TGIT! To celebrate a much anticipated long weekend, we had dinner on Thursday at Otto Ristorante at Red Dot Museum. When we surfed the online menu beforehand, both the $88 Degustation menu and the $128 Gourmet menu looked extremely enticing, but Otto is also on the UOB Chef’s Creation list, where 25 chefs create a special menu for UOB diners - $68 per couple for lunch, and $128 per couple for dinner.
Now, I’m generally a bit wary of promotional menus, because sometimes I don’t know if they cut corners, and you don’t get to fully experience the restaurant the way a full fledged diner would. The thing about the UOB Chef’s Creation menu is that it doesn’t apply to walk-ins; you have to call up to pre-book. But what if I don’t like what it consists of? Somewhat of a Catch-22. Luckily, when I mentioned this to the lady who took my reservation, she confirmed that I could just pre-book it first, and if I didn’t like it, I won’t be obliged to have it, and can just order a la carte instead.
When we got there, the Chef’s Creation menu looked a lot better than expected, and with 5 courses, it was a steal at $128 for two. It seemed a no-brainer to have it tonight, and we figured if the food was good, we can come back and have the other proper menus. We started off with an amuse bouche - a wrap with parma ham and cheese. Not too bad but nothing spectacular.
First course started out the meal on a good note. Slipper lobster wrapped in Tuscan cured lard, with an artichoke puree and home made potato chips. To be honest, they got me on the Tuscan cured lard. I decided to unwrap one of the pieces to try the lard on its own and wow, what a flavourful and also textural mouthful. The lard was quite strongly seasoned with rosemary, and as a result it flavoured the entire dish, perhaps a tad too much but overall it was very good.
Next up was blue swimmer crab and avocado timbale with chopped tomatoes. This wasn’t too bad but a bit forgettable, because right now I already can’t quite remember how it tasted, compared to the other dishes.
The pasta dish was hands down the best of the night. Veal ravioli with a morel mushroom sauce. The ravioli was really flavourful, the pasta was soft and silky, and the morel mushroom sauce kicked ass.
The main course was actually a choice between roasted sea bream, and grilled rib eye. Normally we share so that we get to try as many dishes as possible, but tonight we both felt like steak so we ordered the same thing. The beef was quite rare, which I generally don’t mind, but some parts were a bit sinewy and chewy. Good, but not as great as the ravioli.
Dessert was a trifle with ricotta cheese, candied orange peel and dark chocolate sauce. I know this wasn’t A’s favourite cos he doesn’t really get the chocolate-orange combination. I quite liked it – the trifle was very light and the orange flavour was fairly subtle anyway, but for some reason I was really full by then. Must have been the latte that we had with dessert.
Service was excellent. Everyone was friendly and polite, food came bang on time, and the “door bitch” wasn’t even a bitch at all. She was the one that took my reservation, and remembered that we wanted to check out the UOB menu before committing. Very impressive.
I must say, when we ate at Julien Bompard during Restaurant Week, it really didn’t inspire me to return, but on the other hand this meal totally did. We’ll definitely be back for the other tasting menus and who knows, this could be another strong contender for 2010’s list.
Excellent. Good food and great service. In fact, it’s the best service I’ve had in Singapore in awhile. A definite contender for best find of 2010 if our return visit is as good.
28 Maxwell Road
#01-02 Red Dot Traffic Building
Weekday lunch: 12 pm – 2:30 pm
Weekday dinner: 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm
Sat: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm