Sunday, February 28, 2010

Valentinos (The full update)

Valentino's my favourite Italian restaurant for pasta. Perhaps I'm biased, but I can't find better Lobster Pasta with Pink Sauce. It's a small family run establishment tucked away in the sleepy Jalan Bingka, along the row of charming shop houses. Making a weekend dinner reservation here is a pain - I once tried in vain for weeks to get a dinner reservation. According to them, if you want a guaranteed reservation, call 1 month in advance. You won't get one if you try to book the day itself. If all else fails, they do takeaways ;) The restaurant bread was crispy and warm, and came with this unusual and tasty dip. Unlike the usual plain extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip, Valentino's chef made a special dip with Italian parsley, grounded anchovies, white vinegar and olive oil. The end result was a greenish dip, which had ground parsley, the mild salty briney taste of anchovies and the acidic undertone of the vinegar. Our whole bread basket was polished off in no time.
Burrata ($32++)
This is a very interesting cheese, made from buffalo mozzarella. The outer part is shaped like a moneybag, and the top is twirled into a tight knot, and there is oozy, creamy cheese filling inside. Taste wise, both inside and outside have exact same taste, just that the texture is different. Outer part tastes like normal fresh mozzarella, but inside is more watery (think it's cos there's cream added?) and curdled (but in a nice way).
From Wiki: The name "burrata" means "buttered" in Italian. When making Burrata, the still-hot cheese is formed into a pouch, which is then filled with scraps of leftover mozzarella and topped off with fresh cream (panna) before closing. The finished Burrata is traditionally wrapped in the leaves of asphodel, tied to form a little brioche-like topknot, and moistened with a little whey. The asphodel leaves should still be green when the cheese is served, to indicate the cheese’s freshness. More recently the cheese is often sold in a plastic bag or container
Oozing out its creamy goodness after being divided by our waitress. The tomatoes which come with this dish are Sicilian baby tomatoes, and they were extremely red (unlike the orange ones we get locally!) and bursting with sweetness. There was not a hint of the usual tart tomato taste, and each tomato was full of flavour.
It's pretty costly, but I suppose it's hard to import these fresh cheeses, and sharing one portion of this amongst 4 people is quite filling.
Beef Cappaccio ($25.90++) - of course I didn't eat this dish but it's my sister's favourite dish. Semi-cooked fine slices of beef, covered with cherry tomatoes and cheese, drizzled with truffle oil. Smells great!
They didn't have my favourite starter, the tuna cappaccio with pork loin that day I went, but you can click the link to see how it looks like in my post from very very very long ago.
My favourite Lobster Linguine with Pink Sauce
Their sauce has a nice depth and taste, thanks to the delicious lobster, and has tomato blended with cream (more cream than tomato). The al dente linguine is coated with the robust sauce, and each bite has a fantastic sweetness, creaminess and slight tanginess from the tomato. This is so far, my favourite pasta dish, followed closely by Iggy's sakura ebi cappellini.
The lobster is live, and prices vary. The day I went, the split a large lobster into 2 pasta portions, and it was $42.50++ per portions. To avoid disappointment, please call up in advance for the lobster pasta - I was extremely fortunate that they had the lobster pasta the day I went because I didn't reserve.
Their meat special that day was Lamb Shank ($42++)
I didn't find it particularly spectacular, and $42 is really expensive for lamb shank. I thought the lamb would be like the braised lamb I had previously (very very long ago) but it wasn't. The tomato sauce was chunky and robust, but the lamb was a bit too tough.
Coniglio (Braised Rabbit) ($42++)
I've been wanting to try Gunther's Chocolate rabbit for a really long time, just that I haven't had the opportunity to go down. Since Valentinos had rabbit, we decided to try it. The meat a cross between chicken and pork, and doesn't have a gamey smell or taste. It was pretty dry and the sauce was pretty weird. I'll stick to my lobster linguine with pink sauce anytime!Being a family business, Valentino's sister, Perla, has her own pastry shop next to the restaurant. The desserts are all made by her and the signature dessert is the Chantilly Al Cioccolato Bianco (White Chocolate and Cream cake) ($8.80++)
Layers of Chantilly cream alternating with soft vanilla sponge, topped with a generous sprinkling of white milk chocolate shavings.
Personally I don't quite like cream, so this cake isn't really a must have for me, but it's my mum's favourite dessert here.
Torta Valentino ($8.80++)
Dark chocolate sponge covered with dark chocolate ganache and chocolate cream with rum soaked raisins. Since we shared the dessert, I didn't get any of the rum soaked raisins. It's a pretty heavy cake to have after a heavy dinner.
Amaretto Sbrisolona ($8.80++)
Chocolate with Almond Custard with crumbled almond cookies was pretty dry and sweet. Guess I'll appreciate desserts more if I wasn't so full!
Chocolate Salami
One of their 'must try' desserts, dark and milk chocolate and cookies rolled into a salami shape.
We took away their Eggless Caramel Mousse Cake ($10.90) and I must say that it really wow-ed me. There's a smooth glossy layer of caramel on top, and alternating layers of chocolate cream, sponge cake and caramel mousse. All on top of a crunchy chocolate base. It's incredibly delicious and I'll be sure to order this the next time I'm back.
Though it's not as atas as other Italian restaurants in town, and has more of a homely feel than an expensive restaurant feel to it (especially since the dishes are expensive), their pastas are fantastic and their food is on par with other Italian restaurants. Though I think I'll be sticking to my pasta instead of trying their meats. Their lumberjack pasta (comes with bacon, tomato and cream) is a leathal combination of crispy smokey bacon bits in their killer cromato sauce, and I'm wanting to try their squidink crabmeat linguine.
I'm still craving for more lobster linguine!

Ristorante Da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka (off Rifle Range Road)
Tel: 6462 0555
Closed on Mondays

1 comment:

Lisa said...

OMG so you're the person who ate up my cake!!! :( I've been wondering about it for the last dunno how many months :(