I visited Zafferano when it first opened its door back in 2012. Six great years have passed and the restaurant located on level 43 of the Ocean Financial Centre, revitalised its menu with a new chef on board. The new Executive Chef, Chef Emanuele Faggi has bags of experience under his belts, with his last stint helming the kitchen of Gaia Ristorante.
Rice Cracker 3/5
Before starting our meal, we are served complimentary Rice Crackers and Homemade Bread. The colourful rice crakers looks like coral in the sea. The coloring comes from natural ingredients such as beetroot, saffron, spinach and squid ink.
Homemade Bread 4.2/5
The warm and fluffy homemade bread is not to be missed too. My favourite is the Cheese and Onion Bread which gives it an added bonus in aroma.
The slices of Salmon is marinated in beetroot juice for 3 days. I find it a bit on the salty side when having it on its own. Hence it is better to pair it with the salsa verde, beetroot lime salad and quinoa chips, to get that balance.
Raw Red Prawns 4.5/5
I didn't know Italian cuisine serves raw food too. The Raw Red Prawns ($32) from Mazara is drizzled with olive oil and crowned with a cocktail sauce. The sweetness of the raw red prawns goes really well with the cocktail sauce. I think the Japanese chefs can learn a thing or two from Chef Faggi.
Raw Hokkaido Scallops 4/5
I am suspecting that Chef Faggi has worked in a Japanese restaurant with his next dish, the Raw Hokkaido Scallops ($32) which is sprinkled with dried capers powder and topped with avruga caviar, served with saffron sauce. It is another beautiful dish with excellent pairing but not stealing the limelight of the ingredient.
Saffron Risotto 5/5
The Saffron Risotto ($32) is Chef Faggi’s tribute to his mentor, the late Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Putting aside the 24 karats gold leaf which I thought it is not really necessary, scored full marks for me. Cooked in a vegetable stock, with white vinegar, bone marrow and saffron, these yellow gold rice grains are packed with robustness and an enjoyable textural bite to it. This is the most perfect plate of risotto I have ever even.
Ricotta and Spinach Gnudo 3/5
Chef Faggi is from Tuscan and gnudo is a staple there. He has also brought this onto the menu in the Ricotta and Spinach Gnudo ($26). Gnudo is like a gnocchi-like dumplings without the pasta. Ricotta, parmesan, spinach and egg white are mixed in and rolled into a ball, and then boiled in water. The sauteed baby squid provided the needed dimension to the dish or else it will be quite monotonous.
While I was slightly lacked down by the salty veal stock, the Bottoni ($38) has the potential to be one of the signature dishes at Zafferano. The hand crafted bottoni is filled with braised veal tongue which has been slowed cooked in vegetable stock for 4 hours. These little parcels are really delicious. What is even bolder and surprising is the pairing of fresh oyster. An unexpected combination that actually works harmoniously together.
Oven Baked Black Cod 4/5
The Oven Baked Black Cod ($58) is served on a bed of roasted potato puree, with vanilla scented green asparagus on the side. Cooked to perfection is the Alaska black cod which comes with crispy skin, while the fish meat is still moist.
Lamb Loin 4/5
If you are those that is concerned with the gaminess of the lamb, the Lamb Loin ($55) does not have that. This is probably due to the fact hat the lamb loin has been sous vide with thyme and garlic. It is pan fried and finished off on charcoal grill before serving. For the sides, there are the bok choy and eggplant puree to go along with the tender red meat.
Black Angus Beef Tenderloin 3.5/5
Another bold combination by Chef Faggi is the Black Angus Beef Tenderloin ($58) which is gratinated with liquorice and capers. Although the liquorice did not overpowered the beef, I thought it somehow suppresses the flavour, not allowing it to shine. I have to admit I am not a fan of liquorice so I can't speak for those who enjoys it. Completing the dish, the red meat is paired with celery root puree and grilled leeks.
'Bresse' Pigeon 2 Ways 4/5
At Zafferano, the Pigeon ($68) dish is presented in two ways. The legs are braised till tender while the breast meat is roasted and smoked in rosemary before serving. The first plating is a bit shocking after all the previous plating, it felt like the bird has died a tragic death. I personally prefer the roasted breast meat for that acquire taste that is quite close to that of pig liver. This is further accentuate with hints of rosemary aroma.
Mascarpone Cloud 4/5
What an appropriate name for the soft and fluffy as cloud dessert, Mascarpone Cloud ($16). It is made up of mascarpone cheese and cream. The shredded sponge covering the mascarpone cheese and cream is infused with saffron and crafted to look like the mimosa flower.
Chocolate Cremino 4.2/5
Last but not least, the Chocolate Cremino ($16) wraps up the dinner on a sweet note. The chocolately rice mousse is without cream, made using 65% Valrhona cocoa. To balance the bitterness, this is paired with white sable, yoghurt sponge and watermelon sorbet.
Compare to the menu when Zafferano first started which is more traditional and comforting Italian cuisine, the new menu by Chef Faggi has brought finesse and bold flavours to it.
Note: This is an invited tasting.
Ocean Financial Centre
10 Collyer Quay
Tel: +65 65091488
Nearest MRT: Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line)
Mon-Fri: 1130am - 3pm
Sat: 12pm - 3pm (contact restaurant for more info)
Mon-Fri: 530pm - till late (last order 10pm)
Sat: 630pm - till late (last order 10pm)
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Raffles Place. Take Exit C or J. Walk to Ocean Financial Centre which is on the left. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]