taste of italy
so restaurant week came and went, and i managed to cough out enough quid to go for two tastings, capricci and le saint julien (thanks to Mr WiseGuy =) but that’s another post). to be honest, for all the misgivings towards irritating booking-hoarders, restaurant week is actually a really good event that can allow for much restaurant promotion and also benefit the hordes of food lovers who want good food at an acceptable price. i mean, its only at this time that you get 3 – 4 course meals at prices like 30 -55, that would normally fetch an asking price of easily 70 – 100+ and above. so yeah, go for the next edition of restaurant week if you have the chance. but DON’T be an ugly Singaporean and book-hoard all the restaurants. *grumbles*
ok back to Capricci.. so its this restaurant thats along the main street of tanjong pagar leading to maxwell market, sharing the street with bridal studios and facing many a korean BBQ restaurants. you can’t see it from the exterior, but its actually decorated in quite a homely and italian eatery kinda manner that’s quite inviting. the restaurant is decorated simply, with requisite posters of italian locales like trevi fountain and the bridge of sighs. there’s quite a well-stocked glassed-in wine cellar, typical of italian restaurants, and also a warm, homely baked bread smell wafting in from the ‘external’ kitchen where the head chef (i suppose) was smilingly preparing some delicious toasted focaccia in between serving and mingling with patrons. smart guy… i wonder if it was a conscious decision to move the bread oven closer to patrons to whet their appetites. let’s get to the food.
tasted delicious, especially the focaccia with the assorted spices. pity that this became a negative point for our experience at the restaurant because we want more, but were informed that we would be charged for another basket of bread. i mean, i guess it’s understandable from the restaurant’s standpoint, but it in no way leaves a good impression to the patrons and neither does it really make much sense — most high end restaurants have quite exquisite selection of breads and they actively approach their patrons to refill their bread. seriously how expensive can bread get to be that calculative? i recall a similar experience in db bistro moderne when we were sampling a special menu created specially by daniel boulud himself — we really enjoyed the lavash bread and asked for more, to which the waiter explained apologetically that the bread was limited to one table a basket, but that he would convey the request to the chef to see if anything could be done. and voila, more bread was served. and that’s what i call good restaurant service — sometimes you need to lose a little to gain much more.
appetizer: 36 months cured parma ham with rock melon sorbet
best dish of the night – what with the really ingenious take of a traditional classic of parma ham and rock melon slice. by choosing a sorbet instead of a simple slice of rock melon, the chef managed to amplify the sweetness of the rock melon to that which was comparable to the intense savory flavor of the Parma ham. simply put, this dish was perfectly balanced and delicious, with the innovative use of sorbet being a great pleasing factor.
appetizer: orange perfurmed Maguro tuna tartare with avocado puree
hmm not too impressed. decently put together but lacked the oomph, largely due to the fact that the tatare didn’t feel fresh enough. think such a dish works only if the raw ingredient is served refreshingly cold and fresh, with the crisp vegetables to enhance the natural goodness. this didn’t really accomplish that.
mains: homemade paccheri with homemade Italian sausage
the waiter explained paccheri to be some sort of a folded pasta, to which my sis didn’t particularly enjoy, citing that it was too thick and starchy. i thought it was decent, because the cream-based pasta sauce mixed with tons of savory sausage was really flavorful and balanced out the starchiness of the pasta. to be honest, as an aside, why would you order pasta in a set menu, knowing fully that pasta dishes typically cost 10 bucks less than other mains? i mean, my sis was attracted to the “homemade” paccheri which seemed unique, but to be honest, in my opinion, “homemade” is a tortured, overused word to hype up a dish and subsequently double the price. its like “artisanal”. -_-
mains: oven baked suckling pig Sardinia style with mirto liqueur on a hat of portobello mushroom
really liked this dish. the suckling pig skin was fried to a crisp (not like the typically chinese peking duck style), and the combination of portobello mushroom/suckling pig meat on top of the crisp skin as a base made for a really delicious main dish. my parents commented that the meat was kinda similar to typical chinese peking duck but i disagree – think the mirto liqueur added a really good flavor to the meat.
mains: lemon zest perfumed risotto with pan seared fresh scallop and sweet spanish cherry wine reduction
did not like. i like my risotto savory so this rendition was wierd with the lemon zest and to be honest, the scallops were kind of paltry. maybe it’s an acquired taste.
desserts: panna cotta drizzled with strawberry coulis
didn’t try this, but this doesnt seem particularly innovative.
desserts: lava cake with vanilla ice cream
not very impressed as well, despite this being a signature from the restaurant. the lava cake was pretty good, with the chocolate oozing out amply when bitten into, but i couldn’t really understand the placement of the dish – shouldn’t the ice cream be on top of the cake so the flavors would combine? the dessert was pleasant but not particularly inspired.
overall, a generally pleasant dining experience with mostly hits and some misses. i liked the suckling pig and parma ham+ rock melon sorbet especially, felt the service was generally good but marred by some very off comments by the waiter who came off as slightly too pompous. 6.5/10
capricci | 27 tanjong pagar road | italian, fine-dining ($55 for restaurant week menu)