When we first heard that Valentino was moving from their cosy dominance of Jalan Bingka to the large impersonal Grandstand at the Turf Club, we definitely got worried. The noisy cramped ambience of the previous location contributed to its charm; the feeling of a family-run trattoria tucked away in a residential enclave.
That came with its own set of problems though, like the parking situation and the 2 sitting rule. At the new location, there's abundant parking, and they no longer implement the 2 sitting rule. After giving them a few months to get into their groove at the new location, we headed there on a Tuesday evening, with some trepidation.
The new place is a pretty sprawling affair - three times the size of the previous one, though that could also be because they've combined the restaurant, the pasticceria and the private dining all under one roof now. It's a lot calmer and less chaotic, but somehow, possibly due to the rustic decor and the appearance of familiar faces with the long-serving waiters, it's still retained its homely vibe.
Most importantly, I'm happy to report that the food is still the same. Their menu is expanded slightly, but rest assured that old favourites are still there. We started with a special - the deep fried soft cheese served with salami. The salami was excellent. The cheese was good, nice and oozy inside, but in future I'd probably prefer something cleaner and less fried.
My main was also off the specials list - home-made pappardelle with a pork cheek ragu. The pasta was silky smooth, and the sauce just how I like it - just barely coating the pasta.
A's ravioli with minced beef and ricotta, from the a la carte menu, was outstanding. Great ravioli, and the little nuggets that looked like diced potatoes turned out to be juicy porcini mushrooms that packed a ton of flavour.
We decided to go old school with the desserts - tiramisu for A and the chantilly cake for me. Due to the size of the restaurant they no longer have a dessert cart; they have a proper detailed dessert menu now.
We managed to get a dinner reservation just a few days ahead. I'm not sure if that's because it was a Tuesday, or whether it's a result of the larger space. I'm pretty sure they can sustain the new space, but I hope that as time goes by, they don't lose the familial charm that we've come to know and love.
Still our favourite Italian place. Win!
200 Turf Club Road