Accessible, unadorned, carefully rusticated Italian cooking is what we look forward to, and love the best about Prego.
And when it comes to restaurants that serve good Italian food in KL, Prego, which means “welcome” in Italian, ranks high in our books. The quality and care that goes into the preparation of its menu, surfaces in the rustic food. Located in The Westin KL, Prego is charming and warm, and pairs it off with rich colors, flavours and aromas of an authentic Italian family style restaurant.
salt baked seabass
With nice huge floor to ceiling windows that allows its diners to gaze out lazily onto Bukit Bintang road, and Pavilion beyond, Prego is very much an idyllic enclave to dine in. Arranged in a semi-circular fashion around an open kitchen with high ceilings, guests can feast their eyes (and noses) upon the chefs at work as they prepare each and every dish on the menu. I love the way the heavenly aromas of pizza being baked just wafts throughout the air and makes the anticipation for good food, that much stronger.
The lunch and dinner menus run the gamut from heartwarmingly familiar delicacies to more unusual Italian dishes created by Italian Chef Samuele Alvisi. Those who wonder why that names sounds familiar, it is because Chef Alvisi used to helm Il Lido’s kitchen in KL, before leaving to work abroad. Now, the Westin KL brings him back as Chef in charge of their Italian restaurant. Prego is also famous for their champagne brunches on Sunday, called Bubbalicious, but today we are checking out the ala carte menu instead.
Chef Samuele Alvisi puts the finishing touches on our starters
You will do well to commence your meal at Prego with the Piatto di Antipasti, which is a kaleidoscopic palette of starters that comprises of Calamari fritti (crispy fried calamari), Parmigiana (eggplant and mozzarella cake), Cappesante gratinate (gratin of scallop), Caprese (Buffalo Mozzarella, tomato and pesto), and Vegetali all griglia (Grilled vegetables). Depending on the season and mood of the chef, he will concoct for you, a nice mixture of items that could easily be shared between two people.
Calamari fritti – crispy fried calamari; Parmigiana – eggplant and mozzarella cake; Cappesante gratinate – gratin of scallop; Caprese – Buffalo Mozzarella, tomato and pesto; Vegetali all griglia – Grilled vegetable
The great thing about the menu here is that they cater for Gluten Free diners as well. You will notice the labels by the side of the dishes (GF) listed in the menu that helps you with your selection if you have dietary preferences.
A dish that you should not miss out on is the chef’s Pizza Salsiccia. This is a relatively new item on the pizza menu, and it is delicious. Yes that’s right, Prego’s thin crusted pizzas are mega addictive. Think succulent bite sizes of Italian sausage, onion, chives served over a base of tomato and molten mozzarella, and you won’t be far off the mark. The super-crisp thin crust might be the place’s best-kept secret – chewy and doughy in the center, yet thin and crispy on the sides. If that’s not a worthy pizza, we don’t know what is. I could eat an entire pizza by myself – it was that good.
“Incoming!” cries one of the waiters, as the next salvo of impeccably realized pastas and main dishes, comes down on our tabletop like little zeppelins raining from the sky. Prego’s signature pastas are always on our list of must haves.
Seafood Aglio olio
The chef has a flair for rustic, earthy pasta dishes and we find the Seafood Aglio olio irresistible. Rich, slippery spaghetti cooked al-dente, which the kitchen douses with butter before heaping a load of fresh mussels, prawns, calamari, shellfish over it, is just the bee’s knees. The seafood flavors only get denser and more satisfying and complex as you get to the bottom of the bowl.
pasta cooked al dente.. just perfect!
Just as you think you’re about to have a food aneurysm, the pastas are cleared away and they bring forth the mains. The killer 1Kg hunk of a T-bone, Angus steak, cooked a bloody medium rare, does nothing to alleviate this condition, of course, and neither does a salt baked sea bass.
1Kg Angus Tbone steak
The T-bone steak is great for sharing – nicely char grilled on the outside, yet succulent and tender on the inside, this main course that comes paired with roasted potatoes offers a wholesome satisfaction without being too heavy on the palate.
Pairing this luscious steak with the Brunello di Montalcino Castello Banfi 2007 accentuated the sweet flavors that had been seared into the meat. This red wine also reduced the gaminess of the steak with its full bodied, velvety and intense flavors of liquorice and spices.
salt baked Seabass
The pièce de résistance is of course, the salt baked sea bass. Salt-baking the sea bass makes for an impressive presentation and also keeps the fish super moist. The waiters are so skilled with their knives, the entire fish is presented at the table (salt crust and all), then scrapped off its salt, de-skinned and de-boned and served to you, all in under 5 minutes flat.
right before our very eyes, the salt is scraped off the fish, and the skin is flayed off
the fish is expertly de-boned an served
though this dish was served with a butter sauce, we felt that the delicate fish needed no more than just a dash of lemon to enhance its delicious flavour
The texture is amazing and though not a trace of salt remains, the seasoning has already gone into the flesh of the fish. The San Angelo Pino Griogio (Toscana 2011) was a rather floral wine, with a strong bouquet of pear and peach, which in our opinion was not the most ideal pair for the subtle tasting fish. It was slightly too fruity and overpowered the fish. We might have preferred something a little dryer, but it was an acceptable match for this course.
For desserts, the moist coffee-flavoured Tiramisu and the super smooth panna cotta has a comforting effect on the stomach, and are amongst our top picks.
foreground – tiramisu, background – pannacotta
From the excellent service standards where every single staff member takes good care of you, form the door to your seat, to the excellent food and wine, Prego is definitely of a separate caliber. We love this place and it comes highly recommended.
One other bonus is my SPG Card (terms & conditions). This card entitles me to further discounts at outlets such as Prime, Favola, Latest Recipe, Villa Danieli, Celestial Court, Essence, Prego, Splash, The Living Room, Five5enses and Qba Latin Grill & Bar as well as over 300 participating restaurants and bars in Asia Pacific.. not bad at all, if you do the math.
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Phone: (60)(3) 2773 8338
Fax: (+60) (3) 2731-8000
Monday – Saturday 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM; Daily 2:30 PM – 10:30 PM; Sunday Brunch: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM