KUALA LUMPUR: Here’s some food for thought: what happens when you throw the word ‘halal’ in Italian food?
Well, take the rum out of the tiramisu, pancetta out from the carbonara and white wine out from the linguine and clams pasta, of course.
But the question is, will such classic Italian dishes still be deemed worthy? After all, wine, pork and cheese are practically the heartbeats of Italian cuisine.
Before you cry sacrilege, German Muslim Muhammad Imran Abdullah, the owner of halal Italian restaurant Positano Risto, explained to FMT why he chose to open an Italian restaurant completely free of pork, wine and non-halal cheese with co-owner and partner Muhammad Ishak Ahmad.
“As a Muslim who has spent many years travelling around the world, I always struggle to find a place to eat where I can get pastas, pizzas, steaks and burgers under one roof with no alcohol served at the establishment,” said Imran.
However, after speaking to his Muslim friends, Imran discovered that he was not alone. And so, together with his brother-in-law, they opened Positano Risto’s first restaurant in Singapore.
“Everyone laughed at us. There are a total of 460 Italian restaurants in Singapore and people told us that we were setting ourselves up for failure by not serving alcohol and not cooking our dishes with wine,” he confessed.
Unperturbed, the duo launched Positano Risto on Bussorah Street in November 2017 and quickly became the talk of the town.
Named after a beautiful little beach town on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Positano Risto became Singapore’s number one restaurant on Tripadvisor in a matter of four months, and offered Muslim diners the option of taking a trip to Italy without having to leave the country.
So, what’s to eat?
Start off your delicious travels in Positano with a colourful antipasto such as the Bruschetta Pomodoro, which is a classic Italian dish consisting of toasted baguettes topped with juicy ripe tomatoes, garlic and basil.
In the mood for something crunchy and cheesy? Positano Risto’s Arancini Balls are the perfect treat, especially for kids.
A quick bite into these crispy golden brown spheres reveals a combination of Italian rice and stringy melted mozzarella — a sinful starter indeed.
But, of course, what is a trip to Italy without slurping down bowls of pasta, like Positano’s Fettucine Carbonara, for example?
The talented chefs at Positano have effortlessly mimicked the classic Italian carbonara by incorporating all the usual ingredients such as parmesan crumbles and sous vide egg, but the usual pancetta has been replaced with crispy beef bacon.
Creamy and luscious, this carb-filled dish will definitely need the help of two hungry diners thanks to Positano’s magnificent portions.
In the mood for something a little light and flavourful? Positano’s Squid Ink Seafood Spaghetti should be right up your alley.
It comes as no surprise why this dish is a crowd favourite; it’s spaghetti tossed in Positano’s homemade squid ink sauce, chili, loads of tiger prawns, clams and squids, after all.
If you’re in the mood for a spicier kick, fret not — the chefs at Positano are more than willing to take it up a notch if you so prefer!
The next dish might delight avid fans of pizzas, as Positano’s Supreme Calzone will surely elevate regular pizza meals into an exciting and satisfying adventure.
This octagon-shaped folded pizza comes with eight-pointed pockets stuffed with mushrooms, cheese and turkey ham, while the centre is doused with tomato sauce, mozzarella and generous servings of beef pepperoni, burrata and parmesan.
Rest assured that this dish is not only stuffed, but will also leave you feeling stuffed!
Though your meal may come to an end at some point or another, everyone needs a sweet treat to end a feast and Positano is known far and wide for their desserts.
If you dare, give the Positano Signature Oreo Chocolate Lava Stack a try; this dessert comprises warm molten dark chocolate lava cake on a bed of homemade oreo mud pie ice cream.
If that doesn’t sound sinful enough, the crazy concoction is further topped with a generous drizzle of chocolate and caramel sauce.
The well-thought-out interplay of flowing warm chocolate and cold oreo mud pie ice cream will send tingles to your taste buds and hit all the pleasure receptors.
But if chocolate is not your thing, a must-try dessert would be Positano’s Crème Brûlée.
This dessert may look rather insignificant next to the magnificent-looking Oreo Chocolate Lava Stack but it definitely threw the winning punch.
A quick tap into the brittle top of the crisp and caramelised sugar reveals a smooth, deliciously rich vanilla custard which will definitely put a smile on your face.
The last beverage to be brought out caused an eruption of ‘oohs and ‘aahs’, and it’s not surprising as Positano’s decadent Godfather milkshake is made with Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, a combination that will please just about anyone, even Al Pacino himself!
As a special treat for the holy month of Ramadan, Positano is inviting diners to break fast with their three-course set for only RM79.95.
The set comes with an appetiser (Vichyssoise or Bruschetta Pomodoro), mains (Wild Mushroom Fettuccine, Rigatoni Amatriciana, Lasagna or the Beef Panino) and a dessert to end (Positano’s Crème Brûlée or Burnt Cheesecake).
So, as the Italians say, “Mangiamo!”, which means “let’s eat!”, be sure to make reservations at Positano Risto this Ramadan for an authentic yet halal taste of Italy!
Block C1, Lot 2
Level G3, Publika Shopping Gallery
No 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Operational hours: Daily, 10am-10pm