Basilico, Regent Hotel
Tucked away at the back of Cuscaden Road in Regent Hotel, it may be a little out of the way for some, but it's worth the trip if you are looking to get a taste of Italy.
Coincidentally, that is also the theme of the restaurant for 2017. We tried the Winter and Spring menus, and boy, are they exciting!
Pictured above is the central buffet table of Basilico which prides in its plethora of foods originating from Italy.
Merluzzo Avvolto in Pancetta Affumicata servito con Broccoletti di Bruxelles Saltati, Cipolle Rosse e Purea di Sedana Rapa (Winter)
Haddock Fillet wrapped in Smoked Pancetta served with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts, Red Onions and Celeriac Purée
I started with the the haddock fillet, which on its own is quite light. The chef has expertly prepared it with a pinch of herbs, though sparse, it allows for the juiciness from the meat of the pancetta to shine through, adding a meatier flavour to the overall taste.
It may seem a bit heavy for an appetiser, but the celeriac purée offsets the greasiness of the pancetta. It was paired with the Tormaresca (2015), Chardonnay from Puglia. The moment it hits your nose, it feels like a sea breeze on your face – beautiful.
Gnocchetti di Patate Violette al Ragù di Branzino, Fave e Pisselli (Spring)
Purple Potato Gnocchi with Sea Bass Ragù, Broad Beans and Green Peas
The seabass was very light and had a slight spice to it, complemented by the heavier element of the dish - purple potatoes (the dark purple colour stems from the soil in which the spuds were grown). The potatoes had an interesting, chewy texture similar to taro balls.
The beans and peas in the dish brought about spring-like feel, which is the season this dish.
The dish was paired with the Argiolas (2015), Vermentino wine from the Sardegna region. It provided an off-dry taste with flowery overtones, which I think was a good to contrast against the savoury-ness of this dish, suggesting a fresh start to coming spring.
Risotto Carnaroli con Cachi, Mantecato al Mascarpone e Scaloppa di Fegato Grasso saltata in Padella (Winter)
Persimmon Carnaroli Risotto with Mascarpone Cheese and Pan-seared Foie Gras
The risotto was creamy but with the perfect fluffy consistency. Against the foie gras, which had a soft jelly-like body and also pleasantly salty, it went well together.
The Tasca d'Almerita (2015), Nero d’Avola from Sicily had a peppery nose but upon tasting, proved to carry a light-body (which makes it easy to drink for someone who does not take red wine on a usual basis).
Initially, I was skeptical of the pairing as I figured the red might dominate the entirety of the dish, but to my surprise, it did not do so at all.
Tasca d'Almerita (2015), "Lamuri", Nero d’Avola from Sicily
Griliata di Aragostella, Piovra, Gamerone servita con Fiore di Zucchina Farcito al Salmone e Finocchietto Selvatico e Olio Extra Vergine D'Oliva in "Salmoriglio" (Spring)
Grilled Live Lobster, Octopus, Prawns and Steamed Spring Zucchini Flowers filled with Salmon and Dill, dressed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Zest and Fine Herbs.
The seafood was grilled in a manner that captured a smokey taste without being dried out too much. It came paired with the Ca del Bosco, Cuvée Prestige, a bubbly which generally possesses a yeasty taste.
The wine combined with the smokiness of the grilled seafood was like having freshly baked bread right out of a traditional Italian stone oven in my mouth – brilliant!
Ca del Bosco, Cuvée Presitge, Lombardia NV
Petto d'Anatra Glassato al Miele di Lavanda, Patate Novelle Arrosto, Purea di Carote e Arance Amare (Spring)
Lavender Honey-glazed Duck Breast with Roasted Potatoes, Bitter Orange and Carrot Purée
The duck breast for this dish comes from organic free range duck, therefore it was tougher than most other duck sources, but it does contain more texture.
It was like having a steak, just without the beefy taste. The carrot puree was really bright and gave a sweetness to the dish.
Sorbetto al Pompelmo Rosso e Crostata di Mandarini e Mandoria (Winter)
Red Ruby Grapefruit Sorbet and Tangerine Almond Tart
Finally, we got to dessert, which I was highly anticipating. We started off with a sorbet, and I only have one word for it – amazing. The tart was quite tangy, but together with the sorbet created a sweet and sour mix.
Gelatina d'Ananas con Confit di Finocchio e Sorbetto di Litchi con Croccante di Lampone (Winter)
Pineapple Jelly with Fennel Confit and Lychee Sorbet with Raspberry Crisp
If you would like a dessert that would fit into that reminiscence of your childhood, this would be it, minus the chemicals and artificial flavouring of agar-agar that we enjoyed as kids, this gelatinous interpretation of our childhood dessert is mainly made of fruits. It was truly a refreshing dish to end with.
1 Cuscaden Rd, Level 2, 249715
Mon-Sat: 6:30-10:30AM, 12-2:30PM, 6:30-10PM
Sun: 7-10:30AM, 12-3PM, 6:30-10PM
Tel: +65 6725 3232