Saturday, September 24, 2011

La Barca .... A Tuscan food affair from a Tuscan Michelin Star Chef

La Barca Ristorante & Wine Bar is the brain child of Michelin Star Chef Michele Sorrentino and his apprentice, friend, business partner, also the General Manager of the restaurant, Christopher Tung. Many would question if it make sense for this Tuscan fine dining restaurant to be in the Goodman Art Centre. I thought it makes perfect sense and in fact a rather good business acumen from Christopher and Chef Michele. Goodman Art Centre is located in a Good Class Bungalow estate where there's many potential customers who has the spending muscles even if it means eating at the restaurant every other day. The ambience here is classy and the restaurant has a good range of premium wines to pair with the food. I've been fortunate to dine in Tuscany and I was hoping to find the taste of Tuscany that Chef Michele may have brought to Singapore with him.

Il Baccala Mantecato con Cips Di Patatine Croccanti - Whipped Salted Cod with Potato Crisp. This salted cod mash tasted a bit fishy at first, but as we ate more, the taste kicked in and it got more delicious and appetizing.

Il Tortino Di Asparagi E Ricotta Su Salsa Di Basilico - Asparagus and Ricotta Flan with Basil Sauce. We thought that this tasted like quiche. The Basil sauce was a good try to provide a kick but it was overall bland.

La Fiorentina Alla Griglia Con Patatae E Canellini Alla Salvia -  1.6kg Grilled T-Bone Steak Served with Oven Roasted Potatoes and Canellini Beans. 

This Tuscan style T-bone was cooked to give that charming crispy charred texture on the outside, pink, tender and juicy on the inside. This is the same Fiorentina steak that we had gone sniffing for when we step foot into Tuscany. The ones HY and I had in Florence and Chianti had more salt sprinkled over the beef that made them tastier. Savoriness was what's lacking here compared to the ones we had in Italy. Over the table we were actually arguing over whether Gattopardo or Al Borgo h the Steak Fiorentina that we prefer. We took the liberty, without Chef looking at us, to crush more salt over the beef and it sprang to life almost immediately.

Apart from the roasted potatoes to go with our T-bone, we were served with Canellini beans made slightly spicy. These beans are popularly grown in the region of Tuscany. I don't think it was meant as a dip sauce for the beef other wise the service staff would have informed us.  

I Pici Di Casa Con Salsa Di Anantra Ai Profumi Dell'Orto - Handmade Pici Pasta with Duck Meat Sauce. The Pici pasta is a thick hand rolled pasta that originates from Siena. These were handmade by Chef Michele. It was the first time I had pici pasta. The pici pasta tasted as springy as the Japanese udon except that it had that added egg-iness. The duck meat sauce was elemental and gave this pasta it's soul. 

Gli Spaghetti All'Astice La Sua Salsa Piccante - Spaghetti served with Spicy Lobster Sauce. HY was all thumbs up for with this spaghetti even though she would prefer the spaghetti to be cooked, maybe, 30 seconds longer. This pasta came with a spicy lobster sauce at the side which I didn't capture on photo. You can add as much as you like as long as it's not too spicy for you.

Semifreddo Al Pistachio Con Polvere Di Pistacchi E Salsa Di Cioccolato E Insalata Di Fragole - Pistachio Parfait with Pistachio Powder, Chocolate Sauce and Strawberries. I think I didn't do justice to this dessert with this photo. If I had known that it was so phenomenal, I would have taken more time to compose a better photo.

We all agreed that these 2 pieces of what seemed like a reversed rock melon (usually the rock melon's juicy flesh is orangey and the part near the skin is greenish) was heavenly. I wonder how much work had gone into making this parfait so intensely rich of pistachio. It's as authentic as you can get and maybe even better than some pistachio parfait in Italy. Great stuff!

Tiramisu La Barca. The tiramisu was mostly marscapone with some moist cake spread sparingly at the base. It's not too bad but we had better elsewhere.

Food was quite good but I expected more than this from a Michelin Star Chef. While service was immaculate, we thought our dinner would be close to perfect if we had just stick to pastas. I would like to accrue this imperfection to the growing pains of a new restaurant and hope that it just gets better at La Barca from here onwards.

Goodman Arts Centre
90 Goodman Road Block C
Tel : +65 6346 5813

Opening Hours :
Tues~Fri Open from 9am
Sat~Sun Open from 12 noon
Kitchen closes at 10 pm
Closed on Monday

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