Happy February! We have two fabulous reasons to dine exceptionally well this month - Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day. Brad, Ju and I were very lucky to have the chance to preview some festive menus from waterfront restaurants at the Fullerton Heritage precinct.
Let's start with Forlino. Where else can you get Italian fine-dining with impeccable service plus incredible views of the Esplanade and Marina Bay? The combination is bound to impress any Valentine's date. Seating here is mainly tables for two, and the floor-to-ceiling windows allow an almost panoramic view.
They have an elegant six-course meal (S$128++ per person) available from Feb 12 to 14. Here's the line-up of dishes:
Carpaccio of sashimi grade scallop, with a citrusy dressing and Oscietra caviar. This perks up your tastebuds with its gently sweet, tangy and salty harmony. Amuse bouche is meant to be just a mouthful, but I secretly wished there was more of this delight.
We also had some freshly baked foccacia (each of us had a generous plate of four pieces). Crusty, dense and chewy. The texture was a little tougher than I'd expected of foccacia but perhaps this is some special take on the rustic bread.
Insalata di Granchio Reale con Infiorescenze di Piselli, Rucola Selvatica e Salsa di Melone
Jumbo Crab Salad with Sweet Pea & Wild Rucola Sprouts and Cantaloupe Sauce:
Fresh crab meat so sweet and umami, it could only be Alaskan king crab. What a burst of flavours it was together with the refreshing mint, peppery rocket and fragrant cantaloupe. This was so very good!
Tortino di Barbabietole su Fonduta di Robiola
Beetroot Cake with Robiola Cheese Fondue:
How innocuous this looked! It was deceptively dense and rich. Even the small portion proved too heavy for most of us. The beetroot cake had texture similar to that of luncheon meat, and I could not pin down what else went into the making. I was intrigued by the Robiola cheese though, which is made from milk of cow, goat and sheep. It was smooth, creamy, gently pungent and incredibly tasty.
Tagliolini al Nero con Zabaione ai Ricci di Mare e Pomodorini Semi Canditi
Homemade Squid Ink Tagliolini with Sea Urchin Sabayon and Semi Dried Cherry Tomatoes:
The pasta dish was not only dramatically beautiful, it was warm, savoury and comforting. The sea urchin sabayon was divine and velvety rich. There was something very familiar about the taste - somehow like Chinese braised "ee mee" noodles. I had expected the pasta to be more al dente, but it's fresh pasta, so it will definitely be much softer.
Forlino carries an extensive wine list, and that's an understatement. There's a 1000-label wine cellar and you can most certainly find the tipple of your choice. This is a Grappa Moscato, a potent and fiery drink that could help you in digesting heavy meals. Note: drinks are not included in the menu.
For the mains, you get to choose between the fish or beef course. Quite frankly, after sampling both, I think it's a tough decision! Both are very competently executed!
Merluzzo Nero con Asparagi, Salsa di Arance Sanguinelle e Olive Disidratate
Black Cod Filet with Asparagus and Sicilian Blood Orange Sauce
Atlantic cod pan seared to perfection, with skin that's just the right level of crispy. The blood orange sauce accentuated the sweetness of the fish and complemented the asparagus.
Filetto di Angus Prime con Radicchio Candito e Salsa di Fegato Grasso al Porto
Angus Prime Beef Tenderloin with Goose Liver & Port Wine Sauce and Radicchio
The beef is tender and tasty enough not to need a sauce, but who can resist amping it up with flavours of goose liver and port wine? Medium doneness for the beef (as shown) is recommended.
Mousse Bicolore di Yogurt e Fragole con Salsa di Menta e Cioccolato
Strawberry & Yogurt Mousse with Peppermint Chocolate Sauce
I'm not a fan of yoghurt or mousse but this was quite enjoyable. There was a pleasant surprise in the sprinkling of pop rocks all around the dessert. It made everyone smile! Forlino shows that it's not just sombre fine dining, but also fun dining.
Caffe' e Piccola Pasticceria
Coffee and Petit Fours:
We end with very good Italian coffee and a trio of chocolate cake, cookies and meringue.
Our leisurely dinner spanned nearly four hours, with more than a few culinary highlights. Throughout it all, the service staff were polished, knowledgeable, and prompt without being intrusive.
Reservations have already begun for the Valentine's Day menu. I see on the website that there are two seatings on Sunday, Feb 14 itself. First seating is 6pm to 8.15pm, and the second seating is from 8.30pm onwards. You can still go a la carte if you wish. Forlino's regular menu is here.
Many thanks to Fullerton Heritage for arranging and hosting this dinner, and to Lyla of Ate Consulting as well.
1 Fullerton Road
Tel: 6877 6995
Lunch: 12pm - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.30pm