Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Food Diary #5 Restaurant Week 2012 at Il Lido, Some Thoughts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Cantaloupe soup, il lido
Wild prawn salad with artichoke cream and tarragon, il lido
crab cappelletti, il lido

Singapore restaurant week is officially over! So, how did it go for you? Was it one too many meal to handle? Or did you skip it altogether? I spent an incredible Friday afternoon at Il Lido with great company. The service was impeccable, as was the view from the al fresco dining area, though it did get a bit warm towards the end. Nothing an ice cold glass of beer can't cure. We started out with a cold amuse bouche of Cantaloupe Soup. It was pleasantly sweet, but not spectacular. This was followed by another amuse bouche of truffle-infused Arancini Di Riso (fried risotto balls). Excellent stuff, with the truffle aroma thoroughly permeating the whole morsel. The crispy exterior made for a great contrast in textures. The Wild Prawn Salad with Artichoke Cream and Tarragon came next and this really drew me in. The prawns were large and well-seasoned, but it was the artichoke cream that utterly intrigued me. Maybe because I've only ever had it once before this, and I'm still trying to figure out the flavour. So subtle, but takes just that little getting used to. In this form, the taste is lovely. Creamy, but unlike anything I've ever tasted. Next came the Crab Cappelletti with Spicy Pachino Tomatoes and Capers. These little "hats" looked and tasted fantastic. No mind-blowing ingredients here, just chunks of really fresh crab meat enclosed in delicate Cappelletti pasta. The tomato sauce was just that, pure, unembellished, but it works because you really get to taste the uninterrupted freshness of the crab. I loved it. The main course of Wagyu Beef Cheek with Creamy Truffle Potatoes and Chanterelle was highly anticipated but fell a little short for me. It was achingly tender, no doubt, but a little too rich for my taste. I am a grilled, juicy steak kinda girl. The decadent lunch ended well with a competent Tiramisú with Homemade Coffee Liqueur and servings of coffee and tea. Overall, it was a fantastic meal, particularly for the price, and I'm happy to report that my restaurant week experience was a great one!

Wagyu beef cheek, il lido
Tiramisu, il lido

What I'm uncomfortable with, however, is what some restaurants are throwing out on the pretext of "restaurant week". Before making my reservation, I made it a point to check all the restaurant week menus against usual menus and was completely shocked at some discoveries I made. In particular, there were restaurants that actually charged a higher price for their restaurant week menu compared to their usual prix fixe menu despite similar or even lower quality ingredients. This is simply unacceptable. Isn't the point of restaurant week to allow the masses access to top of the line restaurants at an affordable price? There were also many, many restaurants that skimped on their restaurant week menus, and it is painfully evident in contrast to their usual offerings. My message to these restaurants is this: if your operations cannot afford such a stint, that's fine, don't participate. If you've chosen to participate, the least you can do is honour the spirit of restaurant week. I can just imagine the number of unsuspecting diners winding up severely disappointed by their restaurant week experience. In contrast, Il Lido's restaurant week menu was actually a replica of their "classic set menu", which goes for $88 usually. Now that, is what restaurant week should be all about.

One Amuse Bouche of Cantaloupe Soup | Two Wild Prawn Salad with Artichoke Cream and Tarragon | Three Crab Cappelletti with Spicy Pachino Tomatoes and Capers | Four Wagyu Beef Cheek with Creamy Truffle Potatoes and Chanterelle | Five Tiramisú with Homemade Coffee Liqueur - Il Lido, $40 (lunch)

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Leave a comment (1)

  1. After participating in 3 rounds of restaurant weeks in SG, I realised that it's not worthwhile anymore to jump onto this bandwagon too...I'd rather go for their normal set lunch / dinner instead..


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