OTTO Ristorante is one of the Italian restaurants that I had kept on my “To Visit” list for special pre-planned dinners or occasions. Afterall the place is quite compact and definitely advisable to make prior reservation to dine there. The usual degustation menu cost around $98++ per pax for a 5-course meal, therefore it seemed sensible to try out their food during Restaurant Week that cost $55++ per pax for 3-course meal.
The restaurant has been pretty popular during the previous few rounds of Restaurant Week as it was usually fully snapped up during the priority booking for A_ex credit card holders…I was lucky to pick up a booking from someone who perhaps had cancelled theirs a few weeks later.
When we arrived there was a group of foreigners having their aperitifs at the outdoor area. We were shown to our seats in the dining hall which was already 75% occupied. My general sense based on observation was the clientele that night had more foreigners (tourists and expatriates) than locals. Other than the tourists, I felt that the place must have been a place for regulars and guests who know the Chef and Manager there. I saw the Chef coming out of the kitchen, exchanging greetings and serving some of the guests personally.
Depending on one’s preference, one may like the compact hall filled with “lively” conversations ambience or you may be like me – who prefers peace and tranquility. I can’t blame them as its FRIDAY! I guess most people are looking forward to a hearty meal and catching-up with friends.
We were pleasantly surprised to receive complimentary appetizer of Pork and Potato salad before our meal. There were 2 options for starters and 3 options for main for the RW menu. For starters we only tried the Smoked slipper lobster with Jerusalem artichoke velouté and white wine sauce, while the other option was Ripe Italian tomato, Burratina cheese and Parma Ham. The smoked slipper lobster was served in a sealed canister filled with smoke. We were supposed to pour the crackers and mix the dish up. The addition of the crackers complemented the chewy slipper lobster with a crunchy taste. The slipper lobster was succulent and I enjoyed the creamy and nutty taste of Jerusalem artichoke.
For mains we had Atlantic cod tagliata, “Taggia” olives crust with sweet garlic sauce and Crispy “suckling pig” lacquered with acacia honey and balsamic vinegar. The other option was Spaghetti with sea urchin and grey mullet bottarga. I wished I could try all 3!!! The cod was well baked and topped with crunchy crumb coating. The crispy “suckling pig” was expertly executed, the skin was crisp and meat was juicy. The acacia honey and balsamic vinegar was a delight as I’m not a fan of balsamic vinegar used in salads. But the combination of sweet and mildly sour made it a good condiment to go with the heavy pork.
Had a glass of Villa Giulia Langhe Bianco 2011 D.o.c. Marchesi di Gresy – Piemonte and a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2010 D.o.c. Cantina Zaccagnini – Abruzzo. Can’t comment much as Italian wines hadn’t impressed me so far.
Dessert was Vanilla crème brulee served with limoncello marinated raspberry. A generous portion of one of my favourite dessert of all time. The marinated raspberry was a nice touch to balance the sweetness of crème brulee.
Wouldn’t mind returning to try their other dishes for an occasional splurge. It’s one of the better Italian restaurants I’ve been too. Based on my experience at the restaurant while I was there, it’s pretty casual, not exactly fine dining ambience. Doesn’t seem to have any dress code as well cos I seen people in shorts & sandals too. I guess those who are eyeing to visit them should do so without much hesitation. It would be a hearty feast and not the super formal meal.
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