Eating at Italiannies

Earlier in the day, we passed by Castell and because of that, it came to our minds to try that since today was a special day. The funny thing was, for the past 15 years whenever I go to work or we go to PJ through this route, Castell was always there but it never crossed our minds to just go in an have a try. What was weird is that it was just recently I realised that it was a restaurant and not just for the lunchtime crowd or a pub/bar.

So, after searching for more information, the pictures from a few blogs were very convincing and we both decided that its high time that we try it. And so, after getting the kids ready again for another trip, we headed for Italiannies because they have this offer that for every adult meal, a kid can have one for free.... the time we reached The Gardens, we found out that the offer was not available today.

So, its obviously too late to have a nice dinner at Castell now, so we decided to go ahead anyway. One thing I noticed was that the place was literally very dark which made photography difficult. There is a section where there were a lot of lights but the Head Waiter did not have a table for us there. Maybe it was a smoking section or maybe it was full. Nevertheless, since it was our first time, we are not going to be bothered. But we did have to wait for quite sometime after going through the menu because we realised that no one is coming over to take our orders. What was even weirder though, was that after we managed to flag down a waiter, he looked stumped and called another waiter to take our orders. Maybe its near dinner time and everyone was hungry...

Anyway, minutes later, one of the waiters came with two bottles and some bread. One, I think was an olive oil mixture and the other is vinegar or something. The bread was soft and nice and once you dip them into the mixture, it was nice but as soon as it touched my mouth, I began to long for La Bodega's version which was toasted french loaf accompanied by a sizzling hot plate full of olive oil and flavoured with slices of garlic.

And then Permanis struck again and so, like Chilis, we opted for bottomless drinks
which comes in well, normal glasses unlike Chilis. It was still OK, until the subsequent
refill of my Iced Lemon Tea which they poured from a jug taken from a dark corner.
It was very diluted which I suspect, was left for a long time where the ice melted into the
drink. And so, after watching the waited serve a few more tables with the same jug, I asked
for it again. And Boy, I was wrong. Since I did not see the waiter stir the jug, when he poured
the almost empty jug into my glass, it still taste diluted. That means, the Iced Lemon Tea from
the jug has a problem. This, is starting to spoil my mood.

Luckily, our first order came. It is the Quattro Platter. Its a combination of deep-fried risotto balls, lemon cheese balls, calamari and zuchini strings. Also, there were two types of sauce; marinara and the red one was called alfredo dressing which immediately, my Wife compared it to Chili's much better salsa.

The kids really liked the calamari and the cheese balls. But after a few bites, they preferred the calamaris instead.

Kristine on the other hand, was really enjoying her meal. That was, until she noticed the big table in front of us, there was a girl who could be her classmate. I did not take much notice until from the corner of my eye, that very same girl kept looking at Kristine too. Later, Kristine confirmed that it was her classmate but was too shy to go over and greet her. I was shy too since the family looked pretty loaded with those LV bags and two newly purchased iPads on a chair.

These cheese balls are really cheese balls. Crunchy on the outside and yet, once you bite into them, its all soft cheese. However, I am not sure what was the black stuff but its very, very, nice. Still, being a DBKL agent, I cannot eat too much since I am really allergic to cheese and all.

For me, I personally liked the zuchini strings best of all even though they tasted more like deep fried oily onions. So, I put them on top of the olive oil soaked bread and topped with the marinara sauce, it was wonderful.

By now, with the bread and the first I am practically full. What I am worried now, were the two remaining dishes; the Clam Linguine (with Angel hair instead of the Linguine) and the Smoked Salmon Pizza. If you're not sure what I am talking about, let me share with you some observations; the dishes here at Italiannies are HUGE.

While waiting for the other two dishes to arrive, we were interrupted a few times by waiters politely asking, "Did you order this, or that" while showing us the dish. This is weird at first but it was quickly turning into an annoyance. But I am still not letting it get to me since at the area where we were sitting, most the tables have been joined into bigger ones. But I was really starting to get irritated once they brought the Linguine to our table. The instruction from waiter who wrote down on his paper that the pasta was to be replace the Linguine with Angel Hair pasta was not heard at all. And so, we had to return the dish and wait some more.

In the meantime, the kids are really enjoying their drinks and starting to understand the word, bottomless. By this time, because the intervals between each menu items were long, our stomachs are assuming we have finished eating and so, yeah, we are starting to feel very full.

Luckily, the correct "Linguine" arrived and so, we started to get the Kids to eat again. Kaelynn can't wait to eat hers because, well, it looked delicious. Reading from the menu, its described as; "Fresh clams sautéed in clam broth, garlic and olive oil. Served over linguine and sprinkled with chili flakes."

And the same can be said for Kristine. I mean, this is practically one of her favourites. Or will be. I can tell it was delicious because it was minutes after they were more than halfway through, did they notice it was hot.

Now, this is the worrying part. All four of us had our fill and there is still a lot left. And the kids do not really dig the clams which I kept bluffing them it was a bigger sized 'la-la'.

What I really liked about this is that it had some garlic and even the swesfweh do not have that sea smell. But I was secretly hoping it smelled more of garlic, like ones served in Pizza Hut. Still, this is much much better and not too oily. Yeah, I was spoilt by Pizza Hut on this one.

By this time, we're really full and with much prodding for Wife, I summoned enough courage to ask the waiter if our Smoked Salmon Pizza is still on the way. Because if it is not, we would like to cancel it. Its not about the price but eating the delicious Pizza (very different from Pizza Hut, almost the same as the original Pizza I had when I was in Scotland) while on an extremely stuffed stomach would not go down well.

Later on, my worries about cheese allergies were unfounded as there were no signs of itchiness or irritated skin. Phew! But this does not mean in the future I would be immune as there will be one day they get the cheese which is THE one...

All in all, apart from the service, this is quite a nice place and the pricing is more or less on par with American Chili's with the only difference on that day, kids did not get to eat for free. Then again, I shudder to think if they did because of the huge amount of food. Personally, just ordering one dish is enough for a couple. You should see the size of they dish they used for the Abbondanza (4-6 persons)....

[Update or the Morning after]
I re-visited their website again, and discovered that there were other options such as, there WERE Kids meals and also, a very nice 2 Course meal option. This made the feeling somewhat bitter as the waiters on that night did not suggest it after saying there were no Kid's Meal. So, now its very hard for me to justify going back there again since it gave me the impression that the waiters there were very unorganized and not very 'helpful' when it comes to the menu. And and then the issue with the Iced Lemon Tea...

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