This new restaurant owned by Venetian, Roberto Dreon, at Campbell House in Georgetown's Old Quarter oozes cool comfort & charm. Beige and browns dominate the beautiful interior of this restaurant, with tastefully-restored sepia-toned portraits of the owner's hometown and its inhabitants hung around the walls.
The food was perhaps the most authentic Italian I'd ever tasted in Penang. One piece of advice: don't miss the foccacia, served in a Chinese dim sum bamboo basket - it's the moistest, best bread you'd have had in a long while. The olive oil and balsamico dip on the side seemed almost superfluous.
Some of the dishes we had:
- Vongole Al Pepe - soft plump clams in a deep, flavorsome broth;
- Rucola Salad with Grilled Vegetables - served drizzled with olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Ultra-fresh peppery-bitterish arugula leaves. Delish.
- Baked Parmigiano with arugula salad - served at the right temperature and was, to me, the perfect start to my lunch here. The salad hit all the right notes.
- Homemade Fettuccine Al Pomodoro, complemented with slices of grilled chicken breast strips. The pasta's texture was pitch-perfect, and the flavors can seduce the fussiest palate;
- Stuffed Chicken with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Basil with oven-roasted potatoes. The chicken was tasty, and the sauce had the right, thick, mushy consistency, but the potatoes were slightly burnt :-(
- Pizza With Rucola, Cherry Tomatoes, Egg & Parmigiano. This was a thin-crusted pizza - I loved the simple, authentic flavors, without the American-style razzamatazz which you'd get in other pseudo-American-Italian restaurants in Penang. This Venetian place here is the real deal.
- Deep-fried gnocchi fritter with chocolate sauce & vanilla ice-cream - unfortunately, this sweet did nothing for me.
- Zablaglione with stewed fruits - this one fared better, but not something I'd return for.
All in all, a good meal. If I ever hanker for Italian when I'm in Georgetown, this place would be up there - together with Amelie Cafe over at Armenian Street which has better pasta dishes http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/806406
Il Bacaro Venetian Restaurant
106 Campbell Street
Tel: +604 261 8290