Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rather New Restaurant: Buona Terra

Hi everyone!

This restaurant is situated in the same grounds as Ki-sho which I blogged about previously and details on how to get to this place is also in that previous blogpost. It is housed in a pretty colonial house but this Italian restaurant is to the left of the "main" building, almost as if it were an annex. 

The layout of the restaurant is one I have not seen before, its just long and well rather small overall? Look at the pic below, its width only fits this table in the foreground and the table in the background + a walkway in btwn. So the entire restaurant is literally 2 rows of tables with a walkway in between! But then again, this can give a nice cosy feel because you know that the attention of the servers will never be too divided, and that there is sufficient personal space for each table.

I must first apologise for the lousy quality photos!! The lighting there isn't v good unfortunately :/ so I had to edit them a bit but the editing made them grainy.

The boy ordered their spring seasonal set menu (which changes with the season as what the name says), while I ordered ala carte! The 6 course spring set costs $128++. Will tell y'all which is a dish under the set menu or ala carte. They also have a degustation menu. Sorry if some of the descriptions are short! I cant really remember how the tastes of the boy's dishes are.

Our server was really nice! I told him I wanted to try 2 kinds of pasta but I dont want to order both. He said he'll arrange small portions of both for me so that I can try them! Great great option! I was so happy :)

2 type of complimentary bread

First you are served breadsticks - squid ink (seems to be a fad nowadays), sesame and plain. The squid ink one doesnt really taste of squid ink, just slightly salty. Sesame one was rather fragrant.

The bread in the bread basket in the foreground consists of a extremely soft fluffy hot bread roll, focaccia (think it was onion?) and not sure if there's another one. The bread roll was so soft and fluffy! The bread basket came out piping hot, definitely a good start to the meal!

Complimentary amuse bouche
Parmesan creme brulee

Rather innovative! Savory creme brulee. Its not too sweet and its quite a small mouthful so it doesnt get too jialat cheese wise cos the cheese taste is quite concentrated! 3.5/5

Beetroot carpaccio with goat cheese, orange & hazelnuts

Rather generous portion and you must be a beetroot lover to like this dish!!! The goat cheese and hazelnuts provide a good alternative taste to the beetroot, it was nice to eat them together! 3.7/5

Zucchini flower with King Crab & Broad Beans cream
Set menu

This was filled with fresh flavours, very light start to this set menu! 3.5/5

Crispy Slow cooked veal tongue with Spring Vegetables
Set menu

The boy said the veal tongue was really good, soft and tasty while the skin was crispy. One of the more outstanding dishes for him he said. 4.4/5

Tagliolini with Red Prawns & Leek Cream
Set menu

This dish reminds us of a Chinese noodle dish cos of the flavours! Tasted a little like there was wok hei haha. Smokey kind of flavour and even the texture of the noodles was kinda soft. 3.3/5

Homemade Tagliolini Pasta w Crab meat, Lemon & Italian Oscietra Caviar
Ala carte
($34 on the menu but with my "tasting" portion, I'm not sure how much they charged me in the end!)

Similarly the pasta was a little soft here but flavours were lighter with hints of lemon. Caviar really doesnt do much in terms of taste. Generous w the amt of crab meat. But I think to eat a whole portion of this would be rather monotonous 3.3/5

Crispy "Orbetello" Seabass Fillet w Crispy White Polenta and Sweet & Sour Onion

The sea bass skin was really crispy though a tad salty. The meat was very nicely cooked, still v soft and nice. Not sure abt the polenta & onions tho cos didnt try them! 3.7/5

Smoked Wagyu Beef Steak with Asparagus and Black Truffle

The boy said this was a little tough :/

Squid ink Risotto with Tomato Confit & Sauteed Squid
Ala carte
(Usual price $28, not sure how much they charged for this tasting portion)

I think its a nice refreshing change that the chef included tomatoes in this dish!! I've eaten squid ink risotto/pasta at so many places and have never had it with tomatoes and I think it provides a nice alternative sourish twang to the dish that I personally like. Felt that the squid ink sauce didnt really pack a punch tho, squid ink taste could be a little stronger! 3.7/5

Strawberry Salad with Vanilla Panna Cotta, Pistachios & Ricotta Cream

I liked this dish!!! Sour and sweet at the same time, great light refreshing end to a meal :) 4.2/5

Mixed Berry Tartelette with Vanilla Ice Cream
Ala carte

The boy told them he was celebrating my bday for me when he booked the restaurant then we thought they'd give us a cake or something. Then the staff asked me whether we wanted to order dessert and so I chose this Berry Tartelette and it came with a candle + the words happy birthday! They gave this to us with compliments. I guess this is a nice alternative to what restaurants usually do! Ie they just give you a cake w/o any choice of what you want (I'm not complaining, its alr v good they're giving it complimentary) but I guess this way at least the guest gets to choose what he/she wants. Not sure if the guests says no to dessert though haha.

The tart shell was not bad, super generous with the berries though! The ice cream melted super quickly haha and there were crushed nut bits below the ice cream! Would have preferred a slightly thicker tart shell cos you're basically eating berries only but still not bad overall! 3.7/5

This is the 2 rows of tables

Petit Fours

Some complimentary petit fours to end the meal! :) Tried the almond cookie which was nice! Cant really rmb how the rest taste!

Service was good, friendly, rather prompt though lacking sometimes. I really like how they allowed me to have tasting portions of the pasta! Was really happy about this :) 

I feel that this restaurant is like an unpolished gem that needs some improvements in the quality of the food and then it'll shine :) Its situated in a beautiful colonial house and has a rather nice ambience! 

Buona Terra
29 Scotts Road
Mon-Sat: 6.30-10.30pm
Closed on Sunday & on selective Public Holidays (contact them to find out)
Website (has their menus - ala carte & set)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rather New Restaurant: The Crostini Bar

Hi everyone!!

Have quite a few posts in the works :) so sorry for the lack of constant updates! My hols start 16 may so rest assured I'll be posting much more frequently then :)

The Crostini Bar is located at the level below Bar Stories where they used to sell furniture. The head chef was formerly head chef of Boathouse. Sorry I just realised I forgot to take a picture of the interior! So I took a photo off their Fb page!

Credits: The Crostini Bar Facebook

So basically this is at the "bar" where you can watch the chefs plate your food and prepare some of the dishes. Most of the stuff that needs cooking is done to the left of this area. Then this wooden table extends to the right of this area and can sit about 5? Then there are tables as well when you enter but the space is q cramped. A booth table for about 5-6 then a 2-seater table really close-by. But, diners can also order food upstairs to Bar Stories where there are about 20 seats.


So sorry its dirty haha I only remembered to take a shot aft dinner!! You can order from this menu or you can leave it up to the chef and its called "carte blanche". Basically you choose the number of courses, 6/7/8 course and the chef decides what you're gonna eat. Can't really remember how much the 6 & 7 courses are but the 8 course was $85 if I'm not wrong!

The boy and I decided to get an 8 course menu to share (its actually portioned for one) and then some items from the ala carte menu to share too (which is portioned for sharing). Unless otherwise marked "ala carte", the dish would be from the "carte blanche" menu.

Eggs with Iberian Flavours
Ala carte
Poached egg, asparagus, sausage, saffron emulsion

The guy told us to poke the egg and mix it w the sausages and eat them tgt and I think you must really do that cos the sausages are quite salty when eaten on its own. Nothing too spectacular this dish though it was recommended to us by our server. 3/5

Pork cheek crostini

The pork cheek doesnt have the strong smell of pork and well honestly, you can't really taste what meat you're eating! But the bread was v crispy though and the texture of the pork is really tender and soft! And the pork's not too fatty/oily and this is a plus point for me! 3/5

Crostini aux Champignon
$12 ala carte
Fricasse of Mushrooms, tartare of champignon, truffle essence

This was recommended to us by our server and if you're a mushroom lover, please do order this!!!! The thin white strip is actually mushroom (uncooked). The mushrooms (cooked) are done very nicely, crunchy with an awesome aroma. Mushroom done well this is. 4.2/5

Pan-fried foie gras with egg
$25/28, ala carte (off the menu special)

Once again you're supposed to break the egg and eat it tgt w the foie. The boy and I both thought this was a wonderful combination! It was our first time trying this combi, and am happy to report that it WORKS! Now why didnt anyone think of this earlier. One of the more memorable dishes that night. Foie gras serving is actually bigger than what it seems here in the pic. 4.3/5

Tomato salad

The tomato you see in the foreground (the one righttttt in front) is actually soaked w booze! I totally didnt know that and thought it was some normal sweet cherry tomato and popped it in my mouth and bit it expecting sweet juice to spurt out but no it was laced with alcohol!!! Haha what a pleasant surprise! Well I should have known better since this is from the folks behind Bar Stories upstairs. There was also a dried tomato and fresh cherry tomatoes atop the crostini. Aside from the booze-laden one, there wasnt anything special about this dish. 3.5/5

Green pea soup with croutons and caviar

The green pea soup didn’t taste strongly of green pea although you can tell that it is green pea. Its slightly creamy and we both thought that it went better with the “sauce” at the side which tastes like truffle. The boy said the croutons were really salty, so I didn’t eat those haha so no comments about them! the caviar in the middle didn’t do much for the dish except that it looked nice. And well, its caviar. 3.5/5

I forgot what this dish is called but basically it tastes like home-made luncheon meat haha. It has like small pieces of pork cheek, sausages etc inside and it really tastes like luncheon meat haha. It was slightly salty so you gotta eat it w the veggies provided. 3.4/5

We were given a free drink as they asked (very nicely) us to move twice and we didn’t know what we were given but we could guess that it was the strawberry shortcake drink shown on the menu towards the left side. It really tastes like strawberry shortcake!!! A refreshing drink cos of the strawberries but some sweet aftertaste too, like vanilla. Wonderful cocktail mix. Makes me want to go back and try more! 4.5/5

Seared scallops with cauliflower veloute

The scallops were a little overcooked for me but went quite well w the veloute even though it didn’t taste like cauliflower. Went rather well with the mustard at the side too. I’m not sure what the dried chips are but they give a slightly bitter aftertaste. Below the scallops lie a bed of leek (we think) and they’re soaked in booze too! Rather pleasant surprise once again. So be prepared to be surprised by food spiked w booze while dining there! 3.3/5

Palette cleanser

This was SUPER sour!!!!!!! It’s a granite made of yuzu I think but its super duperrrrrr sour!!!!! The strawberry and raspberries are actually “Sweeter” then the granite! Please do not take this in big mouths. That said, its an awesome palette cleanser!

Pan seared sea bass 
With barley risotto, kailan cake, fish veloute

This was really creamy and we felt that it got kinda jialat towards the end. Like the kailan cake was creamy by itself and then the fish veloute was creamy too, so there was just too much creamy here. First few bites were yummy though. Perhaps the palette cleanser should have been given tgt with this dish or minus one of the creamy items. The sea bass was done really nicely though and the skin was slightly salty, which cuts through the creaminess. I liked the barley risotto by itself. So well, this dish is more of a I-like-the-components-separately instead of as a whole dish. 3.2/5

Apple textures
Apple parfait (cube), apple chip (darkest green thing there), apple jelly (snake-like transparent thing below), apple w walnut (rounded ball)

Apple parfait - this one didnt really have a strong apple taste and its texture is like soft but with a little bit of bite to it.

Apple chip - like any other apple chip with a rather strong apple taste

Apple jelly - texture is more on the hard side, not strong apple taste but can tell its apple

Apple w walnut - this is like caramelized and kinda tastes like roasted pork/charsiew haahha I know it sounds damn ridiculous but I think its cos of the roasty/caramelized taste haha. The boy gave this description and at first I was like "whuttttt?!" but then I tried it and it DOES taste like that in the first few bites haha.

So overall this gets 3.4/5

Ambience: small and cosy, bustling but not overly noisy

Service: well it was kind of lacking towards the later part of the night where more customers came in as our cutlery wasn't changed when we moved on to dessert, and our water wasn't refilled too. 

Overall: I think that the food is rather innovative with some surprises here and there, a rather good option to try out if you're in the area! Do try their cocktails!

The Crostini Bar
55 Haji Lane
4-11pm Mon-Fri
4pm-1.30am Sat-Sun
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