'The Italian Table' @ Zafferano: magnificent Saturday Italian brunch

If there's one thing we take seriously here, its brunch. 

Hence when we heard of Zafferano rolling out its new and super indulgent Saturday Italian brunch, we stopped in our tracks and listened eagerly.

Every first and last Saturday of the month, Zafferano serves one of the most luxurious brunches around, it's arrangement gearing towards a  buffet style but with hints of ala carte's service finesse. Start off with a 7 different antipastis including fresh oysters and a selection of frito misto, 3 authentic pastas and a traditional saffron risotto and finally a choice of main course. Depart on a sweet note with a quick trip over to the dessert counter, there, a humble but cleverly curated selection of pastries await.

If there's one thing we learnt from the seemingly endless brunch experiences, you should never pass up on the alcohol, especially when the weekend is concerned. Battling a hangover from last nights crazed night out of town? - nothing that a few more glasses of champagne can't fix. I mean it.

Round up the posse, you might need the company, as plates are dished out sharing style to mimic the authentic Italian family gatherings over the table. Hence the branding 'The Italian Table'  where the freshest and the finest seasonal ingredients are dished out by Head Chef Marco Guccio.

So in preparation for a delicious long weekend ahead, please put on your game face. This weekend is for eating and we've got just the place to make your rounds. Brunch at Zafferano starts with anti-pasti, a wide spectrum of 7 different items including live seasonal oysters (in pairs), marinated fjord trout served with 'avruga' caviar and a sprinkle of orange for a touch of acidity. My personal favourite, the freshly imported Italian Buffalo Mozzarella complimented by chunks of chopped pomodoro and fresh basil leaves.

Not to be missed is the platter of cold cuts. Meats may vary depending on seasonality, however, I lucked upon the 24 month 'Pio Tosini' ham, Pistachio Mortadella and Iberico Salami during my last visit, the mortadella bordering on obscene. However, when you're at Zafferano, do not ever rest on your laurels, brunch here keeps getting better with the next dish of Stewed clams and mussels Vongole with rosemary croutons blowing most of us out of the water. An exemplary dish with a silky broth perfumed with the scent of the sea and dashes of leafy herbs. Grab a slice of homemade brioche and dunk that into the vongole for maximum satisfaction.

The 'Fritto Misto' is another jewel on the brunch lineup. A selection of deep-fried calamari, prawns and anchovies neatly piled up in a basket, wedges of vibrant lemon between fields of gold. You can't say no to that. Especially not, when those calamari goes down like a dream beneath shatteringly crisp batter.

And to add to the excessiveness of this lavish meal, there is Baby lobster 'flambe' with brandy, the description for a knob of cocktail mayo sauce misrepresented in the actual crustacean. A blessing in disguise actually since nothing more than a squeeze of lemon was needed to lift the flavors of the fresh catch.

No Italian meal is complete without the pasta course, hence Zafferano surpasses expectations and features 3 different pasta dishes with one stellar risotto, all unique only to the Saturday brunch menu.

The Homemade 'Lasagna' in minced beef ragout and bechamel sauce is oozy and extravagant as any, the crust of blistered cheese overhead expertly done, breaking into a cavern of warm bechamel sauce, indecent cheesy beginnings and a naturally sweetened minced beef ragout.

The other two pastas, the homemade ravioli stuffed with veal and drenched in a porcini mushroom sauce as well as the hand-crafted potato ‘gnocchi’served with fresh seafood cooked in white wine sauce, are commendable as well; but pale in comparison to the next dish I'm about to wax lyrical about. Hold your horses. The former, threw me off balance with its disdainful tainting of a simple dish with a pungent whiff of truffle oil. Yucks. I'll pick the gnocchi anytime, however, the pillowy nodules of potato lacked that bit of crust you'll only attain from a quick sear in a blistering hot pan. 

Risotto, usually a code word for broken rice and soddy grains, is here a designation for a dreamy, velvety dish with nearly a porridge-like consistency, yet each grain of rice retaining a distinct bite. Iranian Saffron stock incorporating a sense of exoticism to the humble dish. Waves of gold served table side from a large plate, just like they do it back home. Just shut up and take my money already!

With a few exceptions - the mains were a let down, the built up to the climax getting off on the wrong foot with the Roasted Whole French Spring Chicken being a tad dry and flavourless in the center, the Slow Cooked Pork Belly missing its unctuous factor, and the Oven-baked Sea Bass that was outshone by the vibrant tomatoes, olives and caper stew that accompanied its lackluster body. A quick dabbling over the neighbouring tables dishes revealed inconsistencies with the cooking as our fish was a heck lot drier than theirs. Thou shalt not covet. So there's that. Personally, I wish the kitchen had paid a little more attention to the protein instead of the accompanying sides that definitely transcended the star of the dish. But even with that said, the saffron risotto is floating on a higher plane. In addition to that flawless Affogato, there are treats such as the Tiramisu cake, macaroons, panna cotta and seasonal fruit to sweeten the deal.

Between the warmth of the dining room and the compelling service of the knowledgeable staff , there is something especially comfortable about Zafferano. So what if it's situated on the 43rd floor of the Ocean Financial Center, it puts on no airs and focuses on the spirit of Italian culinary artistry and quality. Settle in with a glass of Prosecco and let the offer for free-flow champange tempt the wild child in you.

Zafferano's Italian Saturday brunch 'The Italian Table' is served from 11 30am - 2 30pm and is priced at $88++ per person (inclusive of free flow soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea), $108++ per person (free flow prosecco) and finally the ultimate  $138++ with free flow of champagne. A steal if you ask me. Available on the first and last Saturday of each month. it is best to call ahead to make your reservations to avoid being disappointed.

On a separate note, I've just started work with this cool new intiative that introduces places and things to do in Singapore based on your current location. Download the app on your android device (the iOS version is currently in the works still) for updates on the coolest new lists such as my most recent 'Best things to do during a 48-hour layover in Singapore'; Saturday Italian brunch at Zafferano being one of the experiences perfect for the travelling gourmand. So if you're flying over to Singapore for the weekend, here are some pointers on the must-do and must-eats in Singapore.

10 Collyer Quay
43rd Floor
Ocean Financial Centre
t: 6509 1488

1 comment:

Ryoko said...

Your photos are so brilliant ! Everything looks yummy.
Oysters, mussels, prawns, Those are my delight.I want to fly to the restaurant !