Last Updated: February 1, 2015
When you have Italian friends referring you to an Italian restaurant, you know there’s something special about Zafferano.
Even though I already dined at Zafferano via restaurant week the same month, I happily accepted this media invite again, getting the honour of dining together with fellow food writers from Superadrianme, 365daystoplay and DanielFoodDiary.
Food photographers swarming to take photos of the newly arrived dish is always a sight to behold.
Located high up in Ocean Financial Centre, the view at Zafferano Singapore itself is breathtaking. There’s a sort of sheltered alfresco area and you can see the business district skyline while sipping on red wine. A very popular choice of seating amongst expats. I personally can’t survive without air-conditioning, so the inside of Zafferano was much more welcoming for sweaty me.
The inside of Zafferano is very spacious, having a 130 seating capacity. Not overly intimate and having sufficient personal table space, Zafferano makes an ideal spot for corporate lunches and client meetings if you ever need business dining ideas.
We were seated in the private room with more lighting and began our dinner tasting of the restaurant’s latest menu, prepared by Zafferano’s newest executive Chef Fabio Cucchelli.
Insalata Zafferano ($18). A mix of Romaine lettuce, fennel, roma tomatoes, shallot, beetroot, capsicum, brioche croutons, shallot cheese dressing and further topped with honey mustard dressing. Salads again, have never been my fancy but the play with light vegetables, cheese and sourness from the mustard was quite an appetizing start to the meal.
Burrata pomodorini datterini e basilico ($20). Fresh Italian buffalo cheese made from mozzarella and cream, this is the antipasto you need to order. Having a stretchy string like texture, the cheese slices were light, creamy and just goes so well with the tomatoes, olive oil and the basil. Amazing cheese exclusive to Italians.
Salmone Arrosto ($35). A herb and bread crusted roasted salmon , this salmon dish had soft hints of lemongrass infusion to add more novelty. I loved the crispy salmon skin which gave more texture.
Risotto al tartufo bianco e lattuga scottata ($48). A seasonal risotto with seared lettuce from the limited period white truffle menu (truffles are in season now). Only available during dinner. The truffle taste was quite mild for me, but what really surprised me was the stiff risotto grains which we suspect was undercooked. It might be a cooking technical mistake, but based on this dish experience I wouldn’t recommend it.
Pappardelle al ragu d’anatra ($27). Home-made thick, flat pappardelle pasta with duck ragout stew, this tasted quite ordinary to me.
Fiorentina alla brace ($168). After 2 seemingly ‘meh’ dishes, I’m so glad we got to try this next one. Most places typically call it Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Fiorentina alla brace roughly translates as ‘grilled Fiorentina steak’ instead. Fiorentina steak is basically a T-bone steak, which is a combination of tenderloin and short-loin cut.
Zafferano’s Fiorentina uses a 900g charcoal grilled Australian Black Angus steak with oyster mushroom, shallots and bone marrow. I didn’t see any bone-marrow, but boy did I see a huge piece of steak.
What became an amazing revelation to me, was that Zafferano’s Fiorentina is one of the best beef steaks I’ve had in a restaurant. Soft, tender, no cartilage or veins, medium rare with a subtle brown mushroom sauce and char, this steak got it all right. This is definitely a top 5 beef steak I’ve had in Singapore, right here, in an Italian restaurant.
Nocciole di canelli ($19). This dessert is Nutella on steroids. Hazelnut chocolate done 4 ways: crumble, caramel, ice cream and sauce. The first few bites were heavenly, but gets a bit repetitive and jelat even with the crumble adding texture. The chocolate was just too sweet and rich for me, but sweet-toothed people will love it.
Ricordando amalfi ($15). Berries sorbet with Amalfi lemon cream, fresh berries and some crumble in the middle. This was a huge contrast to the previous chocolate dessert, being very tart and refreshing.
Sfoglia croccante alla mela ($22). Caramalised golden apple segments on crisp pastry with home made Madagascar vanilla ice-cream. Not a dish name I would order in Italian if you don’t speak the language; the first term already had me tongue-tied. But it’s pretty much an Italian apple pie and also my favourite dessert tonight. Very warm, homely taste with the apply pastry, going well with the cold vanilla ice-cream. A nice end to the night.
Zafferano had some hits and misses for me, but I’m pleasantly surprised to introduce one of Singapore’s best steaks here. The restaurant ambience and setting is professional and clean- a perfect venue for corporate lunches and after-work relaxation.
Expected Damage: $80-$90/ pax