Official Website: http://www.valentino.sg/; check out the Menu here.
Address: 200 Turf Club Road, #01-19 Singapore 287994
Tel: 6462 0555
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12-2.30pm; 6-10.30pm (Closed on Monday)
Budget: We spent about $375 for 6 people.
Special Report by London Gal
Buon giorno! After having tasted what was touted as the “best Italian food in Seville”, I came home to find myself hit with an immense pasta craving. This is extremely unusual considering that I’ve never been a big fan of carbs; even my Italy trip in 2011 didn’t make me miss pasta thiiiis much! Nevertheless, I found the perfect excuse (aka my sister’s birthday) to satisfy my pasta craving at Ristorante da Valentino!
I first heard about Valentino’s when a friend suggested having dinner there during our Christmas meetup in December. We didn’t manage to go in the end because they were fully booked. Fortunately for my family this time, we managed to get a reservation on a Sunday evening because I called days in advance to book.
First of all, I think their warm service is commendable. We had a difficult time trying to locate the restaurant because the father had parked his car at the wrong carpark. -.- The waiter gave us clear directions over the phone and even stood outside the restaurant to welcome us. Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were promptly directed to our table. What really impressed me was the sense of humour of the waiters. This, together with the homely decor in the restaurant, mirrored my dining experiences in Italian trattorias.
We decided on our dishes fairly quickly after taking several glances at the menu because everyone was starving. My only gripe was that their Specials of the Day weren’t printed on the menu and the waiter had to recite them one by one from his (super long!) list. By the time he reached the 4th/5th special dish of the day, I had already zoned out. Nevertheless, SG Boy and I managed to pick 2 of their daily specials – Baked Sea Bass in Olive Oil and Lamb Shank in Tomato Sauce.
Freshly baked bread was served to us right after we placed our orders. The crust was crispy while the insides were soft, and the pesto sauce dip complemented the bread perfectly.
For starters, we had the Rocket Salad (also a Special of the Day) as well as the Misto di Verdure alla Griglia (platter of grilled eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, artichoke and olives). A problem I find with Italian cuisine is that all of their veggie dishes, even the grilled ones, are served cold. I don’t really fancy cold vegetables, apart from salads, cos they just don’t seem as fresh to me. Nevertheless, at least the grilled vegetables weren’t overly oily. The rocket salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette was also extremely refreshing, and definitely helped to whet our appetite for the heavier dishes coming up.
As for the pasta, we managed to try the Linguine Aglio Olio ai Fruitti di Mare (Seafood linguine in a ‘very healthy olive oil sauce’), Fettucine al Granchio (Squid ink fettucine tossed with crabmeat in creamy tomato sauce) as well as Linguine Aglio Olio ai Funghi (Mushroom linguine aglio olio). The seafood that came with the aglio olio was really fresh; the prawns were juicy! Omnomzzz. For someone who isn’t a fan of creamy pasta, I’ve got to say that the squid ink fettucine was actually quite delicious and it was topped with huge chunks of succulent crab meat. The serving portion was just right (not too large) and hence the whole dish could easily be finished by one person without him/her feeling too overwhelmed by the creamy sauce.
Overall, I thought the pasta dishes were a replica of what I had in Italy (or maybe even better!). The seafood pasta I tasted in Seville, however, still beats this hands-down though. My mum, however, claimed that her aglio olio was a tad too oily. I guess she’s probably not used to having her pasta tossed in so much oil.
SG Boy tried the Lamb Shank in Tomato Sauce. Considering the fact that he’s semi-vegetarian and doesn’t really fancy meat, I guess the lamb shank must have been really delicious (either that or he was famished) since he polished off every bit by himself. According to Mr Mushroom, good lamb shank should be broiled for long hours so that the meat and tendons are sufficiently seasoned and peels off from the bones readily. Indeed, all these were present in every bit of the lamb shank, but SG Boy thought that the lamb shank could have been served piping hot as that would have made the lamb shank more enjoyable.
My Baked Sea Bass came whole and the attentive waiter deboned it for me at the table. Unfortunately, I still found several small bones while eating. Although the fish was fresh and had a melt-in-the-mouth texture, I think I’ve had better sea bass in London… Hence, this was definitely not worth its high price tag here, in my honest opinion.
As it was my sister’s birthday, we ordered a Rum and Raisin Chocolate Cake from Perla’s Boutique Bakery (they have a section in the restaurant and an outlet at Takashimaya). A huge group of waiters surrounded our table to sing her a birthday song when the cake was served. How sweet. :)
Final Verdict: All in all, it was our first time dining in an Italian restaurant in Singapore so we didn’t really know what to expect. Our dining experience at Valentino’s definitely surpassed my expectations (for Singapore’s standard) but price-wise, I think I’d prefer to spend that money on food in Europe instead… I would recommend this place, but probably for special occasions only. :)
ps. SG Boy commented that our server resembles Encik Muthu. HAHA.