It has been a year since I last visited Zafferano at Ocean Financial Centre. During the year, the restaurant has welcomed new Head Chef, Andrea De Paola. Previously from ilLido Group, Chef Andrea incorporates innovative flavours and modern techniques to time-honoured classics, bring finesse to the plate.
Our dinner started with some amuse-bouche. The delicate bite-size snacks gave me a glimpse of the chef's culinary philosophy, balancing complex flavours in an elegant touch.
I was impressed with what Chef Andrea is bringing to Zafferano right from the start of the first dish, the Scampi ($32++). The plating is more elegant and refines now. The langoustine is simply char-grilled with extra virgin olive oil till medium rare, and given a coat of sesame. Complementing the natural sweetness of the crustacean's flesh is the white miso and mirin sauce. The result is a plate of complex flavours but coming harmoniously together.
Next, I tried the Carciofo ($28++). The artichoke is poached and grilled over almond wood. Hence the tender texture with a hint of smokiness. This is paired with Caciocavallo cheese foam that has a smoky flavour, with a smoked Yamanashi egg yolk in the middle. I am not a big fan of artichoke, but I love the caciocavallo cheese foam, and I think it can go well with a lot of ingredients too.
The Spaghetti ($30++ starter/ $42++ main) is Chef Andrea's interpretation of traditional spaghetti with bottarga, replacing the cured fish roe with razor clams and Oscietra caviar. It is a unique combination that I have not tried before. What blew me away is the sauce that brings the whole dish together, for a slurping good time.
The dishes so far showcase how Chef Andrea combines different flavours to elevate the main ingredient. On the contrary, the Branzino ($48++) is bare naked to highlight the freshness of the seabass sourced from an open farm in the Mediterranean Sea off the Sardinian coast. The seabass fillet is lightly seasoned with just salt, and extra virgin oil finished in the oven and brushed with tarragon salmoriglio before serving. It is paired with young zucchini, spring herbs salad and zucchini cream on the side. Nothing fancy, just straight forward appreciation of the beautiful seabass.
Besides the a la carte menu, Chef Andrea has also put together a 4-course Chef menu ($118++) and 5-course Chef menu ($148++). From the chef menu, I had the beef striploin grilled in the charcoal oven, paired with blue foot mushrooms which is a classic Italian combination. The Sanchoku wagyu striploin was cooked beautifully, locking in all the lovely jus with crispy chars at the edge.
Also, from the Chef menu, I had the Cioccolato to wrap up dinner. It is a vegan dessert that comprises variations of chocolate forms. You may think this is going to be a very rich and heavy dessert, but it turns out otherwise. It is light, well-balanced harmony of flavours and textures.
I am glad that I have the opportunity to try Chef Andrea's food. With the new chef on board, I feel that it has elevated the food at Zafferano a notch. If the kitchen team maintains its consistency, and the chef's culinary philosophy, the star may not be far away.
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 (last Sat of the month)
Mon-Fri: 530pm till late
Sat: 630pm till late
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Raffles Place. Take Exit C. Walk to Ocean Financial Centre which is on the left. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]