Friday, February 19, 2010

Forlino - Lunch

I was curious to try the Forlino lunch menu, since I have only been to Forlino once for dinner and once for a special occasion. Their lunch menu is reasonably priced $38++ for starter, main, coffee/tea and petit fours.
I was again positively impressed by the Chef, who can certainly prepare good Italian fare with a modern touch.

This focaccia is a Forlino's classic and they serve it with every meal.

The amouse bouche was a small salad with a very well balanced vinaigrette.

I really enjoyed this turkey salad with herbs. It's a healthy starter, but it's really an explosion of flavours around lean slices of turkey meat. I enjoyed the mustard decoration, and I wished there was more of that.

I decided to order gnocchi in addition to the regular lunch set menu since I had consistently good pastas both times I had eaten at this restaurant, and I wanted to test the Chef once more. The gnocchi was served with a rustic mushroom sauce that had a robust and well rounded flavour of carrots, mushrooms, parsley and a tinge of meat stock. The actual gnocchi dumplings were fantastic. Since I often cook gnocchi myself, I could appreciate the skill of the Chef required to put these together. There was a very low content of flour, which made the gnocchi extremely light to the palate. It felt like they disappeared in my mouth. The lightness of the gnocchi, combined with such a simple but robust sauce, really made me feel like I was back in Italy. I loved it. No cream / truffle oil shortcuts, just proper cooking.

The pork cheek with rosemary polenta and radicchio rosso was my second favourite. The cheek was very tender and well seasoned. The polenta was unlike what I am used to: it was a much smoother and richer paste, with a grainy texture, and a rosemary flavour which added that extra interest in this otherwise ordinary staple. Great, simple, classic combination, well executed.

I already had this cod with Champagne sauce at my previous visit. It's an OK dish, but in my opinion not in the same league as the pork cheek, primarily as the cod tasted a bit drier than I would have liked it.

To conclude the meal, I ordered a taster of three flavours of ice cream: Aceto Balsamico, Chestnut and vanilla, Robiola cheese. The balsamic vinegar flavour tasted like candied fruit. There are many candied fruits lovers around, but unfortunately I am not one of them. I have been wanting to try this ice cream flavour for a long time, and I was a bit disappointed to find out that it's not for me. I really liked the taste of the robiola cheese ice cream, although its texture was a little rich in crystals, which might not be to everyone's taste. The chestnut ice cream on the other hand was extremely smooth and rich, and I would personally give it an higher score than all others.
I had a very pleasant lunch at Forlino, and I will certainly be back for more. I am especially interested in trying more of their pasta, since good pasta in Singapore is unfortunately such a rare find. After all, how much value can an Italian restaurant offer if they can't display pride in their pasta?

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