Posts Tagged ‘Italian Restaurants’

Caffe Fernet – The menu needs some serious tweaking

I first heard about Caffe Fernet from the Business Times. I’m always on the look out for cafes and restaurants with a good location/good view and unblocked views of the Marina Bay and Marina Bay Sands certainly counts for something. Unfortunately Jaime Ee gave the place a scathing review, even if she did generously rate them a 6/10 in the end. I’d always wondered if Caffe Fernet deserved the review they got, but with limited $$$ and no compelling reason to visit given the review, Caffe Fernet was put on my back burner.

Caffe Fernet (12)

But a couple of weeks back, my dear friend ST suddenly suggested visiting Caffe Fernet for our girl’s brunch yesterday, as she had heard good reviews. Wow they must have improved, I assumed, and I agreed to the suggestion! But later I found out, the good reviews were about the views………….*Face Palm*!!! Worse still, I checked out their brunch menu, and found it difficult to pin point exactly what I wanted to order. You know, this predicament often happens when so many things sound good on the menu, and you want to order everything. Unfortunately, it was the other way round. A number of things did sound potentially interesting, but were either vegetarian (I want some meat!) or at the wrong price point.

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Pepenero – Great Italian food in the CBD

I love it when I am able to find restaurants helmed by passionate chefs and Italian restaurant Pepenero was one such gem I discovered. Born in Rome, Chef Daniel Singleton serves up classic Italian dishes with Roman flavours (as opposed to say Tuscan or Neapolitan). As I have never been to Italy, my unrefined palate isn’t able to detect the nuances of Tuscan vs Roman, but for those of you who have the skill or yearn for traditional Roman Italian dishes in Singapore, Pepenero is the place to go. Be sure to tell the wait staff up front that you want the full unadulterated version!

I’ll start off by blogging about the desserts because the desserts served at Pepereno are just so pretty and delicious!

Pepenero - Traditional pannacotta with mix berry $12 (2)

Traditional pannacotta with mix berry $12

It was a choice between the molten chocolate lava cake or the Pannacotta and in the end I ordered the Pannacotta because I wanted something creamy tasting. Pepenero’s version is pretty mild, I wouldn’t mind something sweeter and creamier tasting, but I loved the softness and wobble as the spoon sliced through the dessert.

Pepenero - Semifreddo (Forzen zabaglione souffle served with amaretto sauce) $14 (2)

 Semifreddo (Frozen zabaglione souffle served with amaretto sauce) $14

The Partner had the Semifreddo, which is kind of like an ice cream cake. This ice cream cake packed a punch thanks to the generous dose of alcohol in the amaretto sauce.

Pepenero - Vanilla ice cream

We both loved this homemade vanilla ice cream. We hadn’t ordered this originally, but the chef told us that we simply had to try it, and he was right. One of the creamiest, most vanilla tasting vanilla ice creams I have eaten! He should make tons of this and sell it by the box!

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Zafferano–An Italian Brunch affair!

One of my favourite restaurants Zafferano has recently come up with their new Italian Saturday set brunch and it is a brunch to behold. You might just have to hold your stomach too as you leave the restaurant because the set brunch is chock a block full of food!

There are a total of 4 courses, but it’s not one dish per course. Being generous as Italians are, they have have numerous mini dishes within each course. You could almost think of this brunch as being a 10 course brunch (more in fact), with a buffet dessert just in case there is a shred of doubt that you’re not next to bursting. And the interesting thing about this “The Italian Table” brunch it’s that it’s not an egg-based brunch. I was wondering when the eggs would feature, but I realise that egg-based brunches are more an Aussie/UK/US thing. The dishes in this brunch are what the Italians would normally have for brunch.

Check out the pictures below and read about my favourite dishes from the Zafferano brunch.

~~~ Starters ~~~

Zafferano Brunch - Live seasonal oysters (2)

Live seasonal oysters – Self explanatory

Zafferano Brunch - Marinated fjord trout, avruga caviar, orange

Marinated fjord trout, avruga caviar, orange

While I am not a fan of fish, I do love sashimi, smoked or marinated cuts. Trout was finely sliced and had a delicate flavour. Disappeared in a jiffy.

Zafferano Brunch - Italy burrata

Freshly imported Italian burrata and tomatoes

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Zafferano Restaurant [Restaurant Week Oct 2014]

It’s Restaurant Week again this week, have you made your bookings yet? After skipping the last round, I came back with a vengeance and I’ll be going for a total of 3 Restaurant Week meals this round! Restaurant Week is a really good opportunity to savour set lunches or set dinners in many illustrious restaurants around Singapore, at a relatively affordable price! Thanks to the American Express Platinum Credit Card, I managed to snag all my reservations during the priority booking round.

Today, the BFF and I visited Zafferano at the top of Ocean Financial Centre. I’ve been to Zafferano only once, roughly about 1 year ago for dinner, so it was great to have the opportunity to revisit during the day time to see the restaurant in its full glory.

Zafferano - Complementary Bread

Even though Zafferano is at the top of the Ocean Financial Centre on the 43rd floor, as you can see from the picture above, there is lush greenery all around the restaurant, which kinda makes you feel as if you dining in a garden in the sky.

Zafferano - Carpaccio of wagyu beef, portobello mushroom salad, parmesan cheese and mustard dressing (1)

Carpaccio of wagyu beef, portobello mushroom salad, parmesan cheese and mustard dressing

Chose this for my appetiser. Raw meat is such a turn on for me, if you have never tried steak tartare or carpaccio, I highly recommend that you do. There’s nothing bloody about it and it doesn’t have a raw and uncooked taste. Instead, you will delight in the delicate texture and richness of flavour. Absolutely enjoyed this dish and the interplay of salty and savoury flavours from the other ingredients.

Zafferano - Leek and Potato veloute, rosemary bread croutons (1)

 Leek and Potato veloute, rosemary bread croutons

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Gaia Ristorante at Goodwood Park Hotel

Today’s Straits Times’ article on Gaia by Wong Ah Yoke has reminded me that I really ought to push out my post as well on this hidden gem!  Gaia Ristorante is located at the illustrious Goodwood Park Hotel, and with a location like that, and an interior decor that spells fine dining, you would not be faulted for thinking that the prices are not wallet friendly. But depending on what you order, you could actually dine at Gaia Ristorante and have a good time without having to wash the dishes later!

If you stick to the pasta main courses, they are mostly in the $20+ range. A black cod dish costs $38, while the pork costs $35. If you go for the more expensive meats like lobster, veal, lamb saddle and pigeon, that’s where the prices start to become steep. Desserts cost about $15, once again, quite comparable to some desserts at brand name cafes these days.

For our media tasting, the Partner and I sampled the degustation menu, which comprises 5 courses at $98++/pax.

Gaia Ristorante Canapes

Assorted rice and potato crackers
Caramelised figs with Oscietra Caviar
Watermelon with black squid in and almonds
Parmesan bisquit with balsamic vinegar and Asian spices

One thing I love about dining at such restaurants is that they always try to surprise you with some small canapes to kickstart the meal. You never know what you will be served but usually the items are pretty good and the chef has the flexibility to be creative with the ingredients he has on hand. My favourite here was the figs with caviar, a sweet and salty combination that I’ve never tried before.

Gaia Ristorante -  Variazione cruda di gamberi (1)

Variazione cruda di gamberi – Raw red Sicilian prawn: warm ricotta cheese, oregano and Raw blue Caledonian prawn: peach, salt caramel

At Japanese restaurants, I do not flinch when being served Amaebi, aka raw sweet shrimp. And in fact, I am not one to shy away from raw foods, I love raw meats! I’m not exactly sure why I did a double take, save for the fact that the blue Caledonian prawn looked like a raw tiger prawn, and tiger prawns are not commonly served raw. But the fact is that the red Sicilian prawn as equally as raw, and once I saw that fact, there was no stopping me from diving into this dish.

If you have the opportunity, I really would recommend ordering this dish. This is where you can taste fresh prawns at their finest. They were so succulent and sweet that I feel as if I’ll never look at prawns the same way again. This is where you can savour the true texture of prawns that have not been marinaded in alkaline water (like in many chinese restaurants). They are firm but yielding with each bite.

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