It was time for annual gathering between Edwin*, Chris*, Adeline* and me - foodies who loved exploring nice cuisines and concepts long before food blogging became a trend. The resturant for this time round was Basilico Italian Restaurant at Regent Hotel - famous for its superb Italian Buffet, and all of us anticipated the dinner.
Situated at 1 Cuscaden Road, level 2, Singapore 249715 and the telephone number to hit is 6725 3232, this elegantly-decorated, dimly-lit restaurant with dark wood panelling is divided into different dining halls, centered by a buffet counter.
So, it works this way - order a main course, and one is entitled to the Buffet selection at the round counter. We had thought that it was an entirely Italian buffet concept, counters filled with platters of different Italian pizzas and pastas, but it was not so. Nonetheless, we ordered a Main Course each, and then went ahead to attack the buffet bar.
I returned with Bread Sticks with Salsa Dip to start - boring, but an essential try amongst the rows of bread rollls and warm bakes. Crispy was the magic word, and coupled with the Salsa Dip, well, a different level of enjoyment.
Then my salad, Grilled Swordfish and tiny portions of Italian cured meat - salami, parma ham etc - to kickstart the dinner. The Swordfish was deliciously chewy; a little salty so I neutralized it with the sweet crispy freshness of vegetables. The cured meats as well - thin, tasty and a little heavy on the salty factor, easily redeemed by the blander vegetables I paired them with.
Finally, platter of seafood - fresh succulent shrimps, tender juicy heavenly raw oysters and asparagus. Yes, fresh and delicious - I went back for second helpings before the main courses hit the table.
The entrees were finally placed in front of us - we were half-full by then, but perked up at the sight of these delicacies.
First there was the grilled Cod Fish, tender, smooth and fresh, sitting on a bed of tomatoes and Rocket Salad (arugula). It was a generous-sized chunk of fish, and the savoury gravy with hints of lemon enhanced the tastiness of the dish to perfection. One bite, and we were hooked.
Then the gigantic and thickly-crusted woodfire Squid Ink Pizza with Smoked Salmon and caviar - delicious, but mostly because of the sumptuous factor from the salmon and caviar. The crust was a little thick for my liking, and "squid ink" could not be tasted though it is rather evident in color. I thought it was a tad dry, but we were assured that traditional, authentic woodfire Italian pizzas are such - so we learned to enjoy the moment and chew.
Next, the Tenderloin Steak - a sizeable slab of beef rather tender, succulent and even somewhat "bouncy" no thanks to the tiny strips of fats found in the steak itself - but that is to be expected. The mushroom sauce was thick and richly aromatic, so it coated the beef well and boosted the taste of half-grilled red meat.
Finally, my King Scallops - a mouthwatering, grilled dish of succulent, juicy, bouncy pieces of heaven served on sticks. Yes, they were huge, and each bite was a delight. The scallops tasted of the sweet, faint distinct metallic taste of seafood that I absolutely adore, and the bouncy meat was meltingly soft. This was the winner of all four, for sure - and the only one that got polished 100% (duh!)
Though satiated and full to the brink, desserts were never resisted. An assortment of cakes and Italian pastries were piled onto my plate to sweeten the deal.
We spent $90.00 each on this meal, but it was a truly enjoyable dining experience, spent in a quietly lavish setting with good friends lapping up good food together.