Favola at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur welcomes Chef Ben Levene, Head Chef at Locale Restaurant at De Bortoli Wines Yarra Valley Estate to present an exclusive three-day-only menu centring around the exquisite wine of the vineyard.
Focusing on a farm-to-plate approach with his cooking, the menu takes you on the various terroir paired with unpretentious home-cooked style Italian dishes.
“I like to keep it simple with good food that starts with the ingredients. What you get here is food that you’d want to have with your family over a good bottle of wine,” shares the amiable chef.
Pairing the best winemaking practices with a knack for fresh produce, here’s your chance to sample one of the best wine pairing dinners in town.
A Taste of De Bortoli
The four-course dining starts with a flight of amuse bouche that’s quintessentially Italian comprising Saffron and Pea Arancini, Mixed Vegetable Frittata and Buffalo Mozzarella with Salsa Verde. A play on textures, the bite-size snacks pair beautifully with a light and crisp Rococo Premium Sparking N/V where the fresh botanical notes cut through the richness of each morsel.
Chef Levene continues with a starter of cured kingfish, macerated grapes and roasted hazelnuts (Pesce Stagionato). The buttery texture of the thinly sliced fish marinated with Estate Chardonnay provides a beautiful balance with the nuttiness of toasted hazelnuts. Take a sip of the pairing Villages Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2016, and enjoy a more intensified flavour of the dish. Expect a smooth and silky finish thanks to the blend from three different vineyards, aged for a few months in oak barrels to allow the Chardonnay to develop a smooth creamy finish but light at the same time.
Aged Chardonnay is also great with nuts and dark meat
Next on the menu is the duck tortellini served with caramelised pear, walnut pesto and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano (Tortellini d’Anatra). Each mouthful is a delight — plump tortellini with generous stuffing of duck meat, soft caramelised pear for sweetness as well as nuttiness from the pesto and cheese.
This dish is enjoyed with Riorret Balnaring Pinot Noir 2015. The vintage red is slightly mellow with a nice glossy finish thanks to its terroir that’s facing the ocean. There’s no hint of tannins, only aromatic nuances of cherry, mushrooms and dark fruits. The bright Pinot makes for a great transition from the previous Chardonnay, giving diners an great mix of what Yarra Valley has to offer.
For mains, enjoy the potato gnocchi with spiced lamb shoulder ragu (Gnocchi con Ragu di Agnello). It is hard to go wrong with pillowy gnocchi folded in curried lamb chunks and whipped ricotta — a classic Italian affair that’s unpretentious and warming at the same time. This goes perfectly with the Single Vineyard Section A8 Syrah 2013 that gives you a delicate finish with traces of mineral, spice, smoke and grainy tannins.
The cool climate French-style Syrah, best paired with lamb, is aged over 18 months in oak barrels to allow the wine to develop a softer and more delicate finish. Every subsequent sip gives you layers of peppery notes that slowly develop into a subtle sweet finish.
The star of the menu is Chef Levene’s signature Tiramisu that is served with a unique Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2010.
“We prepare the sabayon, which is basically cooked eggs with an infusion of the Noble One to give it a nice perfumed and smooth finish before folding it with the mascarpone to give its extra fine texture. Then the Tiramisu is assembled in a cocktail glass with evident layers of soaked biscuits (with more Noble One) mascarpone and topped with crunchy crostili,” describes the UK-born chef.
Take very small sips because the Semillon is extremely intense in sweetness. Despite is low alcohol content at 10%, the Semillon can really give you a nice sugar rush if you chug it all at once.
Favola at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is truly an unsung hero when it comes to championing Italian cuisine. A simple presentation of no-frill Italian cuisine paired with one of the most revered three-generation Italian-owned vineyards in the Yarra Valley beckons more exciting dining experiences to come at this Renaissance-inspired restaurant. With great trueblue Italian food and excellent wine in its cellar, Favola is slowly becoming our favourite Italian restaurant in town.
A Taste of De Bortoli will be available from 18 to 20 September 2019 at the award-winning Favola, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur at RM200nett for 3-course lunch menu / RM350nett for 4-course dinner menu