Ensconced in the marble-clad spaciousness of The Intermark, Savini serves mainly the business crowd — busy during weekdays, quiet during weekends. Besides the main dining room, there are also three smaller ones for those who prefer to eat without being overheard, a cigar room and an outer lounge with suspended TV screens.
The main dining area itself is spacious, with an elegant, straightforward décor of dark flooring, silvered ceiling tiles and white-draped tables with beige upholstered chairs. Semi-wood wall panelling, mirrored sections and the gleam of cut-glass chandeliers overhead add a touch of glamour.
The restaurant bills itself as being informal and cosy, but this is not the sort of place to wander into in slippers and shorts. The menu provides a wide range of traditional Italian dishes, sans pizza, likely to appeal to the mature, sophisticated diner rather than the family out for an evening meal.
There is a wine list, with happy hours for the evening crowd to unwind after a day’s work.
Service was solicitous, friendly and discreet. The wait staff that evening — formally suited, young and attractive — explained the dishes and made recommendations upon request.
Contrasting coloured pumpkin and charcoal rolls were provided before the Insalata Caesar (RM45) was served, arranged in a long white dish with charcoal-bread croutons and an expertly poached egg. The fresh lettuce, premium ingredients and the appealing creamy homemade dressing elevated the salad, making for a refreshing and light starter.
Thick wild mushroom soup Zuppa Di Funghi Selvatici (RM39) came in a coal-black bread bowl. It was very good, fresh with mushroom pieces, thick and creamy and fragrant with truffle oil, and the bread was intriguing. It was crusty with the density of foam, yet it crumbled easily, and was light enough to snack upon, with a consistency almost like that of a cookie rather than bread.
For the mains, there is a choice of live crabs, lobsters and oysters in the Fish and Seafood selection, besides a couple of fish dishes. The Meat and Poultry section is heavy on selections of Wagyu and Angus beef with poultry and lamb dishes as well.
I had encountered Chef Azizan Shukri’s cooking when he was working for another establishment, and his signature colourful, floral style asserted itself in the Canadian Cod Fish (RM100), with pieces of seared, baked cod, topped with green flying fish roe, in a yellow lemony-butter sauce, on a bed of contrasting coloured vegetables. The cod was superb, light, flaky and creamy, with a selection of well-rendered vegetables of contrasting tastes and textures, but I thought the sauce to be a little heavy for such a delicate fish.
The Spaghetti Frutti Di Mare (RM89) fared well, with black and white spaghetti heaped with clams, prawns and squid rings. A teaspoon of chilli flakes livened up things. The pasta was well done, avoiding mushiness while not taking al dente too literally. The seafood was fresh, and there was little to complain about, being a good sized, well-done serving.
The tempo of service was good, with a short pause before dessert, where the chef flexed his creative muscle. The presentation of the Tiramisu (RM39) was eye-catching — a bright green whorl with splashes of yellow and blue in varied shapes and textures setting the background for the tiramisu, topped with a scoop of balsamic sorbet. The sorbet was unusually sweet, the tiramisu creamy and unusually bland, making for an interesting combination.
The Apple Crumble (RM39) was a similarly colourful interpretation — a small cake topped with black squid-ink gelato with a background fabric of blue-coloured crumble, pearlescent yellow, blue and green, and icing cones. The squid-ink gelato was a salty contrast to the sweet crumble, with everything rendered black by the squid ink.
As with Italian fashion, ranging from gaudy tackiness to the sublime creations of top Milanese fashion houses, Italian cuisine ranges from the rustic, with earthy pizzas and pastas, to the rarefied haute. In that spectrum, the well-appointed décor, presentation and food quality position Savini as the well-dressed Italian.
Savini Ristorante Italiano, Level 2, Lot 2-05, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, KL. 03 2181 7700/2181 4488. Daily, 12noon-3pm; 5pm-11pm.