Benvenuto to the relaunch of restaurant Graze at the Hilton KL! Newly appointed Italian Chef de Cuisine Mr. Nicolla Affatati is showing his true Sicilian colours by cooking up a storm of authentic and mouthwatering classics.
We enjoyed an evening at Graze, with the chef combining fresh and seasonal produce with ingredients and specialty products directly brought in from Italy.
As we approach the restaurant tonight, the ambiance is festive and the mood cheerful. Friendly staff eagerly welcome us with appetising glasses of Campari and white wine. Beautifully presented and plated canapes are offered at the same time and we haven’t even reached our seats yet. For once I wish I had three arms!
Cooking on the spot
The flurry of excitement is palpable, both in the kitchen as well as among the guests. Chef Nicolla gives us a taste of what is to come. In a separate room he invites us to come and watch him handroll freshly made cavatelli pasta, a small, shell-shaped eggless pasta typically made with semolina flour and water.
As he cuts the dough and rolls the pasta, he narrates how he and his nonna (grandmother) used to prepare dishes for the family together and that cavatelli pasta was the set dish served on Sundays. As an ode to his nonna and his roots, tonight’s menu will include cavatelli frutti di mare.
In another room, there is a demonstration of how a traditional negroni cocktail is made. Unfortunately, my Campari is not finished yet, but others get a taste of the drink which consists of equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, Campari and a slice of orange.
Adding to the high spirits of the evening (both mood wise as well as alcohol wise), Italian Ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Mr. Massimo Rustico joins us for the relaunch of Graze.
Simply delicious food
The menu for tonight looks amazing, yet does not reek of unnecessary frills. The antipasti consist of a fresh plump burrata cheese on a bed of greens and beef bresaola. Mind you, the burrata came straight from Italy on the chef’s orders. The beef and lamb meatballs (polpette) served in a tomato basil sauce with a piece of focaccia bread burst with flavour, without being overpowering in any sense. The meat balls were definitely the highlight of the starters for me.
The first main dish is the cavatelli pasta, served in seafood broth filled with different shellfish such as clams, scallops and shrimps. The cavatelli was nicely al dente and had you certainly wanting for more. The broth was light and not overly fishy in taste.
Then came a piece of codfish resting on a bed of potato cream with bell pepper strips and a finishing of oregano-capers oil. It tasted heavenly and our plates were squeaky clean when the staff picked them up.
Just as I thought it could not get any better, Chef Nicolla served up a most scrumptious crunchy handmade cannolo filled with cream which was eaten with great gusto. I can vouch for the whole table if I said that we were slightly disappointed there weren’t more cannoli in the serving. We should have had at least one more to go. Chef had read our minds though: perhaps not cannoli-to-go, but he prepared a freshly-made pesto for us to enjoy at home!
A great evening with marvellous service
Looking back at this evening, I would definitely say the team at Graze and Chef Nicolla have done an impeccable job of bringing out the spirit of Italian cuisine and dining: elegant and joyful in its décor and service, with passion and authenticity in its food. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Buon appetito!
More info about Graze
Have a look here at our review for The Banquet of Hoshena at Graze. A unique digital art and food experience for the whole family!
We were invited by Hilton Kuala Lumpur. As always, our opinion is honest and our own.