Italiannies

Special thanks to Italiannies for extending this food review invitation.

Besides Gurney Paragon, Italiannies recently made its second Penang presence in Queensbay Mall. This Italiannies outlet is located next to Fridays, its sister restaurant under the same parent company.
As the name implies in an obvious manner, Italiannies specializes in Italian cuisine with dishes such as pizza, pasta and seafood. Like Fridays, Italiannies presents a casual-dining atmosphere which appeals to families, working people and the drinking crowd. Although the menu in each Italiannies resolves around similar dishes, each outlet is tailored towards specific clientele.
As soon as customers place their orders, they are kept treated to a complimentary platter of Italian bread: focaccia and pane toscano. Accompanying the bread is herb oil which is primarily made from olive oil and sunflower oil. Balsamic vinegar is also added for the sharp acidic appeal.
For appetizer, the Calamari Caesar (RM39.55) is one way to start the feast. The highlight is cast upon deep-fried squid, which is coated with crispy batter that does not feel greasy in any way. Complementing the squid are romaine lettuce, roasted button mushrooms, artichoke hearts, black olives, capsicum, croutons and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. This humongous salad can easily feed 3 or 4 persons!
My favorite dish so far is the Salmon Oreganato (RM58.20), which turns out to be the bestselling dish in this outlet. The presentation is unique to this branch. A piece of pan-seared salmon is topped with oregano butter, then laid on mashed potato flavored by chopped rosemary. Juicy and succulent, the salmon scores extra points in the flavor department.
Presented alongside the salmon fillet are sautéed vegetables such spinach, bell peppers, zucchini, squash and onion. Also included are deep-fried spinach, baked cherry tomato and garlic.
Assimilating Japanese sushi ingredients with Italian pizza culminate in Mentaiko Chicken Pizza (RM46.65). The pizza dough has unique texture - sufficiently firm but also has pleasant flaky mouthfeel. The paste, made from fresh capsicum purée, is layered with chicken slices, onion and bell pepper.
The orange-colored sauce, mentaiko (明太子), is prepared from cod roe and mayonnaise. Meanwhile, bonito flakes (鰹節) is made from smoked skipjack tuna and appears to dance in the wind due to transient air current surrounding the hot pizza. A squeeze of lime provides citrus sourness that adds to the pizza's appeal.

As for desserts, Crème Brulee (RM20.85) is the choice this evening. Prepared in a cast iron skillet, the custard is prepared using milk, egg and vanilla essence. The result is creamy consistency which delights my palate. The top surface is covered by caramelized sugar, made by torching icing sugar until it forms translucent, brittle layer. This dessert is enjoyable and well-recommended.
Unlike most Italiannies outlets, this Queensbay Mall restaurant serves barista coffee. The glass of Caffé Latte (RM8.75) and Cappuccino (RM8.75) are of reasonable quality, but I personally prefer bolder coffee taste. Anyway, I suspect that coffee is just meant to supplement Italiannies' food menu and is not the main focus of the restaurant anyway.
Name: Italiannies
Address: GF-129, Queensbay Mall, 100, Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04 -611-9211
Business hours: 11:00am-11:00pm
Website: http://www.italiannies.com.my
Coordinates: 5.33449 N, 100.30670 E
Directions: Italiannies is located on the Ground Floor of Queensbay Mall, next to Fridays near the north entrance. Queensbay Mall has a multilevel parking garage and several outdoor parking spaces.

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