September 13, 2011

Invited Review : Spasso Milano @ Straits Quay, Penang

It was definitely a privilege to have been given an opportunity in sampling all the cuisines that the newly established Spasso Milano has to offer.

Spasso Milano opened its doors in the beginning of September, marking their venture in Penang after their first outlet in Ampang, KL. Spasso Milano aims to tantalize all the Italian food lovers with their sincere offering of a truly authentic Italian experience, through their head chef Felice Martinelli.

When I reached Spasso, Craig welcomed with all smiles and hosted me throughout the meal, and he was kind enough to recommend many of the palatable delicacies off the menu, which had been thoughtfully layout in categories.

First up, we each had a soup...

Porcini Mushroom Soup (RM 18.80)

This rich and delicious soup was made with 100% Porcini Mushroom which had been finely blended, and then drizzled with White Truffle Oil. The portion was definitely a generous one, and I truly enjoyed this aromatic soup that still had bits of Porcini mushroom evident in each spoonfuls.

Asparagus Soup (RM 16.80)

Asparagus soup, on the other hand, was lighter in texture, yet maintaining the zest of asparagus. Not to be missed by asparagus lovers.

Our soup was heartily accompanied by Homemade Garlic Focaccia (RM 9.80), which is a Focaccia bread that is homemade by Spasso, then topped with Butter and Garlic. The Focaccia was a show stealer, rather than being on the sideline of the soups. The bread was crunchy yet light and was filled with the aroma of butter and garlic. Great to have it just as it is, or dipped in the soups.

Smoked Duck Breast (RM 23.00)

When Craig recommended this dish, I shared with him that I am not a duck lover at all, as it usually comes with a smell when not being prepared properly. But since it was highly recommended, I gave it a shot. These were sliced home-smoked duck breast, served with avocado, and drizzled with Hazelnut oil. Boy, I was really dumbfounded when I tasted the first slice! The smoked duck breast, which I expected it to be rough and slightly chewy, was nothing like that at all. It was smooth, the texture was just right and most of all, it did not come with any duck smell at all. It was a sheer delight to enjoy this dish with avocado, and what's more, the hazelnut oil really complements the smoked duck breast well. The salad came with a thickened version of vinegar dressing as well. I was surprised that I finished 5 smoked duck breast slices! Highly recommended

Next, our Prawn and Asparagus Risotto was served (RM 32.00)

Don't be fooled by pale color of this risotto that is made with Carnaroli rice cooked with fresh asparagus, and then topped with pan-seared Tiger Prawns. Firstly, the risotto was very soft, very flavorful that I felt the risotto absorbing all the goodness of asparagus. As Craig does not fancy seafood at all, I was given the privilege to have the prawns all to myself! The pan-seared prawns were juicy, well flavored and tasted just wonderful.

Spasso Milano offers a range of Prima Pasta, which are imported handmade pasta with Durum Wheat. Guests now have the freedom to opt for the classic pasta range, or the Prima Pasta range, namely (from left to right) Orecchiette, Strozzapreti, Eliche, Paccheri and Fileja Calabresi

We had the Mushroom & Bresaola Pasta (RM 28.80) with Prima Pasta (RM 4) known as Paccheri, which is the broad cylinder type among the 5.

Bresaola is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged until it becomes hard and turns a dark red. It is made from round primal cut of beef and is lean and tender. Spasso Milano makes such a fascinating version of this - just check out the thin-ness of the Bresaola and the beauty of its texture. Though the prima pasta was broad, they were well done. Not only it came with the right al dente texture that all prima pasta should have, it basically soaked up the taste of creamy mushroom as well. The mushroom were plentiful and equally delicious, sheer delight to sample!

After all the hospitality of Craig and staff at Spasso, I was honored to meet up with Chef Felice Martinelli, who heads the team here at Spasso - with the sole purpose to delight us with authentic Italian delicacies. Chef Felice was very friendly, absolutely approachable, and he gave me a feeling of being very down-to-earth.

He was enthusiastically sharing with me his passion to deliver Italian cuisines which are authentic and mirror of what Italians are enjoying, without compensating the preparation and ingredients used to tune to local taste buds. It is very rare indeed to chance upon such an uncompromising Chef who wants nothing but the best for their guests. A light joke was initiated about how Craig asked Chef Felice on what are the Signature dishes here at Spasso, and Chef Felice simply emphasized that every dish featured on the menu are his Signatures. If they are not Signatures, they will not be on the menu! :)

Chef Felice and Craig insisted that I try out their desserts as well, so we had...

Tiramisu (RM 18.80)

Tiramisu is made up of Espresso soaked Savoiardi Biscuit & Mascarpone Cream. The version here is delicately done with the Savoiardi biscuit evidently visible, and I love how they top their Tiramisu with a good coating of cocoa powder on top.

Panna Cotta (RM 14.80)

Panna Cotta, which literally translates as cooked cream in Italian, is an Italian dessert generally made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing with gelatin and letting it cool to set.

The Panna Cotta here consisted of fresh cream pudding, topped with mixed berry coulis. Many might shun away from this dessert due to its sweetness, rich and creamy pudding texture. But being a super lover for pudding desserts, this just moved up my personal dessert ranking! The texture of the panna cotta as smooth as butter, the taste was rich and awesome, and it did not come across as overly sweet. The sourish mixed berry coulis complemented the creamy pudding like match made in heaven. Simply lovely.

We toured around the spacious and contemporary Spasso Milano and I learnt that Spasso boasts of its wood-fire oven which churns out delicious Italian wood-fire pizzas, as well as housing a full wine list with specialty wines that one cannot find elsewhere too.

The bar

Different table settings to cater for private groups, family, or romantic night out.

Spasso Milano houses many retail products that are fully imported, for example sweets, biscuits, jam, extra virgin olive oil, as well as premium tea.

What a great night it was - superb cuisines and friendly company. I was offered a refreshing orangecello to help digest all the great food in my stomach. Orangecello is a variation of limoncello which is an Italian lemon liqueur traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestive.

Thanks so much to Adrian, Craig, Chef Felice, Denver, Wayne, and not forgetting the hospitality of everyone at Spasso Milano for the great experience!

I'm already looking forward to tomorrow :)


  1. Bresaola sounds very intriguing! It looks like it would have an interesting texture with it's crinkles. I've gotta try that sometime.

    Looks like a great Italian establishment with its wood fired oven. :)

  2. The duck breast seem like a bit oily?

  3. Huai Bin : Yeah it was my first encounter with Bresaola too!

    Anonymous : Thank you!

    choi yen : the duck breast is drizzled with hazelnut oil hence it might appear to be oily