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.
3, Chu Lin Road
Tel: +65 6811 1986