Saturday, January 13, 2007

Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagar

Bummer! No photography was permitted by Buko Nero. I was informed that they have in recent months started disallowing photography of the food and the restaurant. What's up with that? I was hoping that since a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words and I could save myself from typing stuff that'll be stinging at your bleary eyes as you read this in the dead of the night.

Consolation was that I had managed to snap a few shots before one of the owners, Tracy came to inform of their policy against photography. I've waited almost a month for this seating after numerous frustrating attempts at calling the place with no one picking up the phone.

Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagar iPod Nano mounted onto speakers

Buko Nero, Tanjong PagarA table's eye view

Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagar
A peek into the kitchen

Pink guava juice

Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagartableware

Buko Nero is a tiny family restaurant helmed (haha!) by it's tonsure baring chef Oscar. The space could seat what I estimated to be about 20 or so. The waiting time for food here was excruciating. Reservations was made at 7.30pm and by the time we hit the main course, it was about 9.30pm. I understand what it is to take the time and enjoy the food and I'm aware that this place isn't exactly well staffed. Still it grated. Be sure to bear in mind that good company is of the utmost importance at Buko Nero.

The menu didn't look particularly interesting and I was not sure what I was expecting either. So I ended up with the set dinner for the night at $38++, swapped the pasta main for a bacon & steak with blueberry sauce with a supplement of $16 (wtf!) and shared their oft mentioned Buko Nero Tau Kwa Tower with fatpig. I was told that it was possible to do dinner here for $40 so that was pretty much what I expected to pay, thinking that it was rather reasonable. My portion of the bill came up to $70. Kinda pricey.

Buko Nero serves a nice bread. It was small, hot and a little oily. But also nice. And free flow. Beats bread from many other places. The starter was a "lemon juiced" beef carpaccio blanketed with pomelo and topped with alfalfa with a smear of balsamic vinegar. It's a smear because the vinegar came literally as a smudge on the bowl, which meant that there wasn't much of it to go round even with such delicate portions. It was ordinary as carpaccios go

Following that was a pumpkin and crab soup with mint. The sweet pumpkin soup was served in a bowl the size of a Chinese teacup and had succulent crab meat. We also had a palate cleanser of a mango and lime sherbet which tasted weak and diluted.

The Tau Kua Tower appeared like a small tau kua pile. For $17, was expensive. If you're familiar with the squares of tau kua that can be bought in wet markets, you'll be getting a slice of that. A slice which was probably a quarter to a third of a whole block of it.

Buko Nero, steak bacon
This steak wrapped with bacon was pretty decent. To the credit of the chef, it arrived at a proper medium rare. It however lacked the juiciness which I was hoping for. The blueberry sauce did not have much flavour we ended up tasting more bacon.

Buko Nero, chocolate and coconut cake with gula melaka coulis
Dessert was an impressive chocolate and coconut cake with gula melaka coulis. This was one of the best application of brown sugar I've had. In spite of appearances (yes, the poor photography was to be blamed too), the hot crusty surfaced cake was soul warming. It's on the regular menu apparently and I would recommend it.

In all, a passable meal with very good service. Which still didn't quite make up for the waiting time and the considerably pricey bill. Could have had dinner at a place like Sage. However I just don't see myself going through the trouble of doing another reservation again for the prospect of a really small menu.


Anonymous said...

Uh oh, my friends from the forest have planned a birthday treat for E-A-L Bear at Buko Nero. Now I'm wondering if we should go someplace else, or just go anyway and eat Economy Class sans meal upgrades/upsize...

LiquidShaDow said...

I would say that the food there is decent enough to go for a try (if you've not been there) unless you're looking for something really exquisite to celebrate. It's just for the experience of dining there really and the service is one of the better ones I have encountered.

Of course, being in this country, you have plenty of options, so it's pretty much your call.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a French bear, so food/place doesn't have to be exquisite, but a birthday celebration without photos is such a bummer.
Plus, don't really want forest critters to pay a king's ransom for my dinner. But I don't want to be troublesome either.
Maybe I'll get special treatment (i.e. can click away) since one of the owners shares my name!

LiquidShaDow said...

Perhaps, you can inform them when you make your reservations regarding the occasion. They might make exceptions. Will have to check with them for that though.

Colin said...

Its a good place and quite value for money if you take the set dinner. The reservations list is quite long tho.. so book way ahead in advance.

LiquidShaDow said...

The set dinner price was actually quite good. It just almost doubled with a swap in the main with the addition of a shared tau kwa tower.