KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Mention Italian food and what usually comes to mind is a lavish spread of pasta, meat and cheese dishes paired with wines.
Now add the word “halal” to the mix. Are you getting the picture? Most likely, not. This is because you would be hard-passed to find such establishments that keep pork, bacon, and wine out of the menu.
Well, that’s not the case at newly-opened halal Italian restaurant Positano Risto at Publika Shopping Gallery here.
Its German and Singaporean owners Muhammad Imran Abdullah and Muhammad Ishak Ahmad, who are also brothers-in-law, opened their first outlet in Singapore in November 2017 in a quest to offer quality halal Italian food to Muslims.
Within a mere three months, Positano Risto was ranked the top Italian restaurant for halal and authentic pizzas on TripAdvisor Singapore.
After a solid year of success on the Little Red Dot, the owners decided to come to Malaysia and give both Muslim and non-Muslim diners a taste of halal Italian cuisine.
The family-friendly restaurant has a cosy ambience that comfortably accommodates up to 120 people.
Glancing through the menu, Positano Risto -- which is named after Italy’s most romantic vacation spot -- has something for everyone and its fairly extensive spread is sure to please even a finicky enter. Here are some of the dishes sampled:
Bruschetta Alla Funghi
Fans of wild mushrooms and truffles will enjoy this wonderful appetiser; it is extremely difficult to have just one! This starter is a good way to begin your journey.
Char Grilled Calamari with Herbs
Tossed with fresh mint, parsley and sliced chillies and drizzled with garlic oil and lemon, this calamari dish is delicious. The squid was fresh and done just right.
This came highly recommended and if you love cheese and eggplant, then this one’s perfect for you. Considered to be one of the true classics of Italian cuisine, this deliciously satisfying dish pleases all palates.
Positano Honey Glazed Ribs
Fancy tucking into soft and tender ribs bursting with Mediterranean flavours? The restaurant’s honey-glazed slow-cooked roasted beef ribs with crushed baby potatoes and a mixed salad simply screams comfort food.
A must-try for meat lovers, the beef was tender and most enjoyable.
Truffled Mushroom Risotto
Unexpected and pleasing to the palate, the dish was full of aroma, rich and creamy (just the way a good risotto should be). For me, the melt-in-the-mouth ribs paired with the risotto was delightful and irresistible.
Squid Ink Spaghetti
If you are craving something spicy, the spaghetti tossed in homemade squid ink sauce and chillies, topped with tiger prawns, squids and mussels might be the best option.
The dish rates high on aromatic flavours and the generous portion of mussels thrown in made it a mouth-watering treat.
Positano Super Supreme Calzone
If I had to name a favourite, then this is it. Thin, crispy and tasty, the star shaped pizza came with eight handcrafted pockets filled with mushrooms and pastrami to tease your taste buds with every bite.
The pizza was generously topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, turkey ham, beef pepperoni strips, burrata cheese and parmesan.
Positano Signature Ice Cream Brioche/ Vanilla Cannoli
No meal is complete without ending on a sweet note, right? Nothing is more sinful yet rewarding than ice cream between two layers of homemade buttery brioche topped with mixed berries and drizzled with chocolate sauce. For me, it was a perfect finish on a hot sunny day.
Alternatively, if you prefer a lighter dessert, go for the Vanilla Cannoli which is freshly-made pastry shells filled with homemade vanilla bean whipped cream.