I just wanna be part of your symphonyyyy. Will you hold me tight and not let go? Certain music can get stuck in your head so much so that you find yourself involuntarily humming and swaying to the rhythm.
Located within the Victoria Concert Hall, Sinfonia Ristorante orchestrates contemporary Italian cuisine that indeed made my taste buds dance to its symphony.
Formerly known as FOO’D by Davide Oldani, the restaurant has recently been re-branded to further explore a menu from various regions of Italy — guiding guests on a culinary voyage.
The venue and interior remains the same; a wide dining area with a high ceiling looking over elegant furniture.
You can sit back and relax as Chef Simone Depalmas with 21 years of experience, uses the best quality seasonal ingredients to dole out brand new melodies.
I expected to begin with something light, maybe a salad or breadsticks. Instead, the Truffle Chicken Liver Brulee ($26) was placed in front of me. Up until that moment, I’d only tried creme brulee and never the savoury kind, much less chicken liver.
While it still retained its hard sugar crust layer, the dish was embellished with leek puree and fresh herbs of red mizuna and marigold.
After dipping the roasted focaccia into the pate, I took a bite and chewed slowly, savouring the sweetness of the caramel and richness of the liver that was balanced with five types of wine. The black truffle of Umbria then followed, enhancing the flavours.
The next starter was a seasonal Mackerel On Roasted Polenta (available as a starter on the lunch menu, $45 for three courses, $52 for four courses).
Layered on the polenta were pieces of mackerel with dollops of avocado and leek puree resting on top. The salty fish together with the mild polenta formed a nice duet accompanied by spice notes from the puree.
When the Sea Urchin And Alaskan King Crab Rice Roll ($32) was served, I was surprised by the delicate clam foam and the copious amount of urchin draped on the nori-wrapped rice rolls.
The flavour of the sea washed over my tongue while the sweet tomato crumbles and fish roe gave the dish a fun texture.
The vegetarian Mushroom Soup ($18) was served deconstructed; there was a separate jug of soup, comprising six different kinds of mushrooms which were also meticulously plated on the bowl.
Even though the soup was made solely of cream with no butter, the texture was still velvety smooth with a pleasant Umbrian truffle aroma. The real highlight though was the crystalised pine nuts that made for a sweet crunch in each spoonful.
As dinner reached a crescendo, I had the Handmade Squid Ink Tagliolini ($34) which was swirled on the centre of the plate, balanced with a plump king prawn and tarragon leaves.
The bottarga (cured fish roe) crumbs sprinkled on the house-made pasta resulted in a salty harmony with the subtle ink aftertaste.
The Mushroom Risotto ($28) of porcini mushrooms came with thin shavings of black truffle and dainty herbs for the extra flair.
Risottos are either a hit or miss in terms of cooking the rice to the perfect texture, but this vegetarian dish came through. The rice wasn’t mushy at all, but chewy with chunks of mushrooms mixed in together.
I also managed to try the Frog Legs ($36) encased in a crispy batter-like tempura. Specially-imported French Bullfrogs were used for their fleshier meat, which was indeed fibrous.
Now that I’ve finally tried frog legs, I can understand why people say that they taste like chicken. Dipped into the sour sauce made of milk, vinegar and lemon, the dish which might have been heavy on the palate was lightened with hints of zest.
Yet another showstopper was the Beef Short Ribs (available in the degustation menu, $138 for 5 Courses, $168 for 7 Courses). Impeccably marbled and slow-cooked for 12 hours, the USDA Wagyu melted in my mouth, permeating depths of sweet and savoury.
You should try the beef with the chestnut, salmon roe and horseradish altogether for an in-depth experience.
For the last main, we had the Cod Fish ($44) served with smoked caviar and asparagus. The surface of the fish was crispy and the butter lemon sauce lightened up the dish with citrus notes, accompanied by a scoop of sweet caviar.
Even when it came to desserts, the restaurant kept up the standards of the beautiful plating. The Chocolate Crumble, White Meringue, Raspberry, Mango Sorbet ($18) was almost too cute to eat!
Resembling durian spikes, the meringue was crunchy and airy and the sorbet was refreshing and pungent, easily cleansing my palate.
When The Mandarin ($18) was served, I had to double-check whether it was just a model of the fruit positioned on chocolate crumble, or if it was indeed edible.
My heart pained to cut into the glossy, gelatinous surface of the mandarin, but it revealed a nice foamy layer of mascarpone cheese and fresh orange juice that oozed down to the plate.
The tart, citrusy dessert was a medley of textures and served as an exquisite outro of the night.
At Sinfonia Ristorante, I could imagine myself seated alone in the middle of a concert hall, listening — well, more like savouring each dish performed on stage.
Italian cuisine is no doubt ubiquitous, but with a touch of contemporary style, dishes such as the Chicken Liver Brulee and Frog Legs Tempura were orchestrated for a unique yet pleasurable experience. And such an experience earned my respect for the painstaking precision that went into the food, deserving another round of applause and an encore.
Expected Damage: $20 – $50 per pax
Sinfonia Ristorante: 11 Empress Place, 01-01 Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore 179558 | Tel: +65 6385 5588 | Opening Hours: (Tues to Sat) 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, (Sun & Mon) 12pm – 3pm | Website | Facebook
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