After sampling the beautiful creations from Executive Sous Chef Angelo Ciccone for Viaggio Italiano previously, I have been meaning to go back. Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Regent Singapore (which I have very fond memories of having spent a luxurious weekend here with my puppy - yes it is a pet-friendly hotel!) again to sample the brand new à la carte dinner menu at Basilico (and to meet the new head chef Luca Beccalli in person).
Chef Luca Beccalli fell in love with cooking at a young age of 15 and have ever since worked his way through numerous boutique hotels and indecent restaurants in Italy. After joining the prestigious Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Chef Luca has stepped foot in Asia for the very first time as the new head chef of the award-winning flagship Italian restaurant, Basilico - located within the Regent Singapore.
Chef Luca's creations are reminiscent of his childhood and often inspired by maternal figures throughout his life - both his mother and his grandmother. He strongly believes that his creations are a reflection of his personality - young, colourful and Italian.
The first dish we sampled was the 60-day Cured Wagyu Beef with 40-month Aged Parmesan Cheese and Summer Salad with Amalfi Lemon Dressing (S$31++) - do note that everything photographed here are sampling and tasting portions (unless stated otherwise) and therefore you can definitely expect a larger portion when you visit. The dish is stunning and yet not overly complicated. I really like the inclusion of edible flowers and lemon dressing - definitely befitting of the Summer Salad status. The next dish blew me away and I was (and still am) very disappointed in myself for not having tried this previously - the signature (and almost-famous) Focaccia Mascarpone. Sure it may not look like much but wow the flavours really won me over. The dish is an ingenious combination of mascarpone, parmesan and mozzarella cheese and it is baked to resemble a pizza - you have to try this dish for sure!
The next dish was the San Marzano Tomato Tartare, Smoked Burrata, Oregano Crostini and Frisée Salad with Basil Dressing (S$24++) - light, refreshing and yet full-bodied because of the delicious smoked burrata. As someone who doesn't like his greens as much, this dish was surprisingly good. The tomato tartare was simple but filled with flavours - one of the perks of using quality ingredients. The smoked burrata on the other hand was spectacular and contained traces of smoked applewood.
Honestly, this dish spooked me a little initially when I saw it on the menu and identified Gorgonzola cheese - I am not a fan of strong cheeses largely so no bleu for me please. Ironically, this was perhaps my favourite main from what I have tasted that night (apart from that focaccia of course!). The Fagottini Pasta stuffed with Pear and Tuscan Pecorino Cheese in Sweet Gorgonzola Sauce (S$34++) was surprisingly refreshing and the sweet gorgonzola sauce was not at all overpowering. I really like the contrast of sweetness and saltiness from the pear and the cheese respectively in this dish.
Another crowd favourite that night was the Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb, Braised Leeks and Legume Ragout drizzled with Barbera Wine and Star Anise Sauce (S$38++). I thought this dish was great but not spectacular (especially when compared to the other stellar dishes that I sampled that night). I really did like the Barbera Wine and Star Anise Sauce which I think may go well with a different meat like duck instead. If you are a lamb-lover (and I do mean the meat, not the animal), this dish is worth a try!
The final course to every true Italian meal is dessert (or rather, coffee with a handsome dash of grappa). The Homemade Saffron Gelato with Amaretti Biscuit and Amarena Cherry (S$14++) was visually stunning and taste-wise it was perfect! The chocolate sphere was served on its own before hot chocolate sauce was poured over to make way for the beautiful saffron gelato underneath. This dessert is a good enough reason to visit Basilico.