Friday, May 29, 2015

Basilico @ Regent Singapore: Flavours of Northern and Southern Italy

 Whenever I am asked to recommend a good Italian restaurant in Singapore, the first place that came to mind is always Basilico at the Regent hotel as I have never forgotten the wonderful dining experience with my mother here several years ago. Featuring an antipasti and dessert buffet that comes along with ala carte main course options, this award-winning restaurant continues to captivate the taste buds with its latest installation "Viaggio Italiano", a unique year-long gastronomical journey through Northern and Southern Italy!
Diners can look forward to a unique selection of ala carte main courses, which will add on to the existing ala carte menu alongside the buffet of delicious antipasti and desserts for $88++. Keeping in line with the changing theme every quarter of the year, Executive Sous Chef Angelo Ciccone traces back to the roots of his birth town, Puglia, by showcasing the authentic flavours of Southern Italy for the period of July 1st to September 30th.
You can tell that the chef and his team truly put in a lot of effort to highlight the best seasonal ingredients. Take for example the Garlic Orecchiette Pasta, with Anchovies, Chilli Sauce and Tiger Prawns, Anchovies and Chilli Sauce. While some may associate sea urchin with Japanese cuisine, do you know these spiny creatures known as ricci de mare are actually seasonal delicacies in Puglia where families hunt along the beaches? I love how the chef has balanced the creamy texture with lovely spices and chunky meat while retaining the subtle sweetness and complex sea taste.
The 12 hours slow-braised beef sirloin roll is yet another well-executed where you can see the hidden artistic talents of the chef converge on the plate. Stuffed with Pecorino Pugliese Cheese in tangy tomato and red wine sauce, the tender beef was cleverly paired with dry fava beans puree and heirloom carrots, which lent a rustic countryside touch that made me chuckle unexplainably in sheer delight.
The special dessert for the third quarter is a simple yet elegant Amalfi Limoncello Neopolitan Baba with Amarena Cherry, which was also by no means, a successful interpretation of the French classic. It was extraordinarily light and not drenched in too much sugary liquid.
Moving on to the final leg of the voyage from October to December, Chef Angelo assembles the best of Northern Italy cuisine, which is characterized by a lesser use of olive oil tomato sauce or pasta and a higher frequency of using butter and corn. Hence, diners can look forward to the classic "Milanese style" saffron risotto, served alongside the braised beef shank Ossobucco with Gremolada oil and Bone Marrow Gratin. Yes, no one will dispute the fact that bone marrow is utterly rich and creamy but it was exceptionally soothing to the tastebuds when you have it together with the risotto.
Meanwhile, there is also the Dry Salted Cod Fillet "Vicentina Style" served on a bed of soft herbs polenta, roasted beetroot and turnip. Not all might be used to the fish texture which was chewier and former on average but I really love this dish. There is an understated elegance to this "poor man's fish" which makes for an unforgettably satisfying taste when eaten with the polenta. 
Most of the desserts I tried from the dessert table were undoubtedly but it was the Dark Chocolate Grand Cru Piedmont Binet with Ameretti almond crumble that got my resounding vote of confidence. Compared to the luxurious Amedei Chocolate Mousse cake, this superbly decadent chocolate treat exudes another form of cacao charisma; stronger bittersweet nuances and less milky. Gorgeous and somewhat magical.
Apart from the seasonal dishes from this "Viaggio Italiano", the epicurean journey extends to the antipasti and dessert buffet, where one can savour sweet datterini tomatoes, marinated artichokes and desserts featuring Bronte pistachio, exotic wild blueberries and my all-time favourite Amedei chocolate. You will be pleasantly surprised with the gelato and sorbets as well; all made in-house with interesting combinations such as Orange and Prosecco Wine.
Priced at $88 ++ for both lunch and dinner, Basilico continue to stay true to its Italian heritage, offering an authentic and excellent experience that one will never forget. Good to know that the dessert buffet is also available at only $24++ ,  a very wallet friendly deal considering the premium ingredients used.
As I returned home and reflect on the meal filled with genuinely enjoyable good food, I beamed in delight and looked highly forward to the next visit.
Basilico
Regent Singapore, 2F
1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249714
Lunch 12pm-2.30pm (Mon-Sat) / 12pm-3pm (Sunday)
Dinner 6.30pm to 10pm
Priced at $88++ per person
Tel: +65 6725 3232/3
For email reservations: basilicogrm.rsn@fourseasons.com
Visit https://www.facebook.com/regentsingapore or http://www.regenthotels.com/EN/Singapore/Cuisine/Basilico for the latest updates

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