Thursday, July 5, 2012

Restaurant Palio: Italian gem in Sentosa

Resorts World Sentosa is another playground in Singapore for the tourists and the rich. Located on the island of Sentosa, the attraction features a full blown integrated resort - with hotels, restaurants, theme parks, casino, convention center and world class shows. Palio is one of the definitive Italian restaurants in this little island, located within the premises of Hotel Michael.

I was invited to do a menu tasting and also to sample the works of guest chef Pasqualino Barbasso, from Sicily. Chef Pasqualino is here to conduct pizza making classes and also to demonstrate his incredible skill of tossing a 1.5m pizza!

But seriously, the super large pizza dough is only for demo, and not used to make pizzas. The real pizzas are made from a dough which is roughly similar, but less elastic, and more tasty. I will sample a few of these later.

The main kitchen area is open plan, and the pizza oven is wood fired oven.

So we started with the breads...typical Italian style bread.

Addictive is the word to describe this bread platter. Very very good. The crispy pieces are also used as the base for pizza.

The first course is called Caprese...an italian buffalo mozzarella chesse, vine ripened tomatoes and basil

the mozzarella was superb. Very smooth, creamy, rich. And the tomato gave the dish a sweetness with a tinge of sour and tart/tang. Very nice too.

The next dish for me is the piece de resistance...lobster linguini

The portion above is half a portion, and a typical serving can be shared. Each serving is half a live Boston lobster in a spicy tomato Arrabbiata sauce. Everything was amazing in this dish. The stars aligned, and the chef made magic. The pasta was perfect - al dente. The sauce was thick, rich, spicy with just the right amount of kick (though, with a Peranakan palate, I wouldn't mind picking up the spice factor a bit more here), the blend of spicy, tangy, richness is just perfect. And the lobster is also wonderfully prepared...I suspect poached. And was very sweet, with a tenderness and richness which is quite natural of live Boston lobster. Magnificent dish!

A selection of pastas followed. Leading with the Arrotolata

With artichoke cream, artichokes. Looks interesting, and unlike any pizza I have ever seen. The pastry was crispy. The artichoke cream was rather nice. Long time readers may note that I don't like artichokes...only once before did I think an artichoke edible...that was at 3 Michelin star restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris with his signature artichoke soup. While this artichoke cream was not as agreeable as that experience, I must say I find it perfectly acceptable and made a delicious pizza.

Next Bolero, a more regular styled pizza with parmigiano ham and rocket.

Needless to say, done very well. The pastry was thin crusted, and crispy...like biscuit. I asked Chef Pasqualino...and he remarked that Neapolitan pizzas have a chewey pastry, the rest of Italy has one which has some Crispy, but usually with parts especially the outer edges which the flour is more fluffy, not quite as chewy, but this special pizza he makes is more like a piece crisp pastry.

and the final pizza Cenerentola, with caviar

The acid in the sun dried tomato, and the sweetness contrasted nicely with the rich cheese and the saltiness of the caviar. Certainly a decadent dish.

And dessert...the ubiquitious tiramisu

Hinting perhaps at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, afterall the cuisine of Palio is from Tuscany, the tiramisu was excellent. Light mascarpone cheese, light pastry flavoured with espresso, a tinge of alcohol. Excellent.

Overall, a very pleasant lunch. As indicated, this is a media tasting lunch invited by the restaurant. Thanks to Stephanie Aw Yong of Weber Shandwick and Tania Heng of Resorts World Sentosa for the invite. Very enjoyable and recommended.

Palio
Level 2, Hotel Michael
Resorts World Sentosa

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