Fancy a dishy Italian for dinner?

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We feature another success story in Rudy Stecca’s trilogy, Ciccio at Changkat Bukit Bintang. His charming presence pervades this Ristorante/Bar/Pizzeria which is casual and homely in its approach. A lovely, chill-out destination on a tired night after work or simply when you do not feel like cooking, Ciccio is unpretentious and friendly with affordable, good food.

Well-known for its wood-fired pizzas, this restaurant started as a bar when World Cup fever hit in ’02 but became so popular after the season that customers continued coming and requesting the home-style Italian cooking that Rudy is famous for. According to one of the regulars, Ciccio is the best-loved neighbourhood restaurant in the vicinity.

Much has been said about Italian cuisine and many restaurants claiming authenticity have been swept into the wave of this contemporary consciousness. Yet, the appeal of Italian cuisine, while having the capacity to be extremely elaborate, must surely lie in its simplicity. Flavours are basic – clean, clear and natural and the blend of these becomes the quintessence of Italian cooking. Rudy holds on to this concept in all his restaurants and takes pride in serving authentic Italian food that is close to the home and heart.

Ciccio, named after an Italian funny man, Ciccio Pasticho, sets the tone of this establishment. A good laugh, a good time and the enjoyment of great food! The ambience is rustic with stone floors, wood-fired oven, colourful murals and the typical lion stoneheads from Rudy’s home town. Another interesting feature is the ornately-painted plates that adorn the walls, copies of plates used in restaurants around Italy that belong to an association called “Plate of Good Memory”- Platto Del Buon Ricordo. I found these very quaint.

We began with a mixed platter of signature Bruschette; grilled eggplant, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, salmon, sun-dried tomatoes and mascarpone, and mushroom with Brie. These appetisers were a lovely mouthful. Pizza Rustica of smoked duck breast and ruccola is fired till crisp on the edges with a bready, cheesy middle, very scrumptious indeed and a substantial meal on its own if not sharing. The crunchy leaves punctuate with a tinge of bitter sharpness and partners well with the smoked duck.

Linguine Con Gamberi has all my favourite ingredients: prawns, anchovies, olives, broccoli and garlic. Tossed with lots of olive oil and fresh tomato sauce, it is a riot of colours and flavours.

Braised Lamb Shank is done in a typically Italian style with red wine sauce. This is a robust portion of succulent meat that falls off the bone, served with creamy mashed potatoes. Panfried cod fish fillet is creamy in taste and wonderful with grilled asparagus and roast potatoes. The finale of our lovely evening was a creation of coffee and dark chocolate cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream accented with Italian pink peppercorns; an exciting tapestry of textures and tastes. As with all other times, Rudy, our dishy Italian did not fail to impress.

Source: The Expat Magazine

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