When Italian and Spanish-Mediterranean fusion restaurant, Sapore invited a writer from HappyGoKL to taste some of their dishes, I raised my hand high and fast. I am a big fan of Italian and Spanish cuisine, but have found few options in Kuala Lumpur that offer consistently fresh ingredients, interesting flavor combinations and a variety of imports from these countries.
Sapore (which means “taste” or “flavor”) is a small independent restaurant that opened its doors this January. During the week it offers lunch, tapas, dinner, wine and cocktails. On weekends, brunch is also available. Although the restaurant is “the new kid” on a quiet Ampang block, the partners/chefs are far from newbies. Both Italian born, they have a track record for flavor and creativity. Chef Fabio can boast of working at five-star hotels, One star Michelin restaurants, and being the Assistant Chef at Marini’s on 57.
I visited the restaurant on a Saturday morning and sampled several breakfast and lunch menu items. For the family-friendly test, I brought along my 9-year-old daughter. We arrived early (10:30am) and had the waiters all to ourselves in the cozy restaurant with an impressive bar and wine collection in the back.
Our breakfast experience was kicked off with a cappuccino for me, and a hot chocolate for my daughter. The drinks scored 10 out of 10 in both presentation and taste. My daughter, who has a fine-tuned palette for the nuances of hot chocolate, was pleased that it came with a small pitcher of liquid sugar that smelled like marshmallows. I was equally pleased with my cappuccino. They use Arabica 80% from Italy so each sip was satisfyingly decadent.
The first dish I tried was the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (RM28). Generous cuts of smoked salmon and perfectly cooked poached eggs were served on chewy, fresh wheat bread. A delightful lemon butter sauce complimented the flavors without overpowering them. The eggs were was accompanied by roasted potatoes and a fresh tomato and greens salad.
Just as we were dipping our last potatoes in the lemon butter sauce, Solferino Breakfast (RM45), a bread board with Spanish salsicion, cotto and Parma hams, Manchego cheese and pickled vegetables was slid onto the table. My daughter, who enjoys savoury meats and cheeses, immediately dove into the prosciutto and cheese. As I find Kuala Lumpur lacking quality cold cuts, I was delighted to try their imports. And indeed they tasted as good as they looked.
The Rigatoni Rosticciana (RM38), the chef’s signature dish, lives up to its status. The pasta is served with stewed Iberico pork ribs in tomato sauce. The meat was so tender it fell off the bone. The tomatoe sauce brought out the flavor of the meat instead of hiding it. My daughter who claims to be a pasta authority said it was delicious and couldn’t stop eating. For her it was a creative take on a Bolognese sauce. For me it felt like two meals in one with the ample portion of pork that was included with the tube pasta.
The next dish we tried was the Desayuna Breakfast (RM24), which captured the authenticity of Spain by pairing chorizo with two poached eggs and cheese sauce. The spicy meat added a nice punch to the egg breakfast, and the cheese sauce added richness. Toasted baguette slices allowed us to extend the culinary experience – we dipped them in the egg yolks.
And just when I thought I my gastronomic journey was over, we were served the Aurora Breakfast (RM32). Created with a German slant, it offers marinated, smoked, black peppered herring with two poached eggs and fresh green salad. After so much meat, the herring was a nice change, and a possible alternative for those who are are not keen on meat.
We could have ended the meal on that high note. But we were spoiled with their Panna Cotta (RM12) and Tiramisu (RM20) desserts . The chef nailed it, again with both the presentation and the taste. The Kahlua cream filling had the same rich coffee flavor as my morning cappuccino. The Panna Cotta was also mouth-watering. The fruit on the side was a colorful and a welcome compliment to the vanilla bean flavor.
Even though I was there for breakfast, the chef twisted my arm to try their famous Spanish Gin and Tonic with fresh rosemary and mint. It was absolutely scrumptious!
Double thumbs up. I would come back here in a heart beat. What really struck me was the combination of flavors that stemmed from fresh ingredients, interesting sauces and well sourced cold cuts and meats from Spain and Italy. They apparently even bring in fresh vegetables from Genting Highlands every morning. Even though I tasted many of the breakfasts they offer, each dish was completely unique. The portions were also perfect.
While there was no children’s menu, there was enough variety that my daughter found many options to choose from, and that she liked.
I hope to come again at a different time of day. Sundays they serve paella every lunch and dinner. At lunch and evening weekdays one can look forward to tapas and wine pairings, suckling pig and other robust dishes. I feel I might never tire of this place.
Some tips: The place is small, so it’s probably not ideal for young children who get bored easily. Also, parking looked tight, so leave time or take an uber/grab car.
Gracias and Ciao Bella, Sapore!
Monday – Friday 2:00pm – 11:30pm.
Weekends: 10am – 11:30pm
18, persiaran ampang, desa pahlawan,
Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
*We were invited by the restaurant to write this review. The opinions are our own, and always honest.