Words: Anna Chew Photos: Monica Tindall
Langkawi has a hidden gem of a restaurant and we found it in Terrace, an Italian restaurant tucked away within The Danna resort. It is an absolute must for anyone coming to Langkawi to get a unique taste of Italy beyond pizzas and pasta. It was so good, a lunch repeat was needed the day after.
Larger than life and booming with personality is Chef Federico Zapperi who hails from Padova Italy, with experience in kitchens across Europe and Asia. Padova is a region in northern Italy known for bold flavours and the use of lots of vegetables. Terrace is very much a reflection of this tradition with a good injection of chef Zapperi’s own style.
We met Chef Zapperi energized after just returning from Italy and were blessed with his recent inspiration and a few ingredients he hand-carried from home. Here we present a number of off-menu items alongside some hits from the regular list. Do ask for a repeat from the kitchen team if something catches your eye; they often make dishes of the day utilizing seasonal produce so you might be in luck. The Terrace menu changes each quarter. Do call ahead to make a reservation, as this Italian restaurant is fast making a name for itself in Langkawi.
Terrace, Italian Restaurant Langkawi – Starters and Recommendations
Open for lunch with an extended menu for dinner, Terrace provides a bread basket to welcome guests. Served with extra virgin olive oil with aged Balsamic and a creamy vegetable dip of broccoli, zucchini and pepper, the elegance of taste from simple ingredients were already starting to show.
Amuse bouche was a beef consommé with baby vegetables and ravioli with ricotta and spinach. The broth was strong and bold, with flavours that seemingly extracted themselves from every part of the bovine. No seasoning was necessary for the vegetables playing a supporting but integral role in the dish. The ravioli provided a lovely dumpling-like texture to complement the crunch of the vegetable.
For the antipasti, the Carpaccio Di Manzo (RM60) was a glorious dish, establishing Chef Zapperi’s genius and looking very much like a celebratory garland. Black Angus is sliced atop a bed of organic leaves with lemon emulsion. The rocket salad came in the form of an ice cream yoghurt! Molecular techniques are introduced in the truffle powder, made from an emulsion of truffle oil, which tops the “garland”. The ice cream is bitter-sweet and tangy, with the unmistakable bitter finish of the rocket. When eaten together, you get truffle notes followed by a salty crunch along with the gorgeous texture and savour of the beef.
Another off-menu item was the sea scallops pan-seared with parsnips three ways; chips, risotto and a cream. The parsnip is not common, and more so when executed in the form of a risotto-like dish. The end result is a nutty and creamy base of parsnip risotto, and the sweetness is composed with a slight introduction of smoked paprika. The parsnip cream is blended with sherry vinegar to provide acidity and a sweet balance to the dish.
Terrace Menu Langkawi – Pasta and Mains
For the record, do not skip the pasta dishes here. While we had off-menu dishes, the execution was so good, we knew what to order for lunch the day after. Pasta is made fresh daily by dedicated pasta chefs.
The Cavatelli Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella lifted the whole meal to another level. The sauce is made from beefsteak tomatoes, topped with locally sourced buffalo mozzarella in a gel form, done by combining olive oil with lemon zest. It was finished with a drizzle of celery and basil oil and fresh baby basil. The flavours were rich and comforting and make for a highly appetizing dish.
Next dish was what the chef termed, “fish without a fish.” Instead of a straight out anchovy base for sauce, he combines two key ingredients; Botarga, which is cured fish roe and the Colatura di Alici, an Italian fish sauce made from anchovies. These two ingredients get tossed into a homemade linguini with broccoli and salmon eggs. This dish provides a unique layered palate of refined and flavours and saltiness. Delizioso!
We suspect this dish will appear during a change of menu since Chef intimated that they have imported their own fish from Sardinia to be salted and filtered for their homemade fish sauce. The sauce will be kept for a year to round out the intense flavours further. Do order this when it comes on the menu.
The signature dish, the Filetto di Branzino Mandorle e Zucchine (RM80) showcases the produce of the Andaman sea and the chef’s creativity. The barramundi fillet is crusted with almonds flakes and green zucchini and baked, served over green mashed potatoes with parsley puree, jumbo asparagus from South America and finished with beetroot crackers and a bouillabaisse and saffron foam. Fresh, delicious and well-crafted seafood is perfect for this beautiful establishment by the sea.
Terrace Menu – Dessert
Desserts are prepared by the pastry chef of the hotel who also crafts the desserts we sampled in Straits & Co., so we knew it was going to be good. We had the Il Limone (RM38), with lemon marmalade and yuzu mousse crusted in a white chocolate crust shaped like a lemon and coloured with a natural yellow. It came with little nibbles of citrus candy. Not only was it visually appealing, but it also made for a nice pairing with the homemade digestive of limoncello to end a wonderful meal. The limoncello is complimentary for all guests dining in.
Reasons to visit Terrace Italian Restaurant Langkawi: Unique dishes from a talented Italian chef who knows how to work the produce of the land to bring out the best flavours. Celebratory food presentation, with a personality mirroring that of the chef’s. The food is outstanding and memorable, it is a must-have in Langkawi! The restaurant is a classy and romantic beach-facing restaurant, with an expansive wine list for pairing options. There is nothing like the sound of birds and sea breeze amidst greenery to accompany a good meal! We highly recommend a visit.