Thursday 23 April 2015

Oscar's – A Taste of Italy [MEDIA INVITE]

Mark you calendar food lovers, from 27 April to 16 May 2015, Oscar's will bring you gastronomic journey to around Italy. Be prepared to be bring your palate to travel around Italy with flavours by Executive Chef Michele Mingozzi. This born and bred Italian who discovered his passion for cooking from the kitchen of his beloved grandmother and mother in Ferrara, Northern Italy.

 Assorted salami and parma hams (from Ferrara region)

From watching the food and travel channels and visiting lots of Italian restaurants during my study time down under, I can conclude the following sequences of Italian dinner procession. Start with Appetizers / Antipasti, followed by pasta dishes, then proteins (meat or fish) and desserts. Of course the wine with the meal and afterwards is a must.

Mozzarella / Burrata Bar (from Campania region)

We started our dinner with antipasto (appetizers) which include assorted salami and parma hams with Pinzini (from Ferrara region) and Mozzarella / Burrata Bar (from Campania region). Pinzini is a pillow shaped fried pizza dough. It is light and fluffy, which goes well with the fresh and creamy burrata and parma ham. For the firmer cheese such as mozzarella and cheery mozzarella, I had mine with the fresh cherry tomatoes and deep fried stuffed olives also known as Olives all'Ascolana (Marche region). I am not an olive person as I find it too salty, however I can accept this fried stuffed olive. It seems the stuffing reduce the saltiness of the olive. But I still can't have too much of it.

Pinzini (from Ferrara region)

Olives all'Ascolana (Marche region)

While Ciabatta and Foccacia are served with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, I learned a new lesson today. In Italy, they do not eat the bread for appetizer, instead use it to polish off the left over of the sauce from the pasta dish or main meal. However, since we are in Singapore, you just do what the Roman do (in this case, it will be the Uniquely Singaporean way). Dip it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and eat it whenever you like.

Ciabatta and Assorted Foccacia

In the typical Italian culture, we continue with the pasta. The three selections of pasta that I tried on that night is Home Made Truffle Tagliatelle with Quails Ragout (Emilia Romagna region), Ravioli of Prawns with Cherry Tomato sauce (Emilia Romagna region) and Fried stuffed rice ball (Aracini di Riso – Sicilia region). If you like truffle, the tagliatelle with black truffle here is a must try. For me, it is the case of too much truffle, but some people might like it.

Fried stuffed rice ball (Aracini di Riso – Sicilia region)

This is the first time that I tried the rice ball. Using Arborio rice and pre cooked in the same style as risotto, the rice absorbs the robust stock well. The rice is al dente and packs of flavour. My pick of the night is Prawns ravioli. The prawns fillings between the pasta sheets are fresh and springy. It is well complemented by the cherry tomato sauce. While the dish is Italian, I can't help to fantasize that this dish is of equivalent to our local prawn dumplings.

From left: Fried stuffed rice ball (Aracini di Riso – Sicilia region),
 Home Made Truffle Tagliatelle with Quails Ragout (Emilia Romagna region),
 Ravioli of Prawns with Cherry Tomato sauce (Emilia Romagna region).

Now for the proteins. From the four legged, we had Braised Venison Mountain Style with Polenta and Sautéed Mushrooms (Trentino region); and Braised Veal Tongue (Ferrara region). For the venison, it was well braised, however as the meat of venison lacks of fats, I find the meat slightly tough. For those who never tried polenta before, it actually look and feel like mashed potatoes, creamy but with more grit and earthy flavours to it.

Braised Venison Mountain Style (Trentino region)


Sautéed Mushrooms 

The braised veal tongue are to die for. One of Chef Michele's comfort food where it looks like it was simply boiled for long hours with simple seasoning, however it just melts on your mouth. Best of all, no gamey smell in it. For beef tongue lovers, you will like this even more. This dish is serve with Italian version of chimichurri sauce, which was refreshing and good to balance out this heavy dish. I had 3 big slices and I have to stopped myself in anticipation for next dishes to come. Kudos to the Chef.

Braised Veal Tongue with Chimichurri sauce

From the sea, we have Baked Sea Bass Fillet (Campania region) and Fritto Misto (Emilia Romagna region). The seabass baked in mediteranean style had simple seasoning. It has a slighly firm texture, yet buttery feels to it. Meanwhile Fritto Misto (deep fried mixed fish and seafood) is just a winner. Lightly battered and seasoned, it gives the mixed fish and seafood a crispy and light texture. It is a good side dish and suitable for all ages.

Baked Sea Bass Fillet (Campania region)

Fritto Misto (Emilia Romagna region)

Come to desserts, we are treated to Chiacchiere (Emilia Romagna region), Balsamic Ice Cream (Lombardia region) and Italian Meringue with Chocolate (Lombardia region). According to Chef Michele, Chiacchiere is one of the most common food eaten during carnival in Italy. Also known as Angel Wings, it made from dough, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It is crispy outer part, yet moist and slightly chewy inside. With powdered sugar, it is just hard to resist. It reminds me of our Chinese twisted pretzel called ma hua (麻花).

Chiacchiere (Emilia Romagna region)

Meanwhile the Balsamic Ice Cream is definitely something unique and a must try. Served with fresh strawberries in syrup, it has a good balance between sweet and sour. Yum Yum. For the Meringue with chocolate sauce, it is sweet with crispy crumbling texture. However, it can be better if they use darker chocolate, so the bitterness can balance the sweetness of the meringue.

Balsamic Ice Cream (Lombardia region)

Italian Meringue with Chocolate (Lombardia region)

Overall, A Taste of Italy edition in Oscar's definitely worth to try. From what I tasted, some of the dishes are unique and not commonly found in Singapore. Combining this with the renowned buffet spread in Oscar's, it is definitely worth your trip here. A taste of Italy will run from 27 April to 16 May 2015 for lunch and dinner in Oscar's. Please note A Taste of Italy dishes available on top of the Oscar's ever popular seafood, cooked food and desserts offerings. Salute and Buon Appetito!!

Thank you to Chef Michele Mingozzi, Oscar's F&B Team and Conrad Centennial Singapore for the wonderful evening.

Food & Drinks: 8.5/10
Value: 9/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 – $80; $81 & Above

2 Temasek Boulevard
Lobby Level, Conrad Centennial Singapore
Singapore 038982

T: +65 6432 7481
Open 24 Hours for A la carte menu
Buffet Breakfast: 06.00 – 10.30
Buffet Lunch: 12.00 – 14.30
Buffet Dinner: 18.00 – 22.00
Sunday Amazing Graze Lunch: 12.00 – 15.00

Mon – Sat Lunch: $59++
Sun – Thu Dinner: $69++
Fri – Sat Dinner: $80++
Sun Brunch: $80++ (food only), $158++ (with free flow of champagne, wine and beer)

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