After hearing much raved comments from the blogosphere about OTTO recently, I was rather keen on trying it out for myself. Having the pleasure of having Dot from dotinabox as my dining partner for the evening, we hopped down to the Red Dot Traffic Building along Maxwell Road with high expectations in tow.
Otto prides itself in offering authentic Italian cuisine under the skillful hands of Chef Michele Pavanello (formerly of Pontini and Il Lido).
We were deliberating whether to indulge ourselves in the Gourmet Menu (S$128++) or go ala-carte. Eventually, it was the gourmet menu that we chose, for there were some of his purported signatures on the menu.
The complimentary Amuse Bouche was a cauliflower gratin. While was not exactly fantastic, it sure did get my tastebuds raring to go.
First off, we had the Carpaccio di Capesante con Caviale e Condimento alla Rucola (‘Hokkaido scallop’ carpaccio with Caviar and argula dressing). While it was a pleasant dish to start the menu proper, I personally felt that either too much or too strong of the argula dressing was used, thus masking the other flavours in the dish.
Dot commented that despite the generous amounts of caviar, they failed to enhance the flavours of the dish.
That said, the scallop carpaccio, was indeed fresh and the scallops cut just to the right thickness.
Our second course came in the form of a Fegato Grasso Pera Cotta al Chianti e Graffi di Liquerizia Condorelli (Pan roasted ‘Foie Gras’ with Chianti poached pear and ‘Condorelli’ liqourice).
The foie gras had to be the clear winner of this meal. The artery damaging foie gras was done oh-so-perfectly, that the outside was crisp, and the insides soft and moist; literally, melting in your mouth.
The poached pear lent a subtle sweetness to the dish, the epitome of a harmonious relationship between savoury and sweet.
I’ve heard and read of the much-raved Boston lobster pasta. While I’m sure that the ala carte order of that dish would have tasted alot better, the 3rd dish of the evening, the Tagliolini Fatti in Casa all’ Astice dette in Busera (Home made ‘Tagliolini’ with Boston lobster in spicy light tomato gravy), failed to tantalize my tastebuds.
Admittedly, the pasta was cooked perfectly, al-dente to the bite and the lobster was fresh and its meat, firm.
I am no chef, by any standards, but I’m envisioning that if a stronger seafood stock was used in making the sauce (think crustacean), the dish would have been a greater success. But then again (I am sound as if I’m contradicting myself here), cooking is all about bringing out the natural flavours of the ingredients, rather than masking it.
The 4th course was the Filetto di Sanpietro al Pomodoro fresco e basilico e Spagheti di Zucchine al Timo (European ‘John dorry’ fille cooked in fresh tomato and basil sauce served with thyme scented zucchini).
Fresh as it was, the John Dory was unfortunately, a tad dry for me. I, must however, add that the fresh tomato and basil sauce appealed to me for its simplicity.
The last course, (before desserts) had to be that of Chef’s signature dishes, the Maialino da Latte Croccante Laccato al Miele d’Acacia e Balsamico Stravecchio (Crispy ‘suckling pig’ lacquered with ‘black locust’ tree honey and aged balsamic vineger)
It was Decadent, Indulgent and Sinful yet, this was superb. If the foie gras was the star of the meal, this just had to be the moon. It was that good!
The pork was tender and the fat that hid beneath the crispy skin, melts in your mouth. The caramelized balsamic vinegar helped to cut through the decadence and lends a faint sweetness to the dish.
Not wanting to elect the boring-sounding Crostatina al Bergamotto con Fragole Marinate al basamico (Bergamot tart with balsamic vinegar marinated strawberries), both of us opted to change our desserts. Dot’s to a creme brulee and mine to a lava cake.
According to Dot, her Haitian vanilla creme brulee served with Vincotto marinated berries, “hit the spot”. The custard was soft and the sugar coated was caramelized wonderfully. A classic example of a soft interior beneath that hard exterior.
I had the Warm chocolate cake with Haitian vanilla ice cream. The chocolate was rich and it was definitely not overcooked, for within it, contained a molten interior. It was not too sweet – just enough to put the finishing touches to an excellent meal.
OTTO, I’ll be back soon.
For dot’s review on OTTO Ristorante, do visit her site at http://dotinabox.blogspot.com/2010/03/otto-restaurante.html
28 Maxwell Road
#01-02 Red Dot Traffic Building
Tel: +65 6227 6819
12pm – 2.3pm
6.30pm – 10.30pm
(Closed on Sun)