Raeburn Park, located in the old Gan Eng Seng School premises, houses a whole gamut of establishments including ad agencies, learning institutions and restaurants/cafes. It reminds me of Phoenix Park in Tanglin, and indeed, Parco Caffe is owned by the same group that runs Spruce.
Parco Caffe itself was quite a surprise. It was much bigger than expected, and frequented mostly by large multi-generational families. It’s big enough that I can’t imagine you would have any trouble snagging a table for 2 as a walk-in, as we did, though you may still want to play it safe.
Service is attentive and polite, but there were some issues that, to be fair, were more to do with the restaurant management. At the start, A and I were given different menus, and we spent a good 5 minutes being thoroughly confused as we were referring to completely different dishes. “Lobster? What are you talking about, it’s crab!” “Mine says Aragosta.” “Mine says Granchio!” We finally established that one of us had been given the old menu.
Also, quite a number of the items on the menu weren’t available. I’m not sure if they’d simply run out after the weekend (we were there on a Sunday night), or they weren’t available indefinitely. As a result of both snags, we took a much longer time than usual to finally decide on our order.
We decided to share one “Degustation Menu” – 6 small courses for $55 (the menu indicates $65 but the bill said $55…), and an a la carte pasta – the crabmeat tagliolini with a tomato and ginger sauce. The pasta was good, if a little on the Asian, chilli-crab side. I approve of the fact that the pasta wasn’t swimming in a thin soupy sauce; there was just enough thick sauce to coat each noodle properly.
First course was an egg noodle in superior broth with a chicken roulade. All we could think of was – wanton mee.
Next was a cold angel hair pasta with tobiko, bottargo and truffle oil. There was a slight acidic tang to this from the balsamic vinegar. It was quite nice and refreshing, but certainly not the best version of this dish that I’ve had (that honour goes to Ember).
The seabass with capsicums and zucchini and the wok-fried prawns with pumpkin sauce were ok, though I’m not sure that I see the point of the black nest-like ring on the prawn plate. It wasn’t edible, nor was it a receptacle to hold the prawns, and I’m not a fan of redundant things on plates.
The beef with foie gras and a mushroom sauce was very tasty. The meat was well-cooked and the foie, what little of it anyway, was crisp outside and creamy inside. I don't think it need the perfunctory black truffle shavings though.
Dessert was a chocolate and raspberry parfait. This was a bit of a throwaway and entirely forgettable dessert.
The pasta arrived pretty quickly; unfortunately in comparison the degustation menu took ages. There didn't seem to be any communication between the waiters and the kitchen, because my first course arrived twice, and the waiters kept getting confused about which course I was at. As a result, what was meant to be a fairly simple dinner stretched way longer than anticipated.
I think this place has potential, and prices are definitely very reasonable. I wouldn't exactly recommend it for romantic nights out, but assuming the a la carte dishes arrive as quickly as the crab pasta did, it’s a decent option for a simple no-frills dinner.
Service is very friendly, but the degustation dishes really took forever to arrive. The food certainly won’t blow your mind, so I’d recommend this for basic, reasonably-priced Italian.
10 Raeburn Park, #01-28
Mon to Fri: 11.30 am – 2.30 pm; 6 pm – 11 pm
Sat & Sun: 9 am – 11 pm