosing your own fruits to make fruit juice! Such a simple concept yet not one that I have seen at other restaurants so far. I felt this helped the place give off a more "natural and healthy" feel to it.

For the weary traveler who may be famished after braving rush hour jams to get to icook, plain bread served with their signature tomato sauce is definitely a welcome sight! Tasting the tomato sauce confirms it is indeed homemade and authentic, although we do have some complaints which will come later. 

If you've just had a long day at work and can't wait for food to cook, there's also pastry ready to serve! We were told Bomboloni (RM 2.90) are actually Italian donuts, but doesn't have the hole in the middle. Sadly when we tried this it was about 8-9pm and the Bomboloni tasted cold and hard. The only significant difference we could make out from normal donuts is the slight citrusy flavour thanks to some orange rind in the dough. 

For a starter to share, we went with the Fried Calamari served again with the signature tomato sauce (see where I'm going with this?). This was quite yummy, a nice snack to have before the main course arrives. Big enough for 2 to share comfortably, so give this a try if you're with friends. =)

The first time we were there, Wendy went for the Rustico Panini (RM 14.90) which was crispy chicken with tomato & lettuce between freshly made focaccia bread. Since the aim of icook is to highlight other lesser-known Italian staples, we thought the focaccia might be a good place to start. I used to have plenty of this in my Melbourne days and I know very well the common pitfalls of focaccia sandwiches. Sadly icook fell short too; the fillings seemed like a scrimped effort which is even more noticeable when paired together with bread that is as thick as focaccia, despite the it being fresh and warm. Not one that we will return for. 

Just because icook tries to introduce other types of Italian cooking doesn't mean they forsake the more common dishes! We took a stab at their Spaghetti Carbonara (RM 18.90), but unfortunately this also did not impress. The carbonara was a dry version and ended up being too cloying to finish. The carbonara sauce was also slightly curdled, signifying that it hadn't been taken off the stove quickly enough.

On another day, we decided to give one of their pizzas a go. There's about 10 different combination of toppings served on pizza dough in 11 inch long rectangle shapes instead of the usual circles. When it comes to pizza, I'm usually always looking out for the one with the most meat, but Wendy likes some vegetables too so the best compromise was the Pizza with Tomato, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Onions, Bell Peppers & Beef Salami (RM 26.90).

Despite it being loaded with toppings as its name suggested, we felt there was too little cheese, and it ended up being a very "wet" pizza presumably due to all the vegetables (although, the fresh ingredients used must be commended). By this visit, we also felt a little bored with the tomato puree used because it was tasted exactly the same as that which was served with our calamari from earlier visits and complimentary bread. It didn't hit our taste spots, but perhaps it could float yours?

The Roast Chicken is one of the specialties on the menu that you can find on their specials chalkboard. Going at RM30.90 for half a chicken, it prices itself just slightly higher than other chicken joints like Nandos or Kenny Rogers. Checking in on 4square will show a long list of unsatisfied customers, but don't let that stop you from giving this a try!

Although I agree that the meat was a bit dry in the end, it was a great authentic serving of roast chicken with really crispy skin that packed a lot of flavour! There's also a very generous serving of succulent potatoes to go with it, so don't worry about not having enough carbs with this. =)

Some pasta-making in the process?

For desserts, icook has a small range of cakes for the picking in their refrigerator. Aside from that, they also have Chocolate Mousse (not pictured) and Tiramisu (RM 10.90) neatly packed in these round plastic containers which are also perfect for takeaway. The Chocolate Mousse was smooth, decadent and a joy to scoop away at slowly. The Tiramisu, while boasting of silky mascarpone, had its sponge fingers drowned in too much coffee leading to a very watery finish.

icook Italian Gastronomia was promising as an authentic Italian restaurant but has some room for improvement. Hopefully most of the small things we experienced over a few visits and highlighted above are just teething problems because we really like the ambience, fresh ingredients used, location and service here. Hopefully with the passionate Chef Nicola at its helm, the food will be more consistent soon.

icook Italian Gastronomia | Facebook
B-06-01, Dataran 3 Two
Jalan 19/1, 46300 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +6 03 7960 1691
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-9:30pm; Sat, 12pm-10:30pm

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