Words: Craig J Selby Photos: Monica Tindall
30 July 2017 – save the date!
More later; so do read on, [please].
I heard a rumour that this is the restaurant that all the Italian chefs in town come to. After experiencing brunch at Zenzero Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar recently, I understand why. Attention to detail, innovative-yet-friendly cuisine, attentive staff, and a very relaxed environment all meld together to create a great dining experience.
Brunch at Zenzero Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar
The Zenzero team love brunch. And so do we at The Yum List. But forget those ubiquitous buffets – Zenzero have crafted a delightful brunch menu – opting for especially-curated sharing platters – great for small groups of two or three (and scalable for larger parties too). There’s something endearing about the platter concept – sharing food is at the heart of so many cultures, but it’s also a great way to try a wide variety of dishes too.
With an appealing selection of classic and reinvented cocktails, your brunch is bound to start off well. To get us in the mood, we sampled the Aperol Spritz – a refreshing starter drink. Not too sweet, but beware; it packs a hidden punch. Prosecco and Aperol skillfully mixed into an extra-large wine glass – rimmed with orange. Large ice ball, slice of lemon, and an orange chamomile decoration. After a couple of these, you might even forget that you’re here for brunch. A great chilled drink to get the conversation flowing, whilst waiting for the platters to be served.
House bread awaits – baked daily at the restaurant. Light, fluffy, fresh. The focaccia was a delight – beautiful to dip in the light olive oil and balsamic. The fried focaccia was a surprise – slightly sweet in flavour, and definitely something you don’t get to experience every day.
Today’s brunch had one of my favourite soups – leek and potato. Menu’ed as “Warm Irish Oysters” – leek, potatoes and watercress, the soup was delightfully aromatic with the distinctive leek and potato aroma’s shining through. Add freshly ground black pepper to elevate to taste. Light foam sat atop the delicate, light soup. Served in a nice portion to get the meal started.
The starters platter is a beautifully crafted platter: air dried beef bresaola and buffalo mozzarella, with arugula salad and Parmesan cheese with lemon dressing. This thick mozzarella and lightly salty bresaola make for that perfect combination. Drizzle a little of the lemon dressing to enjoy the tartness. These bite sized morsels were absolutely stunning. The sign of a great buffalo mozzarella is in the creaminess – this one wins hands down.
Orange salmon was a lovely addition too – gravlax salmon slices marinated in citrus, served with orange and red onion salad. No brunch is complete without salmon, and again, these morsels offer a delicious flavour bursts.
Both Monica and Caning loved the New Zealand green shell mussels. I on the other hand focused on the scallops au gratin. Plump, tender scallops, served in an oyster shell, with creamy béchamel sauce. Add to that a sweet pumpkin puree. Divine.
Tempting us even further was the homemade pasta trio; three house specialty pasta’s, each offering a unique twist on an old-time favourite. Black squid ink ravioli, stuffed with crab and mascarpone, and a green asparagus and mushroom sauce. This was quite rich and decadent, but ooooh so good. Next in the trio was the tagliatelle; mushroom ragu and white truffle paste. My personal favourite was the potato gnocchi, with veal and lamb ragu and dried ricotta. The gnocchi was tender, the ragu rich and creamy – loaded with flavour – what a perfect combination. If only they did take-out of this.
Attention to the little details is what I appreciate at any restaurant. This goes beyond the dishes being served, or the presentation of the drinks. It’s the knowledgeable and friendly staff (and yes, the team here at Zenzero fit the bill brilliantly), but it’s also other things too. I was especially appreciative that cutlery was refreshed between every platter served. Too many restaurants leave you to use existing cutlery (and plates) – so regular changes are appreciated.
A Few More Cocktails
We enjoyed a few other cocktails too. Have you had the perfect gin-tonic? I believe we just have! Nick-named the perfect gin-tonic, Zenzero’s version is again served in a super-sized wine glass. Rimmed with lemon for added impact, mix generous quantities of Fevertree tonic with Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, and cointreau. Cointreau adds extra depth of flavour – and a cool tip from our bartender, Babu; squeeze lemons inversely so as to get all those aromatic oils from the zest into your cocktail. Drop in torched lemon peel to add a light smokiness and develop the amazing aromatics of this concoction. A classic reinvented, and done with class – great citrus bite to it, but not too sweet (thanks Fevertree). So yes, I’m convinced that it lives up to its name.
Maybe something with caffeine? An espresso martini? Take one martini glass piled high with ice [to chill]. Use only freshly brewed espresso, add Kahlua, ice, and fresh coffee beans. Her verdict – superb!
Stepping back in time a bit to the 1970’s, with the original ‘Don Draper drink’, Negroni. Gin, martini, Campari, and a slice of orange. Sometimes, nothing beats the classics. This edgy drink was bitter, burnt, sweet and sour all in one. Bartender, one more please!
Main Courses at Zenzero Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar
The main course platter did not disappoint either. An assortment of crispy fried seafood in the form of Fritto Misto – calamari rings, baby crab, and mini prawns, with some delicious French fries. Add tartare sauce and lemon wedges, and you have a seafood lovers dream. The calamari was tasty, as were the prawns.
More substantial was the pan-seared lemon sole with lemon caper sauce. Quite a delicate fish. The lemon caper sauce added tartness, especially for those who love a strong lemon infusion to their white fish.
Meat-lovers will enjoy the roasted black Angus rib eye steak. Served slightly on the cooked side of rare, this melt-in-your-mouth steak was great with Zenzero’s barbecue sauce. Although, one could say a great steak only ever needs salt and pepper, just go for it as you see fit. Accompanied by spring rosemary potatoes, cauliflower au gratin (Caning especially enjoyed this one), and Portobello mushrooms.
The dessert platter was a visual and taste symphony. Rich, lush chocolate and cakes, and a spectacular blackberry ice cream. Think Black Forrest, with a twist. Definitely an indulgent finish to our meal; an excellent crescendo to a brilliant concept. Limoncello was a perfect partner-in-crime to dessert. Using the bosses mum’s recipe, this house-made version was sharp in flavour, yet smooth and creamy in texture.
So 30 July 2017?
Zenzero’s brunch is pretty much a monthly affair – the next sitting being 30 July. Yes, you’ve got a week to rally the troops, book a table, and just chill out and relax with some of Kuala Lumpur’s finest Italian cuisine. We certainly did.
Reasons to visit: spectacular cuisine, classic cocktails with an innovative twist, friendly, knowledgeable staff.
Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar
St Mary’s Place – A09 Ground Floor
1 Jalan Tengah, Kuala Lumpur
+60 3-2022 3883