Tuesday, December 18, 2007

La Noce

I had my second monthly outing with Kelvin (thanks for the invite!) and friends last Friday night, after the wonderful dinner at Sage. Expectations were high as I have read some rather good reviews about this restaurant on the internet.

We started off with the complimentary bread which was served warm and a crusty skin. The taste was rather unremarkable. Instead of the typical balsamic vinegar, a red wine vinagerette-like dipping (with olive oil) was served as condiment.

For my antipasto, I've chosen the Prosciutto e melone (S$18) which consisted of sweet melon (I'm not sure if it's cantaloupe) wrapped with strips of 18 month parma ham and topped with rockets (and balsamic vinegar). I enjoyed the soft texture of the ham lacing the melon but thought the taste was not contrasting enough to tantalise the tastebuds. The fruity garlic dressing was interesting but was, again, not distinctively sharp.

Next came the Ossobuco a la Milanese (S$34), the dish that got me excited over La Noce in the first place as I have seen some pictures of this dish (with good reviews to boost too). But to be sent back to the kitchen 3 times due to the toughness of the veal shank, I have to say disappointment was an understatement. The meat was way off the supposedly flaky texture that literally peels off from the bone. The apologetic Chef Salvatore explained that the veal shank was imported in bulk and the quality varies. The saffron-coloured risotto was soft but personally, I would have preferred the fluffy version.

After the unsuccessful third attempt, we had to let go. It was already quite late and we just don't see the how the fourth, fifth or sixth shank would make a significant difference. So, we opted for the grilled beef tenderloin (S$36) instead. Although not remarkably interesting, it was a much better alternative to the veal shank. The medium-rare cooked tenderloin was fresh and succulent while the mash potatoes complimented the meat well. A rather huge portion too.

The Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons) Pizza arrived looking rather huge. Toppings included halved black olives, artichoke hearts, ham and button mushrooms. This pizza burst with natural flavours from the toppings, which overshadowed the tangy tomato base. Not a fan of olives and artichoke, the pizza was just alright for me.

Thanks to LiquidShadow, I had a piece of the Ravioli with White Truffle Stuffing. There was definitely a hint of white truffle in the stuffing and the cream but to think that the stuffing was completely filled with truffles (as explained by the staff) was only wishful thinking.

I also had a taste of Newbie Foodie 's bruschetta which was quite generic, with a hint of tanginess and pungent garlic scent.

Here are some of the other dishes ordered that night.

For desserts, a sampler (S$30) was shared. It consisted of four different types of dolci. The panna cotta was smooth but lacked in subtlety while the raspberry sauce provided a tangy flavour to the milky gelatin. The relatively large profiterole (choux pastry coated with chocolate sauce and filled with cream) tasted rather generic. The pine nut pie was rather interesting as I never knew pine nuts could be used in desserts. Taste-wise, it was rather bland. The non-alcoholic Tiramisu was sweet with layers of coffee soaked sponge & mascarporne cream and dusted with a layer of cocoa powder. I wished it was more moist.

For the finale, a complimentary lemon shot (consisted of vodka (25% alcohol), lemoncello and sugar) was served. The friendly staff explained that this shot helps to ease digestion. I definitely needed this as I sampled quite some risotto that night. A rather strong tasting drink with a sweet layer at the bottom.

Apart from the extremely hospitable staff and chef, I thought the food was rather unimpressive. There were moderate hits like the parma ham and grilled tenderloin but major misses dominated the night, especially the Ossobuco. Bad luck perhaps but it will certainly take more than just good reviews to convince me to return.

Am disappointed with myself too as the pictures turned out quite bad.

La Noce
3, Chu Lin Road
Singapore 669890.
Tel: +65 6811 1986
Website: http://www.lanoce.com.sg/


Kenny Mah said...

Don't be too disappointed, as with everything else, dining adventures are an embodiment of "nothing ventured, nothing gained" --- the mediocre ones will be balanced off soon enough with great discoveries.

Here's to your next shot of makan magic! :)

Bernsy said...

whoa very classy food eh...

anyway, if you are using a PNS camera, invest in a little Rm10 small tripod which you can put in your pocket.

Mount the tripod and lower the iso to 100 or lower if can, and use your timer to snap the pics in low lighting conditions. Gerenti pass brader...

Alexander said...

Well you have to try it to know it.
I think it will be a memorable experience.

Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

ling239 said...

Prosciutto e melone... i love this!! fall in love with it the first i had this ~ ^_^

wenching & esiong said...

The photo was quite pretty, don't worry! Perhaps the restaurant is dim?

Anyway, the pizza looks so delicious to me!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

risotto!!! so much too!!..but where in the world hav u had "fluffy" ones?? they r all meant to be soggy and for the toothless ppl!

Nic (KHKL) said...

kenny - thanks for the kind words! yeah, will definitely try harder next time!

bernsy - thanks for the tip, brader! the sad news is, i've started using a dslr..*pengsan*...perhaps i'm still new to it lar..will try harder!

alexander - nice to meet you! great blog u have...yupe, gotta try to know...i agree.

ling239 - me too! i love the balance between the sweetness of the melon n the savouriness of the ham! :)

wenching & esiong - oh yes, the restaurant was really dim...the pizza was quite special because it contained ingredients from 4 different seasons...

joe - yeah, "too much" is an understatement...cos i sampled it 3 times since the veal shank was not done right...hehe...i guess i shd use the word "drier" or "reduced" instead of fluffy...thanks for the note!

Jason said...

I never had veal shank before but I wonder whether they're supposed to be... tough like that?

~Christine~Leng said...

can i have a bite of that pizza? haha.. looks good ;)

Nic (KHKL) said...

jason - from what i read, it is not supposed to be tough like that. so disappointed bcos we were really looking forward to that...sigh...

christine - haha! wish i could send u a piece :) yeah, it was quite an interesting pizza.

fatpig said...

Actually I feel Cantina at Chang Village Hotel serves a better rendition of the Stagioni. Just my 2 cents ;)

Nic (KHKL) said...

hi fatpig (feels bad for calling you that)...read your review on cantina. will check it out if i'm there...actually, i'm eyeing the linguine..haha!

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh this is lovely.....classic!

Nic (KHKL) said...

Big Boys Oven - Some of the dishes are nice, like the tenderloin. but the ossobuco really cannot lar...sad, sad