Saturday, May 28, 2011

Senso Marks 10 Years with New Menu and Look

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Italian breads in basket
Senso is celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary in Singapore with a new look and menu! Ten years, that is quite a feat in the restaurant arena. I still remember the buzz when they first opened in 2000 at Club Street. Over the years, Senso has remained an established name that has kept its head high amidst stiff competition, with the combination of good food, ambiance and service.


Executive Chef Yves Schmid has created new dishes for Senso's 10th anniversary
Executive Chef Yves Schmid and Chef di Cucina Federico Innocenti (who focuses on pastas and risottos) have created new dishes for Senso's 10th anniversary. They both joined Senso in late 2010.


Senso is now clad in warm neutrals like dark brown, olive green, grey and black
Senso is now clad in warm neutrals like dark brown, olive green, grey and black. Gone is the red-centric theme. I really like the new look - it exudes stylish maturity and elegance. But some old favourites remain. The neo-classical colonial courtyard is still there, as is the iconic six metre long oak table in the private dining room.

The main dining area now features Asian touches like round tables along with lotus motif sliding screens that help create a semi-private space.

There is also an intimate bar you can unwind with pre- or post-dinner drinks on custom-made velvety and leather sofas.


Senso's sommelier Nejib Gara showing us the Franciacorta Ca'del Bosco
At the media food tasting session, we also got to meet Senso's dedicated sommelier Nejib Gara, who is from Tunisia. Yes, he's a long way from home! He instantly hit it off with my hubby whose father was a Frenchman from neighbouring Algeria. Nejip is very charming and chatty. We enjoyed talking to him very much.

Here he is showing us the Franciacorta Ca'del Bosco, an Italian sparkling wine that's Italy's answer to champagne. It comes from the region of Lombardy and is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Apparently this is a rare find in Singapore, but is available here by the glass (S$22) or bottle (S$128). We began our lunch with a chilled glass of this and it was soothingly crisp and aromatic. So refreshing on warm days too!

The food tasting menu included both new items and familiar favourites.

Please note that these are tasting portions. Full sized dishes could be several times heartier.


Antipasti - Pan-fried Buffalo Mozzarella wrapped in Parma Ham served with black Olives Tapenade
Antipasti - Pan-fried Buffalo Mozzarella wrapped in Parma Ham served with black Olives Tapenade (S$22).

What a great start to the meal. The saltiness of the pan-fried parma ham really brings out the best in the gently chewy mozzarella. The cheese is also slightly oozing out from the centre, so it has this warm softness that's so comforting.

The Sauteed King Tiger Prawns served on black Venere Rice timbale with Avocado and Sicilian Orange (upper left, S$28, new item) is also another treat. Gorgeous fresh seafood flavours with citrusy highlights.



The bisque is a smooth, clear soup without the usual heavy cream
Bisque of Shellfish - Italian-style with Grissini all'aglio (S$22). The lobster meat is first presented in the bowl and then the consomme-style broth poured over it. To great effect, I must say. The wonderful seafood aromas released just teases you to no end!



Bisque of Shellfish - Italian-style with Grissini all'aglio
The bisque is a smooth, clear soup without the usual heavy cream base. It's perfect because you won't feel oversatiated before your main course. I'm also thankful for that, because I could not resist finishing the whole bowl of shellfish goodness.



Two Pastas at Senso
The pastas were clearly done with great skill.

Foreground: Homemade Taglierini Pasta with Boston Lobster and fresh Basil (S$32). I really liked how insanely tasty and yet well-balanced the flavours were.

Background: Homemade Ravioli stuffed with braised Veal shank served with Porcini Mushrooms sauce (S$26). Ravioli I usually find too heavy and floury, and this one is very filling indeed. But it had a lovely sauce.



Duo of Risotto by Federico
Chef Federico has also done a good job with the risottos. Here in stark contrast to each other are the cream-coloured Risotto Carnaroli with "Ca' del Bosco" Franciacorta sparkling wine, and the dark Risotto Carnaroli with Baby Squid a la plancha, fresh Italian herbs (S$32). This is a new item.



Traditional Veal Ossobuco with Lemon 'Gremolata' on Rosemary Polenta Mousse
Chef Yves gives a new twist to the Traditional Veal Ossobuco (S$36, new item) by topping it with Lemon 'Gremolata' and serving it with Rosemary Polenta Mousse. This is normally presented in a cocotte.


Tiramisu Rivisto - light coffee mousse, homemade Mascarpone Ice Cream with Savoiardi Biscotto, and Coffee Milkshake
Tiramisu Rivisto (S$16, new item) or "Tiramisu Revisited"- light coffee mousse, homemade Mascarpone Ice Cream with Savoiardi Biscotto, and Coffee Milkshake. Each of these elements were delicious on their own, and it was fun experimenting with different combinations as well. But this deconstructed dessert is probably still best taken with everything mixed together.




Senso has a well-stocked wine cellar with more than 300 labels
As is fitting of a fine-dining Italian joint, Senso has a well-stocked walk-in wine cellar with more than 300 labels. There are wines from different regions of Italy as well as Old World and New World countries.


The wines paired marvellously with the food
Nejip's wine recommendations were simply brilliant. The wines paired marvellously with the food. And as for service, it was discreet and impeccable, as it generally always is.

We ended the meal with a quick tour of the place. It was a weekday but there were plenty of diners taking advantage of the three-course executive set lunch (S$36).

Senso also has a Sunday Prosecco Brunch. It's a buffet selection of Italian appetisers, salads, desserts, and a choice of main course done a la minute. Free flow Prosecco, fruit juices, coffee and tea round up the brunch. It's available every Sunday from 11.30am to 3.30pm at S$88++ per person.

Many thanks to Sixth Sense Communications and Senso for the lovely lunch invitation.


SENSO RISTORANTE & BAR
21 Club Street
#01-01
Singapore 069410
Tel: +65 6224 3534
Opening Hours
Mon–Fri: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Sat–Sun: 6pm – 10.30pm
Sun: 11am – 3pm (Brunch)
Closed for lunch on Saturdays

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