Saturday, December 15, 2007

There is no marrow in the walnut

If you're looking for the bottom line without having to negotiate the mire of my convoluted grammar, I was disappointed by the dinner here (3 Chu Lin Road). Disappointments usually happen because expectations surpass reality. And the little things add up. No offense intended to the good chef Salvatore Catalano and his crew - the service was good and well appreciated. But for what they had charged, it is my opinion that the food here definitely has ways to go. Good service doesn't quite make up for everything. It wasn't that we came in expecting flawless culinary execution of the highest level. In fact, I thought we had very grounded expectations.

The menu was pretty straightforward. Mostly "run of the mill" range of antipasti, pasta, meats and dessert. There was also pizza which wasn't listed in the menu and there also was a small list of weekly specials that was not indicated. One of which was a ravioli with white truffle stuffing which didn't quite turn out as it sounded.

prosciutto e melone ($18)

The 18 month Parma ham with melon was quite atypical. The ham had a velvet-like in texture (which I thought was good) but otherwise, there was nothing very much we had to say about them. The melon didn't taste sweet to me and wasn't very juicy.

ravioli with white truffle stuffing ($24)

The waiter had, when asked, insisted that the ravioli was stuffed only with white truffles and we were convinced that it could not be true because it cost $24. After the first ravioli, I knew for certain that it was definitely not just white truffles. While I did not reasonably expect the waiter's claim to be true it was the insistence on their part that unsettled me. If you wanted to know, there was a bit of shaven white truffles on the top of the ravioli and there was a hint of the flavour from the fungus. Otherwise, it was a creamy cheese sauce and I was quite sure that the stuffings, if it included any white truffle at all, was mostly cheese.

grilled lamb rack

This grilled lamb rack was pretty good. Personally I found it rather enjoyable and it was probably the best thing served tonight. In spite of the meat being a little dry, the doneness was good and there was the natural flavour of lamb and a nice rosemary aroma on the surface. I still think that the charcoal grilled ones from Kazu are superior, but these here were definitely more meaty. If there was anything here I would recommend from what we had, it would be this.

grilled tenderloin ($36)

This beef tenderloin was actually a replacement dish after the restaurant failed a total of three attempts to do an ossobuco for two persons. That beef tenderloin was competent if unexceptional. A properly done medium rare, but the meat wasn't juicy like we had hoped for. Back to the failed ossobuco which I have to mention to get off my system, it was redone twice. When it first arrived, I was shocked (yes, 'aghast' would be a an appropriate word too) at how hard the meat was when I first tried to prod it with my fork thinking that the fork was all I needed to eat it. I made a mention to the waiter and the dish was brought it back to the kitchen for a replacement. I wasn't sure if it was changed or merely redone, but in the second round, the results were similar. The third attempt at the dish resulted in something that was rubbery and dry. Yeap, I said rubbery. The sauces look dried out from having being redone and the meat on the shank looked blistered. Definitely not something that one would expect of braised meat. And through it all, the waiter looked like he was totally ignorant of the fact that the meat was supposed to be tender and should be fork tender. The chef did personally apologise regarding the quality of the meat which we had graciously accepted, but a disappointment's a disappointment.

dessert platter ($30)

For $30, I didn't quite find this dessert platter enjoyable. We've had better tiramisu and I thought that the home made version that I had was more enjoyable. I shit you not. The panna cotta was very ordinary and actually tasted better without the berry compote. Profiterole was ordinary and the pie which was supposedly a pine tart tasted like it only has custard filling.

I'm not sure if I'm ever coming back given the rather remote location and food.


Ms One Boobie said...

What a bummer..!!

HairyBerry said...

the tenderloin was good but as u said, was a replacement for the ossobuco. should we call it a "blessing in disguise" ? lol...yeah, the dessert platter was rather uninteresting despite the featured signature italian dolci(s)...