Burlamacco. Burrrlamacccco. Such a fun play on the tongue.
Which is exactly the theme these guys are going for. Fun and friendly is the vibe you will get; from the warm red hues of the furnishing, to the affable service staff, to the personal table visits by the cheeky, gregarious owners. Italian for the mascot traditionally featured in the carnivals held in Tuscany, Burlamacco also represents the heavy Tuscan influence on its cuisine.
Burlamacco Ristorante on Amoy Street is co-owned by Paolo Colzani and Chef Gabriele Piegaia, both highly respected veterans in the industry. Paolo, having spent most of his early years at Michelin star restaurants in Europe, is well known for managing operations at the Les Amis Group, Iggy’s and Garibaldi. Chef Gabriele too, worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, as well as at Senso Ristorante, Hotel Michael and Alkaff Mansion. With Paolo overseeing the operations and Chef Gabriele the kitchen, Burlamacco’s start up seems to be well covered.
Now on to the food. Warm crusty bread starts the evening, freshly baked from the kitchen. Served with butter or olive oil, refills are gladly obliged.
The Trippa alla Fiorentina – Beef Tripe Stew in Fresh Tomato Sauce Topped with Parmesan Cheese and Parsley ($18) was a delightful appetizer! The chewy, gooey beef tripe stewed in a rich creamy tomato sauce, nicely seasoned with herbs to create a happy party in your mouth. There was just the right amount of cheese to neutralize the tang of the tomato without being overwhelming. Flavours so simple yet palate pleasing, I could just have this all to myself.
Note: Pictures depict tasting portions
Next, the Polpo con Fave e Patate – Octopus with Fava Bean and Potato in a Lemon Dressing ($22). Octopus is quite rarely served in restaurants here, I realized. Chef Gabriele has his flown in from Australia, and claims those are where it is best. The octo-fava-lemon-olive oil combination is very mild – good for those looking for something light. However, the octopus was unfortunately tough, rubbery and pretty much tasteless.
Risotto al Nero di Seppia – Traditional Florentine Black Squid Ink Risotto ($26), was a respectable squid ink risotto, rice cooked al dente with flavours packing a punch as compared to the milder appetizers. Salty, briny, and thick with Parmesan cheese – it gets a little cloying after a while so this is one dish you might want to share.
The Linguine All’arogosta – Linguine with Lobster in Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce ($26) was one of the better dishes of the night. Pasta perfectly al dente; with a sauce that has just the right amount of spiciness for that tiny kick without being too overpowering. The lobster wasn’t top grade though, shamefully outshone by the pasta’s homely unpretentiousness.
Caccuicco alla Burlamacco – Tradition Tuscan Fish and Seafood Soup with Garlic Bruschetta ($36), Chef’s signature dish, was gratifyingly tasty and overflowing with goodness of the sea. The seafood in the soup depends on what the market has to offer that day. Our pot had codfish, sea bass, octopus again, scampi, clams, mussels, chopped up calamari, etc. Aside from the calamari tasting like rubber bullets, the others were like satisfying gems within the treasure pot.
Now for the Costato di Manzo – Slow-cooked Beef Short Ribs ($30). With every restaurant out there serving immaculately executed braised short ribs, Burlamacco sets itself apart with an ingenious tactic. The beef is sous vide for 48 hours in apple juice and then pan seared, which gives it an amazing caramelized glaze which melds perfectly with the silky rich braising sauce. Simply divine!
Though tender, the beef is not done to the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture. Perhaps it would have helped if there were more of that savory sauce. But still, its unique take from the usual French-styled preparation, had me sold.
Burlamacco’s desserts were pretty pedestrian, with nothing really standing out as exceptional. The Tiramisu $10, Semifreddo al Croccantino $10, Chocolate Tart with Mint Ice Cream ($14) tiramisu is slightly dryer with a stronger espresso/liqueur taste, so if you like yours sweeter and heavy on the mascarpone, this isn’t a tiramisu for you. The chocolate tart had a good chocolate lava flow going, but the tart sadly was bland and slightly too thick.
An interesting point though, is that the kitchen makes their own gelato and so the flavours available will depend on what they make that day.
With enough hits in all the categories of food, ambience and service, Burlamacco is a promising contestant in the wave of Italian restaurants that seem too many for our tiny island to handle.
Written by M.
On this occasion, the meal was compliments of Burlamacco