We managed to get a reservation at Buko Nero just a day in advance! We called on Wednesday, and because we’re both on leave, we were pretty flexible on dates and times. Turns out they could give us 7 pm the very next day. So actually, a reservation here isn’t all that impossible, if you have the luxury of free time.
I went with the set menu, but A didn’t feel drawn to many of the elements (mainly the dessert), so he decided to order a la carte. Here’s what we had:
Amuse bouche: Wonton ravioli filled with seabass, with carrot and ginger sauce
C’s starter: Momotaro tomato with speck and citrus vinaigrette
A’s starter: Veal carpaccio with citrus vinaigrette and parmesan crisp
C’s soup: Tomato basil with crab meat
Sherbet: Papaya and thai orange
C’s main: Switched to risotto with beetroot and pecorino
A’s main: Tagliatelle with scallops and bottargo
C’s dessert: Raspberries with mint and lime yogurt foam
A’s dessert: Espresso and coconut panna cotta
The meal started out quite well, with all the starters really hitting the mark. It lost a little steam during the mains. I ordered the risotto because I was still seduced by the memory of the amazing risotto with speck that I had last year. This wasn’t as good – it didn’t have the same mind blowing flavour, and I think the beetroot made it a bit too sweet for my liking. Plus the rice was just a tad too al dente; maybe like a minute underdone.
A’s pasta was much better. Really flavourful and the scallops were nice and fresh. A few mouthfuls also suffered the same, slightly undercooked fate though.
The dessert from the set was the main thing that discouraged A from ordering it. Fresh raspberries and mint couldn’t be further from his thing. I must admit that while I wasn’t put off by them, they’re definitely not something I’d order otherwise. Still, I liked the lime yogurt foam that brightened the slightly tart berries.
A’s dessert was great. An intensely flavoured coffee panna cotta, topped with a layer of coconut and coconut shavings. A couple of mouthfuls made up for my dessert.
Dinner here is always a pleasant experience. Sure, some visits yield better dishes than others, but the homely atmosphere, and the sheer familiarity because we’ve been coming here (albeit sporadically) for so many years, always makes us happy.
As always, a mix of hits. Although the stand out this time was the espresso and coconut panna cotta. I’m glad it’s on the regular menu so I can order it again if I want.
126 Tanjong Pagar Road
Dinner: 6.30pm to 9.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
Lunch: Noon to 2pm (Friday and Saturday)
Closed Sunday and Monday