Sunday, May 18, 2008
Weekend Italiano at Ristorante Bologna
Hubby had a great experience with a weekday lunch at Ristorante Bologna, so he decided to bring the family today to try it as well. Their Weekend Italiano (12 noon to 4pm, Sat, Sun & public holidays) is slightly different though - you get six replenishable appetisers, one main course from the menu and a small buffet of desserts. It's S$45++ per person but with the UOB card, one person dines free with every two paying. Works out to be S$30++, so it sounded like a good deal.
We started with some warm bread. Nothing too fancy but not bad either - two wholemeal buns and one white dinner roll and one large spiral bun baked golden brown. They served these with olive oil and paste, but you can ask for butter if you prefer.
The appetisers are presented on plates for sharing, not as individual portions. They served them in two rounds, three types at a time. The parma ham came as generous, flowing slices like ribbons of coloured silk. Now parma ham has this rather strong "piggy" taste, so no one touched this much except me. Nadine didn't like it either. But it looks so pretty.
Now this little piggy went to the market and became salami. Nicely salty and went well with the bread. Hmm, should have asked for more of this!
Actually I liked the coppa ham best of all. It's spicy but not overpoweringly so. The chili heat is just lightly discernible.
Calamari is always a welcome snack. Fresh squid in crispy batter, sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper and served with creamy dip. Decent portion for three.
Frittata, or Italian omelette, with spinach, I believe. A little too dry for my liking, but hubby seemed to like it, so we had extra portions of this. Served with arugula and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Think you've seen enough of ham yet? Nope, here's some cooked ham to round up the appetisers. Very thinly shaved, somewhat ordinary tasting but no less delicious. Nadine still didn't like this though. Sigh.
On to the main courses, and this is where the bigger disappointments lay. Hubby had very good pastas on the weekday, and remembered the clam pasta was good. So even though he's not fond of clams, he chose the vongole linguini with white wine and garlic (also for my tasting benefit, I love vongole). But alas, this weekend version was not the same! It really did not taste like much. The clams too, looked more shrivelled up than meaty.
My veal medallions fared just slightly better, although I still had to send it back to the kitchen. The center was still cold and raw (not bloody, mind you, but raw, and unchewably so) although it was seared well on the outside. Extremely tiny portion too. Lovely mash and mushrooms though.
Mum-in-law's spaghetti carbonara. The lightest, most dry carbonara I have ever come across. However, MIL enjoyed it as it was very light. Nadine too ate this but rejected the bacon bits. How odd. Children with Down Syndrome normally prefer stronger flavours as the inherent "low muscle tone" also applies to their tastebuds. She does like salty stuff, but I guess porky ham and bacon are not her thing. Still, who knows? Kids hate something one day, and love it the next (and vice versa).
Desserts looked nice when we walked in. A small selection but competently done. Not all of them were Italian though. Let me list what I remember: tiramisu, chocolate mousse, yogurt cake, apple pie, tarte alla ricotta (cheesecake), chocolate truffle cake (nice), panna cotta, strawberry mousse, strawberry shortcake and lemon meringue. However, most of them were very sweet and that made them taste alike. After a while, we just went for fruits instead. Oh, coffee and tea are included in the meal - nice ones too.
Hmm, so antipasti OK, mains disappointing and desserts middling. It seems it's a better deal on weekdays. Hubby mentioned that there is a carvery, pasta stations and a wider array of desserts too. Maybe the chef is also different on weekends (maybe the sort that's just a weekend Italian?). Perhaps that is why we were the only table occupied for most of the time. I also notice their website says the restaurant is closed Sundays. Hmm!
But I do have to commend the staff for exemplary service. Because we had kids with us, gave us extra paper napkins and even a finger bowl to clean dirty hands. They were genuinely friendly, discreet, professional and very attentive. Hmm, now should I come back on a weekday?
Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard
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