If you are looking for a romantic Italian restaurant that not many locals know about, check out the La Brezza in the St. Regis Singapore. While the alfesco-area may be slightly warm in the afternoon, it is a beautiful dining area that basks in golden glory in the evening - perfect for that bottle of champagne you have been waiting for so long.
Chef Luca Moioli who has more than 20 years experience in culinary will helm the kitchen at La Brezza. Watch out for authentic Italian cuisine done to Chef Luca's rendition of contemporary touches and cooking techniques. I went down to La Brezza one evening for a media tasting and do pardon the photos which are slightly grainy since La Brezza has an incredibly romantic (read: dark) setting and I did not want to disturb the other guests with flash. Also do note that the photos that I have taken are of sampling sizes only - the actual dishes that you get in the restaurant will be a lot larger.
Similar to most Italian restaurants, a bread basket is served and while I usually feel that these are just customary, the olive bread here is absolutely amazing and I wish I could snack on them more but I obviously had to leave space for the actual dinner.
The first antipasti dish we sampled was the Cappesante Saltate e Granchio (Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops and Alaskan Crab Meat Salad, Crispy Breaded Crab "Polpetta" Salmon Roe with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette). As Gordon Ramsay would tell you (one way or the other), scallops are incredibly easy to mess up - although he will probably do it more eloquently, drenching it with expletives. The plump scallop was cooked to perfection, reveling a subtle and sweet flavour. What surprised me more in this dish was the role that the lemon thyme vinaigrette and salmon roe seemed to play in bringing out a complex flavour profile. I will definitely recommend this dish if you are a fan of shellfish.
The Vellutata di Zucca e Ravioli di Anatra which is a beautiful harmony of butternut squash, ravioli (duck and mushroom), basil foam and crispy pumpkin was probably my favourite dish of the night. While I am generally not a fan of squash or any cultivars of the squash plant (e.g. pumpkin), the sweetness and consistency of the soup left me wanting for more. To make things even better, the duck and mushroom filling was just wonderfully flavoured and wrapped in a delicate homemade pasta.
The Risotto alla Milanese like most well-cooked risotto is creamy and flavourful. The dish also comes with bone marrow, shallot and saffron fibers (which you can actually taste!). It is usually served with a huge chunk of bone marrow but the photograph (like all other dishes) shows only a tasting portion. Overall a pretty well executed dish but if you love your rissoto, you probably won't go wrong with this.
Filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, the cannelloni is served with sauteed asparagus, pine nuts, fennel puree, pomodoro espuma as well as fried tarragon leaves.
One of Chef Luca's signature dishes is the Carrè e Stinco di Agnello - grilled lamb chops with a hazelnut crust and lamb shank that is served with a potato gratin and avocado salad with thyme sauce and pomegranate essence on the side. Firstly, even though I know the main focus of the dish is the lamb, I absolutely loved the potato gratin! While it is a simple marriage of potato and cream, it was just plainly delicious. The lamb chops were also cooked really well and the hazelnut crust (combined with bread) adds a different dimension to regular lamb chops.
If you are looking for fish, consider the Cernia in Guazzetto (slow-stewed grouper fillet, clams and mussels, served with tomato gravy, capers, oregano and lemon zest). I didn't actually sample this dish but my friend (who is a pescetarian) actually liked it!
No dinner is complete without dessert - we sampled the Semifreddo alla Vaniglia which is a vanilla parfait wrapped in mixed berry jelly, forest berry compote and basil lime sorbetto. I really love the richness and consistency of the vanilla parfait. The mixed berry jelly is definitely an interesting touch and I thought that the tartness of the forest berry compote went really well with the refreshing basil lime sorbetto. If you prefer the classics, you can also opt for the Tiramisu Veneziano (S$14++) instead!
This was an invited media-tasting by La Brezza.