Widely recognized as one of the best buffets – and Italian restaurants – in Singapore, Basilico is one of the dining gems that Regent Hotel is very (rightly) proud of. And every year, I look forward to their new Basilissimo dinner menu, a gustatory affair that takes diners on a journey through Italy over the entire year.
This three-course dinner includes an antipasti and dessert buffet. But as delicious as the buffet is, the highlight of Basilissimo is the seasonal menu of nine main courses that changes every quarterly because that’s where Executive Sous Chef Angelo Ciccone and Basilico Head Chef Luca Beccalli unleash their creativity.
This year, the theme Mari e Monti (The Seas and Mountains) means that the chefs will be taking inspiration from various mountainous and coastal regions of Italy. First up (available now till 3 April 2016), the Central Apennine Mountains.
Frankly, if you’re planning to head down to Basilico only once this year, go now, and be wowed by the Risotto Carnaroli al Nero con Ragout di Seppie e Piselli in Salsa di Scalogno. Besides making a visual impact, this savoury squid ink risotto is perfectly balanced by the slightly sweet green pea ragout, creamy shallot sauce, and seafood flavours of the cuttlefish.
However, if the carnivore in you strikes at the point of ordering, the Piccione Arrosto in Cartoccio con Rosmarino e Vegetali al Forno makes a more than decent alternative. More often than not, pigeon is made to taste like chicken; but this roasted pigeon in parchment paper with seasonal roast-baked vegetables has the right amount of gaminess that is, again, balanced by the innate sweetness of the vegetables.
In the second quarter, from 4 April to 3 July 2016, the menu shakes up to highlight the East coast of the Italian peninsular – the Adriatic Sea.
Compared to the two aforementioned dishes, the Branzino e Polipo Grigliati con Crostone di Riso al Nero di Seppia, Olive Verdi Arrosto e Salsa Piccante ai Datterini didn’t leave much of an impression. While the grilled sea bass and octopus was on point in terms of seasoning and texture, it was the accompanying spicy Datterini tomato (small, intensely flavored tomatoes from Sicily) sauce that stole the show. The crispy squid ink risotto cake gave another textural dimension to the dish, but not complexity.
Those feeling adventurous, on the other hand, should give the Gnocchetti di Barbabietola con Astice e Crema di Asparagi Verdi a shot. You might not be used to the difference in taste and texture at first, but making these little dumplings of goodness from the healthier substitute of beetroot rather than potato (beetroot is lower in G.I) is pure genius. Paired with asparagus cream, the usual earthiness of beetroot is cleverly downplayed to complement the succulent Boston lobster nicely.
Last word about the buffet spread: be sure to hit up the cold cuts and cheese section; the folks at Basilico bring in quite the variety of both!
The three-course Basilissimo dinner at Basilico is priced at $88++ per person, or $123++ per person with two glasses of house wine.
Basilico is located at Level 2, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715, p. 6725 3232. Open Mon – Sat 12pm to 2.30pm, Sun 12 to 3pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10pm for dinner.
Top Image: Roasted Pigeon in Parchment Paper with Roasted-Baked Vegetables