After waiting a whole month from the date we made our reservation, on Friday night we finally made our way to Buko Nero, a little hole-in-the-wall (literally – that’s apparently what the name means in Italian) restaurant along Tanjong Pagar Road. This was our third time there, and as always, we ordered the set menu but changed the main course to an item from the specials of the day.
After making a conscious effort not to have a second helping of the delicious breads, the complimentary amuse bouche arrived - today’s was tofu and tomato crostini. At first I thought the sauce was balsamic vinegar, but it was actually distinctly Asian; tasted a little like dark soya sauce mixed with sesame oil and ginger. Interesting and very nice.
Next up was the starter, which was beef carpaccio with lemon dressing and parmesan cheese, and topped with some alfalfa sprouts. The lemon dressing was refreshing without being overly sour and tart, but I think the parmesan cheese, though generously sliced, slightly overpowered the taste of the beef, so that essentially we just tasted parmesan and lemon.
The soup course was a seafood and spring onion bisque. This was yummy – the soup was incredibly flavourful and chock-full of seafood, and the tomato-based bisque wasn’t too sour. A and I slurped up every drop.
A tropical fruit granita came next, to cleanse our palate before the main course. Surprisingly, the only flavour that I could discern was guava; I couldn’t figure out what other tropical fruits went into it. This was nice and refreshing, but we did have to wait a while before it arrived, which I found rather surprising given that it’s the only non-cooked course. Maybe the granita needed some time to get frozen…
Main course came next – I had the beef tenderloin wrapped with bacon and topped with foie gras cubes, and A had the home-made tagliatelle with scallops in an aglio olio sauce. Mine first: mmmmmmm… The medium rare I ordered was perfectly done, and the bacon infused an amazing flavour into the already juicy and sweet tenderloin. The foie gras cubes added an interesting and luxurious touch to an already delicious dish. I had a couple of mouthfuls of A’s pasta, which was so simple yet so tasty. The delicate sauce relied on the scallops to provide its flavour, but what really blew me away was the home-made tagliatelle. Pasta-wise, it was the best I’ve ever had – it was cooked to a perfect al dente, and it was the first time I’ve had a pasta dish where I didn’t consider the pasta to be just an inconsequential carb.
Dessert was milk chocolate cake with caramel coulis. This tasted better than it looked. It looked like an ordinary slice of chocolate-flavoured butter cake, but it was moist, surprisingly chocolatey, and topped with mini maltesers and a kick-ass caramel sauce.
Alas, when we tried to make our next reservation, they were already fully booked for the month of April. I’ll have to call them sometime in April in the hopes of securing a spot for May. Wish me luck!
Without doubt, one of our favorite restaurants. Food almost always rocks. It’s like fine dining without being too serious (or expensive). The place is run by a husband and wife team so be prepared for service to get a bit slow when it’s busy. Maybe if we were the chatty sort that makes friends with proprietors, we’d be able to get preferred reservation places.
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