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Saturday, 14 November 2015

[Media Invite] Dinner at Ristorante Italiano The Waterfall @ Shangri-La Hotel

22 Orange Grove Road, Level 1 Garden Wing, Shangri-La Orchard, Singapore 258350
Tel:  6737 3644

Nestled behind a large man-made waterfall within the lush gardens of Shangri-La Orchard is The Waterfall Restaurant, now an Italian restaurant offering unique and authentic Southern Italian cuisine helmed by Chef Marco De Vincentis. This restaurant used to serve a more health-conscious menu but has since closed and is revamped to its fully-Italian state now.

Within these walls of eclectic colonial interiors, Silician native Chef Marco introduces a salumeria menu of exclusive, imported cold cuts and cheeses, as well as 26 new a la carte heirloom creations, including 5 vegan dishes. The seafood are fresh and pastas are handmade as well, and they would all be included in the specially curated menu.

The wine list is extensive as well, consisting of wine fines all across Italy, or the house wine, Nero d'Avola, which is stored in an oak barrel, and is made from the most important red wine grape in Sicily. There is also a wide variety of sherries and grappas for the non-wine drinkers, and a barista concocting the perfect brew for coffee lovers.

Alfresco dining option is available as well, with a gorgeous pool view and some natural breezes. Personally, I am a big fan of outdoorsy, poolside dining - the unbridled sense of space, the ease, and the romance of it is boundless.

This is a media invited tasting session attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere and familiar faces, including Purple Eats, Fundamentally Flawed and The Hungry Bunny; and hosted by Wen Xian of Shangri-La.

Before the meal was served, we had glimpses of our tasting menu and the restaurant's gigantic menu, as well as the wine list - so we knew what was in-store for us for the night.

We started with the Insalata di Granchio e Finocchi (SGD$23.00) basically translated into Crab Salad with Fennel, comprising of oranges, fennels, crab, mixed salad, black olives, cherry tomatoes and Tropea onions. It was a flavourful starter made up of a multitude of colours, sealing in the sweetness of the cold crab, the citrusy delight of oranges, the slight bitterness of fennel leaves and piquant spicy taste of the red Tropea onions. Definitely appetite-whetting and we were well-prepped for the next course.

Spaghetti Alla Chitarra con Ragu di Crostacei (SGD$29.00) was served next, in a pan - handmade pasta cooked with shrimps, prawns, garlic, chili, extra virgin olive oil and lemon. The ingredients reminded me of aglio olio but there was very little element of spiciness here - the broth was more saccharine with the subtle taste of seafood. Pasta was done al dente, the way I like it - better to chew on IMO - soaking up the scrumptious gravy.

Next, it was to be Spigola all'Acqua Pazza (SGD$36.00) - a refreshing and light Neapolitan-style dish of sea bass with fresh cherry tomato, olives, asparagus, capers, wine and parsley. The sea bass was softly flakey, its milky flesh was luscious with freshness. The sauce was sweet, slightly zesty, lending an edge to the light dish perfectly.

Following that, the Agnello Arrosto con Timo e Patate (SGD$36.00) - roasted lamb rack with potatoes, thyme and sautéed vegetables.  A very good rack it was - tender lamb with slight crisp on the exterior, boosting of a light, smokey hint to its heavier flavour. the flesh was easy on the knife and the teeth, infusing the palate with heartily good flavours. The sautéed vegetables added refreshing tangy touch to it.

Desserts were up next - we had a platter of assorted delicacies for sharing - consisting of Biancomangiare, Chocolate Profiteroles, Ricotta Cheesecake and Tiramisu.

The Biancomangiare (SGD$12.00) is a traditional Italian dessert with its roots in the medieval monastries. This Italian almond pudding has an appearance and texture like panna-cotta, and it was smooth, sweetly redolent with almond's aroma and doused with a refreshing hint of orange blossom flavouring.

Profiteroles (SGD$15.00) - tiny little cream puffs topped with thick chocolate coating. The puff was soft, and chewy in texture, bursting to pour forth cold, sweet cream. I enjoyed this little treat as well.

Next, Ricotta Cheesecake (SGD$15.00) - rich, creamy and dense in texture, tasting a little like a yogurt cake because of its natural sweetness. This little piece of heaven is the perfect antidote after a heavier meal, sweetening the palate before another glass of white or sherry.

Finally, Tiramisu (SGD$15.00), a very Italian dessert - I seldom go for an Italian meal without having one of these. A moistened slab of coffee-and-amaretto infused sponge cake, with a velvety texture and tasting sharply of its components, this one won my heart. I loved how it melted upon contact with my tongue but the flavour lingered long and smooth, like a fine piece of music.

Some of us had tea or coffee after the meal; I had another glass of wine (prior to wine, I had tomato juices - pretty good!). Not only is the Cuppaccino here artified beautifully, but the flavour was good too - the barista must have done something right with this Italian roast.

Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience here - from Chef Marco's sharing to the artistically-beautful settings to the palatable dishes. Good, honest Italian dishes made in good quality and fine ingredients - I see that it will soon be a favorite dining spot amongst Italian food lovers.

Thank you Shangri-La and Wen Xian for hosting this session; and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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