Troika Sky Dining – Italian
Words: Patricia Podorsek Photos: Monica Tindall
Of course, everyone has their opinions about which cuisine is the best. When it comes, however, to identifying the cuisine that brings together the freshest of ingredients and prepares them simply to showcase the wonder of the natural flavours, my vote almost always leans to the Italians. And while we are fortunate to live in a city with many wonderful Italian restaurants featuring homemade pasta and healthy arugula salads, only Strato at Troika Sky Dining has the view to match the menu.
Troika Sky Dining – Italian Menu
As we deliberate how to narrow the many tempting options for lunch, homemade focaccia arrives with olive oil, always the welcoming committee for newly seated guests. Strato features a daily set lunch menu that changes monthly, a good value at RM45++ per person. Add a third course and a drink of the day and the price bumps up to RM65++; still a bargain. In the end, we decide to try some items from the set lunch and others off the a la carte menu, because, really, you can’t go wrong with any choice here. And for those looking for vegetarian selections, there are plenty. It’s also worth noting that the entire menu is pork-free.
Decisions made, we enjoy a glass of rose while we take in the view from floor-to-ceiling windows. We ponder the number of cranes across the city centre (do we really need any more skyscrapers?) while also admiring the colour and bright citrus of the 2018 Cassiopea by Poggio al Tesoro (RM36). Strato offers several wines by the glass. We also sample a bold and buttery 2015 Pecorino (RM42), which will make an excellent complement to the many flavours that await.
This month’s set lunch at Strato in Troika Sky Dining offers a choice of starters. In the first, beautiful pink baby prawns are sauteed with tender squid and potatoes in a herby white wine sauce. The bath is super garlicky, underwritten by hints of lemon and chives.
The second option is more rustic, cannellini bean stew topped with a fried egg. Again, I heed the lemon around the base and feel the snap retained by the veggies. It’s a nice contrast to the creaminess of the beans.
Most rustic of all is the third option, the ricotta and beef polpettone, a sizeable meatball whose texture resembles true mince rather than ground beef. The sauce is equally rustic, chunky tomato heavy on the garlic and basil. Everything about this dish has the appearance of homemade; nothing overprocessed or mechanized in any way. As with seemingly everything at Strato Troika Sky Dining, real hands are at work.
Tapping into one of the daily specials at Strato Troika Sky Dining, we try the insalata caprese (RM25). Gorgeous green and red heirloom cherry tomatoes and creamy buffalo mozzarella are lightly dressed and tossed with fresh herbs. Little pops of tartness explode with the balsamic balls that are mixed in. Healthy and yum.
Next, we divert and dive into a little antipasto off the main menu. The burrata mozzarella (RM50) arrives on a bed of balsamic strawberries, semi-dried tomatoes, baby coriander, and deep-fried basil leaves. The raspberry vinaigrette showcases the balance of sweet and savoury that we find in many of the dishes today. The chef has definitely been playing around with fruit in his recipes.
Wine by the Glass at Troika Sky Dining
Time for more wine! Also available by the glass, we try the 2016 Dogajolo from Tuscany (RM41) and find dry tannins and deep notes of liquorice. The 2017 Dolcetto (RM40) is similarly dry, but fruitier with hints of black currant and dark berries.
Weaving our way back to the set lunch selection, guests again have a choice of mains. The pollo alla Milanese is crispy deep-fried chicken enhanced by minced parsley and a squeeze of lemon. More interesting is the fregola salad that accompanies; little pasta balls tossed with baby spinach, flat-leaf parsley and sections of grapefruit. Do you see what I mean about how the chef is layering flavours with fruit?
A second option off the set lunch menu at Strato Troika Sky Dining is the tiger prawn linguine, a colourful display of red sauteed prawns and wilted rucola. It is beautifully presented, but the real magic here lies in the saffron butter sauce, so rich I feel like I’m bathing in butter! All of the pasta at Strato is made in-house, from the linguine to the tortellini.
And speaking of tortellini, we are well-advised to sample an item off the Chef’s Special list, all of which feature – and we’re back to the fruit again – figs! The ricotta fig tortellini (RM65) is nothing short of stunning. Soft packages of ricotta and fig are dressed with a brown butter sauce laced with fresh mint. Slices of fig add ruby jewels to the crown.
Continuing with the landscape of fabulous sauces at Strato Troika Sky Dining, the ricotta gnocchi (RM40), drapes the cheesy pillows in gorgonzola truffle cream and brown butter. Think about that for a second: cheese, cream, AND butter. You get the idea of how rich this sauce is. Toss in a little truffle to the mix, and you’re about ready to open a bank! Added to the vault are pickled raisins, wilted radicchio, and some shavings of salted ricotta.
Having grown up with many Italian families in my neighbourhood, I tend to favour more homestyle meals like eggplant parmigiana, and Strato’s is about as authentic as it gets. Two layers of crispy fried eggplant are smeared with pesto, toasted pine nuts, shavings of fresh pecorino and then more pesto on top. With buffalo mozzarella layered in, we get an extra creamy texture. This may well be the best eggplant parm in the city.
Pizza at Troika Sky Dining
Thank goodness I remembered to pack a second stomach in my bag before I left the house! It would be a crime not to try one of Strato’s pizzas, a pillar upon which the restaurant is built. We opt for one with wild mushrooms, taleggio cheese, and fresh thyme (RM45). The crust is fantastic, thin on the bottom with a proper rim around the edges and the characteristic “leopard skin” on the bottom that indicates the right combination of aeration and heat. Button, portobello, and trumpet mushrooms blanket the top, threaded through with fresh herbs. Awesome.
Dessert is its own reason to come to Strato in Troika Sky Dining. Subtle Earl Grey notes in the panna cotta (RM25) are underscored by banana cream, chocolate crumble, and sweet caramelized banana in a deconstructed version of what makes me think of eating my mom’s banana cream pie with a cup of warm tea. That’s the great thing about great meals – they trigger memories of other great meals!
But the dessert that makes me want to get down on my knees and kiss the feet of the pastry chef is the hazelnut tiramisu (RM30). You should know that tiramisu often tops my list of favourite sweets, but the profound presence of hazelnut layered into the mascarpone and the dacquoise send it soaring off the charts entirely.
Stato, Troika Sky Dining Review
It’s hard to look up after I practically lick the plate, but there is that view again. Floor to ceiling windows, plus strategic balconies and alcoves, mean that the cityscape is literally laid at our feet. Strato has the view of cuisine that will satisfy the palate and the view of the city that will satisfy the thrill.
Reasons to visit Strato in Troika Sky Dining: The Ricotta Fig Tortellini, maybe the best Eggplant Parmagiana around, fabulous pizzas, and Hazelnut Tiramisu to die for. Oh, and mustn’t forget the views of the city centre.
Strato at Troika Sky Dining
Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2162 0886
Strato at Troika Sky Dining Opening Hours:
Lunch 12.00 to 15.00
Dinner 18:00 to 23:00
Two seatings for dinner: 1st seating – 18:00 to 20:30 / 2nd seating – 20:30 to 22:30