Ital­ian fare with lo­cal flair

Good­dam serves up Ital­ian-in­flu­enced meals with dis­tinct lo­cal touches.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Food - life­[email protected]­tar.com.my SHARMILA NAIR

GOOD­DAM is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Ital­ian joint. No sig­nore. The nine-month-old restau­rant does not serve pizza or tiramisu, nor are these dishes par­tic­u­larly missed at this es­tab­lish­ment.

“We just tell our cus­tomers that we don’t have them here,” says Good­dam head chef and co-founder Daniel Yap.

There is more to Ital­ian food than the afore­men­tioned dishes, and Yap is keen to in­tro­duce the flavours of Pied­mont, Italy where he spent time learn­ing the nu­ances of the age-old cui­sine.

The space is invit­ing – just like the staff man­ning the floor, who prob­a­bly learned their at­ten­tive ways from the restau­rant’s co-founder Miki Maria Lie.

“We’re prep­ping for an event to­mor­row,” says Lie, to ex­plain the buzzing kitchen and prep ta­ble. She brings the menu, a sec­ond it­er­a­tion since the restau­rant’s in­cep­tion, and Lie says that they hope to change it ev­ery six months.

We start with Salame Of The Day (RM20); the cool re­fresh­ing rock melon sor­bet is sweet and matches the slightly salty meat slices and tangy bal­samic vine­gar jelly.

Next, we have the High­land Tomato (RM26) in rose syrup and water­melon radish, a great way to present fresh and plump toma­toes from Cameron High­lands, Pa­hang. The tomato chips and sun-dried toma­toes add crunch and tex­ture to the scented ap­pe­tiser.

Yap is known to bring back items from places he vis­its. He uses gula Melaka he sourced from Melaka, which is com­bined with a pinch of sea salt and then driz­zled on cul­tured but­ter – churned at the restau­rant, by the way. It goes well with their home­made sour­dough bread.

Gula Melaka is also found in one of their mains, the Glazed Pork Rib (RM75). This time it is spiced, and ac­cen­tu­ated with a bal­samic vine­gar glaze, fer­mented blue­ber­ries, puffed buck­wheat and lo­tus root salad.

The ribs are tender and suc­cu­lent, though we wish it could have been a lit­tle “wet­ter” with more glaze. The lo­tus root salad un­for­tu­nately over­pow­ers the flavours of the meat, so it is best eaten sep­a­rately, and the fer­mented blue­ber­ries are definitely an ac­quired taste.

Do or­der the Clam Pearl Rice Risotto (RM42) if you are a fan of clams, be­cause there is plenty in this dish, with red snap­per sashimi, topped with pick­led cilantro stem and szechuan chilli oil and fried gin­ger.

Wait ... is that a de­scrip­tion for a Chi­nese-style por­ridge? Why, yes it is.

“We want to give our food some lo­cal flavours. So in­stead of the usual Ital­ian risotto, we have this ver­sion,” ex­plains Yap.

Next up, Ta­jarin Yolk Pasta (RM45), a clas­sic from Pied­mont, that uses way more egg yolks than other pasta recipe calls for. It is made fresh and served with smoked guan­ciale (cured pork jowl), pecorino cheese and toasted chopped hazel­nut. The pasta is eggy, and is sim­i­lar to the Saba­han dish mee Tuaran, but that isn’t necessaril­y a bad thing. It has a home­made ef­fect that fills not only your stom­ach, but your soul as well.

The best dish of the night goes to the Poached Se­abass (RM65) with king spinach, fer­mented mus­tard green, charred zuc­chini, car­rot puree, with fish bone sauce.

Ev­ery­thing on the plate gels well to­gether and is strate­gi­cally there for a rea­son. What is the rea­son, you may ask? To make us happy, of course.

No meal is com­plete without dessert and we sure hit the jackpot with the beau­ti­fully crafted Da­mak Choco­late Ice Cream (RM34). The choco­late is sourced from a small-scale sin­gle ori­gin choco­late pro­ducer from Da­mak, Pa­hang, and the ice cream is made right here in Good­dam. To add to the per­fec­tion are Grappa, keluak pow­der and braised pear.

Good­dam also has a de­cent se­lec­tion of wines, mostly Ital­ian and mostly by the bot­tle. There is also a 10-course tast­ing menu (you’re en­cour­aged to make reser­va­tions at least one day ahead), at RM238 per per­son (RM348 with wine).

If you are con­vinced that your next din­ner should be at Good­dam, go with an open mind. The dishes here are the re­sult of the in­ter­pre­ta­tions by Yap, Lie and gang, with a few misses but definitely many hits.

Good­dam

Lot B-G-07,

The HUB SS2,

Jalan Hara­pan,

Seksyen 19,

46300 Pe­tal­ing Jaya Web­site: www.good­dam.com (for reser­va­tions)

Open Wed to Mon: 6.30pm to 10pm (last or­ders at 9.15pm)

pho­tos: GLENN Guan/the Star

the cool and re­fresh­ing salame of the day (left) and sour­dough bread with cul­tured but­ter with a driz­zle of gula melaka and sea salt.

yap (right) and Lie hope to serve re­fined Ital­ian dishes with a twist at Good­dam.

If you have a grand­mother from pied­mont, Italy, this is how she would lov­ingly pre­pare pasta for you.

the ribs are tender and suc­cu­lent, though we wish it’s a lit­tle “wet­ter” with more glaze.

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