to crave, to seek & to sin

Savour the Seasons @ Basilico

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An award- winning restaurant from the Regent Hotel, Basilico has been around for many years.  Placing much emphasis on fresh, seasonal and authentic Italian cuisine, many foodies would concur with me that the restaurant definitely offers one of the best buffets in Singapore. I have previously covered an entry on Basilico a couple of years back, paid many subsequent visits thereafter and came back here again for the launch of their “Savour the Seasons” menu.

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Come this year, Basilico celebrates each season with a different spread of exquisite creations that are prepared from the ingredients produced at their peak. The flagship Italian restaurant at the Regent invites guess to “Savour the Seasons” with a seasonally- driven menu that changes quarterly to reflect the time of the year. Only available during dinner, customers would get to enjoy two menus and the choice of a main course. The mains as shown below, were all featured during one of the restaurant’s weekday lunch.

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If you have always been a fan of the semi-cheese plates often found in the antipasti menu of fine Italian restaurants, Basilico might well be the only restaurant that offers a seemingly endless flow of them. The selection of semi- cheese at Basilico includes favourites such as Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella, both made from Cow’s Milk. Nothing in my opinion, goes better than an assorted range of fresh juicy tomatoes that burst with refreshing bright flavours-  Pomodoro Datterino, Pomodoro Gramato and Pomodoro San Marzano.

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Basilico continues to amaze its diners with an incredulous spread of cheese and wide assortment of accompaniments. Featuring cheese made from the milk of cows, goats and sheep, the Valtellina Casera, Cacio Tartufo Nero, Bastardo, Pecorino Tartufo, Affienaggio, Flore Sardo and Pecorino Romano were available during the day of my visit.

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One might wish to consider pairing some of their dishes with the small of bread such as the Ciabatta (Vegetarian) and Focaccia (with Garlic and Tomato). The star item from the section was definitely Chef’s Angelo’s Squid Ink Bread, the Lilicchio is a must- try- the intensely- flavoured and slightly chewy bread drew praises from many of us across the dining table. This was clearly better than the renditions I have tried from the other patisseries.

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Any carnivore’s dream, an assorted platter of pork ham is showcased right beside the Cheese section. The Prosciutto di Parma, more commonly dubbed as Parma Ham, vanished from the plate every few minutes and it was certainly one of the crowd favourites that day. Like always, it was just delightful to have both the Parma Ham and the Rock Melon (which was utterly juicy sweet) together. Other numbers included the Prociutto Cotto, Salame Milano and the Pancetta.

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A usual suspect in many buffet spreads, the Smoked Salmon here could possibly be one of the thicker and more smooth slivers I have ever found. The Mussel Salad was hardly complicated with any heavy dressing and impressed with the main feature’s natural juices. The thin slices of Tuna Carpaccio were decent while the Marinated Anchovies provided a nice bite and a salty- sourish taste.

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The Marinated Prawns were done simple just like the Mussel Salad, very much left to the succulence and freshness of the main highlight of the dish to make an impression. I took much pleasure in the Tuna Salad, and I believe that the moist did help a lot. Not a common find, I saw a couple of diners helping themselves to the Marinated Artichoke, in which I did have some myself and I have always thought of it as for more of an acquired taste.

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The Baked Solefish was quite brilliantly executed, the flavours from the accompanying ingredients in the pan came together in harmony and were well- absorbed by the fish. On the other hand, the Grilled Pork Ribs were a tad dry for my liking. The Grilled Salmon did fare better- moisture was locked in while the skin was lightly crisp.

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Other main dishes include the Roasted Chicken and the Wagyu Rump and many other simple yet satisfying dishes such as Broccoli Soup, Chicken Stew, Braised Eggplants and Roasted Potato. Like how I would have personally preferred them to be, these had a home- made feel to them.

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An Italian buffet would not be complete without a selection of pizzas- with so many different numbers Basilico already has to offer, any diner should really prepare himself to throw any diet plans out of the door. On the day itself, there were three different kinds of pizza available, the Pizza Prosciutto Cotto, Pizza Margherita and the Pizza ai Quattro Formaggi,

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For me, the Pizzocherri with Truffle and Cheese Cream Sauce was one of the most memorable highlights from the day, the infusion of the combination of flavours was extremely aromatic and worked its magic on my tastebuds. I enjoyed it so much that I just had to help myself to another serving. The Linguine with Seafood was pretty good, lightly drizzled with olive oil and accompanied with generous servings of fresh seafood items. The Beef Lasagna was actually rather soul- satisfying, the sweet tangy, savoury and creamy notes from the creation did more than just quell my cravings for the all-so-common Italian dish.

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Moving on to the Savour the Seasons ala- carte selection, we started off with the Il Crudo, which featured the Sicilian Tuna Loin tossed with Bronte Pistachio, Sea Bass Fillet cured with Amalfi Lemon and the Cured Salmon marinated with Wild Fennel. While the plate did indisputably boast the freshness of the various slices of fish, each was brilliantly paired with delightful accompaniments that provided an additional layer of both taste and textural dimension.

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From the current Winter menu, the Risotto ai Porcini was another one of my favourites for the day.  The Risotto with Porcini Mushroom, Braised Young Leek and Cured Venison Tenderloin with Juniper Berries in a Gaia Barbaresco Wine Reduction was not only done till al- dente perfection, but cooked together with the other ingredients, endowed the rice grains with a distinctive aromatic fragrance. Conveying a medley of savoury and (just a little) tangy flavours, the dish grows on one with every mouthful.

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Available during the season of Spring (April- June), the Agnello Sardo– the Grilled Spring Lamb Chops were deeply flavourful and a slight gaminess could be discerned. Texture- wise, the meat buckled easily to the knife and provided for a nice delightful bite. Served with Castello Artichokes , Violet Potato Puree and Thyme Jus, the mouth- watering delicacy is one that is worth anticipating for Spring.

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The La Porchetta, Slow- roasted Suckling Pig with Radicchio and Pecorino in a Cartoccio Peach and Basil sauce was a plate that drew nods across the table, many who were bowled over by the crackling crispy skin. Featuring a fine proportion of lean meat and fats, the scrumptious dish should please both the heart and stomach.

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With only twelve of these gorgeous- looking orbs made available every day, the La Sfera al Pistacchio– Pistachio Sphere might well be one of the best creations of the day. Meticulously crafted and elegantly plated together with several other ingredients, many of us found it hard to get started on the dessert.

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When cracked open, many of us were surprising to find even more raspberry fruits hidden within the swirl of premium pistachio cream. The highlight of the exquisite plate provided for a nutty fragrance that. This is a show- stopping dessert that is not just fine- looking on the outside, but is also packed with goodness beneath the chocolate casing. The dessert is available at The Regent’s Dolcetto.

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The Classic Brownie was delightfully chocolatey, moist and compact while not being overly heavy on the palate. The Pistachio Cake met my expectations, faring well in both the taste and textural department. The Fruit Cake was quite good too, the sponge cake flaunted a slight vanilla essence that went well with the accompanying fresh fruits. For the Tiramisu Cake– just slightly after the buffet started and the diners were making their rounds, I have heard many swooning over the Tiramisu Cake here at Basilico, a couple saying that it is a must- try. I was unfortunate to be unable to get a slice of the cake.

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The Sicilian Ricotta Cake was not too rich, nor it was too light- very well- balanced, I would say. Both the Neopolitan Sfogliatelle and the pastry shell of the Cannoli were unfortunately, a tad too hard for my preference, though the filling from the latter was indisputably delectable.

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Many other petite dessert cups and bites are also offered, such as the Vanilla Panna Cotta, Lemon and Meringue Cake, Mango Pudding and many more. Not to forget the freshly made Italian Gelato Selection available near the entrance of the restaurant, the elaborate dessert selection would certainly fulfil the gastronomical dreams of anyone with a sweet tooth. These are more than worthy of saving your stomach space for.

To sum up my overall experience from my visit- its been many years, and Basilico has never disappointed. It still remains as my favourite buffet restaurant and is certainly value-for-money. All I can say is that with Savour the Seasons, a visit to Basilico is even more a must. My verdict after this review? Still one of my favourite restaurants and definitely my favourite place to enjoy a quality- driven buffet.

Many thanks to Miss Irene Kew from The Regent for the kind invitation.

Basilico
The Regent
1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2
Singapore 249715

Contact Number: 6725 3232

Operating Hours and Prices (For Buffet Only):
Mondays till Fridays, Lunch- 12.00pm till 2.30pm ($50.00++)
Saturdays, Lunch- 12.00pm till 2.30pm ($58.00++)
Sundays, Brunch- 12.00pm till 3.00pm ($92.00++; $148.00++ for free flow of wine champagne)
Mondays till Sundays, Dinner Semi-Buffet- 6.30pm till 10pm ($82.00++)

 

Jasper N.

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