Published on Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Enter PerBacco, a romantic and sophisticated Italian restaurant that bears an uncanny gastronomical experience to the beautiful Venetian lagoon's traditional fare.
The Veneto region is home to some of the most extraordinary dishes unique to Italian cuisine. Given Venice's standing as a city built on water, naturally over the centuries, the region developed its own charming culture with sui generis traditional dishes centered primarily on seafood.
Everyone should see Venice in all its glory at least once in their lives. It is without a doubt, one of my favorite places in the world. It is simply an enchanting city filled with a sense of magic in the air, wonders awaiting you at every turn in the road.
The quaint beauty of its narrow brick walled alleys plastered with creeping vines, the harmonious hustle-and-bustle of foot traffic in Piazza San Marco, the majesty of St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge Palace, and of course the turquoise-blue meandering water canals where Gondoliers paddle down crooning out Italian love songs teleport you to a time in history, a simpler era, way before the dawn of technology, where everything seemed more peaceful.
PerBacco has an elegant rustic touch to its décor, reminiscent of the labyrinth of alleyways and water canals winding through the floating city.
Chef Marco Fregnon helms the kitchen along with four other chefs who have established the perfect cooking camaraderie from working together for a long time.
Chef Marco hails from Northern Italy where he spent many years painstakingly honing his craft in the Veneto region before setting foot onto our sunny little island. His impressive resume includes working as a sous-chef for two years in a one-star michelin restaurant.
Dean and Albert each have 10 years of culinary experience and can more than hold the kitchen on their own, while Shatist and Nicholas completes the dream team at PerBacco.
The name “PerBacco” is derived from Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The restaurant is so passionate about its wines that it has a custom-made glass wine cellar to house all its fine Italian wines at optimal temperature. Besides a lengthy list of specially curated wines, PerBacco also offers a wide range of whiskeys, rums, pasteurized beers, and other spirits in addition to the classic cocktails including the Manhattan, Negroni, and Spritz.
Despite the intimidatingly posh facade and indulgent Venetian dishes, PerBacco is surprisingly extremely affordable. It is the perfect venue for patrons who can appreciate an excellent Italian meal without knowing that it shouldn't break the bank and the budget conscious looking to impress.
Bruschetta Meditterranea, $15
Confit Tomato and Burrata Cheese Bruschetta
Roasted tomato slices topped with chunks of burrata cheese sit atop grilled bruschetta bread. This appetizer opens your palette and whets your appetite with the sweet , juicy and tangy roasted tomatoes, the creamy and tart burrata and the bruschetta slightly charred for a scrumptious smoky flavor.
Bucatini in Salsa alla Veneziana, $26
Bucatini Pasta with Anchovies Veneziana Stye, Taggiasca Olives and Garlic Chips
One of the most traditional Venetian dishes is pasta seasoned in fish sauce. Bucatini in salsa is a classic Venetian dish that in the past, was consumed during the lean days as a penitence dish, such as Christmas Eve, Holy Friday and Wesnesday of the Ashes. This dish dates back as far as 1604. Since then, this dish has captured the hearts and stomachs of people everywhere and has become a firm favorite in traditional Venetian cuisine for its heavy-bodied taste.
Bucatini refers to the type of pasta which is essentially a very thick and coarse spaghetti with a hollow interior prepared only with whole wheat flour, very little water and salt. The salsa refers to the sauce that the pasta is cooked in. This dish is made from scratch in-house at PerBacco, right down to the creation of the pasta.
Onions and garlic are first simmered in olive oil to extract its fragrant properties before anchovy fillets are thrown into the pan and broken down into a paste. The uncooked pasta is then thrown into the mixture and thoroughly coated so that all the flavors of the sauce permeates through the pasta, giving it a huge burst of flavor. Crunchy garlic chips are then scattered throughout as a finishing touch.
The bucatini is springy and cooked perfectly al dente. Since the pasta is hollow within like a tube, it allows for the thick and savory sauce to fill up the empty confines of each strand. Rich, sweet and slightly briny, each bite is an explosion of aromatic flavors. Even if you are not a fan of anchovies, give this dish a try. The anchovies provide a viscous texture and a little bit of saltiness to the sauce, the taste of fish is almost non-existent in the dish, you taste more of the sweet and earthy flavors of the onions and garlic.
Linguine agli Scampi e Crema al Gorgonzola, $32
Linguine with Langoustine and Zucchini in Light Gorgonzola Sauce
I started fan-girling upon seeing the word “langoustine” on the menu. Langoustines have been on the top of my food bucket list. That is how much of a fatty I am. I have a mental list of rare foods that I would like to eat before I die. Gluttony aside, it is almost impossible to find a restaurant serving langoustines in Singapore. Hell, there are only a few restaurants in the world that carry it. Imagine my hysterical exuberance when this elusive piece of heaven was set before me.
So what’s the big deal with langoustines? Well for starters, they are set on a higher pedestal than lobsters, foie gras and even caviar. Langoustines look like an elongated shrimp which belong to the lobster family. They are exorbitantly priced due to them being extremely perishable. As soon as langoustines die, they start rapidly decomposing, their delicate flesh begins to “autoconsume”, turning black, mealy and disgusting. In order for them to be edible, they have to be kept alive during transportation, which is a logistical nightmare. The most coveted ones are hand harvested from traps set in the icy coastal waters of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. These crustaceans have to be shipped in individually separated conpartments because just looking at their peers stresses them out. Many of them die in transit due to their fragile nature.
PerBacco’s langoustines have probably been flash-frozen to ensure freshness through the long transcontinental flights. Nonetheless, they are one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.
Blue cheese fondue is simmered over low heat in langoustine bisque so that the cheese thoroughly infuses with the sweet crustacean flavors of the langoustine creating a light perfumed cream sauce. The pasta is then cooked in the sauce to maximize the tastes in the end product.
The al dente bite of the paste gives some textural depth to the silky smooth strands. Each strand has absorbed the sweet milky creaminess of the sauce which is delicate and fragrant with the perfect balance of richness. The succulent langoustine flesh itself is firm yet buttery with a natural sugary sweetness and an intensive umami after-taste. The julienned zucchini cooked into the sauce adds a green freshness and a nice crunch. For just $32, which is an ultimate steal for such an extravagant dish, you get a hearty serving of this gastronomical masterpiece worthy of Italian royalty.
Risotto all Amarone e Foie Gras, $36
Risotto Cooked in Amarone Wine, Pan Seared Foie Gras and Caramelized Onion
Naturally tinted purple from being cooked in premium Amarone wine, the risotto has a nice al dente bite, neither too hard nor too mushy. Amarone wine is one of Italy’s most symbolic and treasured wines, prized for its dry, fresh and full-bodied flavor. This premium wine was selected for this dish exactly for those beloved properties. The alcohol dissipates as the wine is cooked over low heat, instilling its sweet and rich berry flavors deep within each grain of rice. The risotto is buttery and slightly savory with just a touch of sweetness. The decadently rich foie gras pan-seared medium-rare melts in the mouth, setting your tongue awash with a tsunami of succulent juices and savory creaminess.
Costolette di Agnello Arrosto con Salsa all Aceto Balsamico, $42
Roasted NZ Rack of Lamb with Aged I.G.P Balsamic Sauce
High quality lamb possesses this irresistibly sweet aroma when cooked. Our olfactory sense peaked as soon as this dish was brought out from the kitchen. It is a hearty portion of 6 extremely chunky and succulent ribs, each outlined by a thick layer of sinful fat that melts to a rich and gooey viscosity in the mouth. They are airflown from New Zealand chilled, roasted to a lovely medium doneness and simply drizzled over with I.G.P balsamic vinegar. The rack of lamb explodes with juices as you bite into it and the meat is so tender that it falls right off the bone. The balsamic sauce adds a sharp kick of acidity and a subtle sweetness for depth of flavor.
Pannacotta alle Nocciole Caramellate, $14
Caramelized Hazelnut Pannacotta
Smooth, creamy and velvety make up the trifecta textures in this decadent dessert. The tantalizing taste of the nutty and subtle woody flavor of hazelnuts emulsified into the cream coaxes you to repeatedly keep scooping out globs of the buttery mousse into your mouth even if you are filled up to the brim from all the wonderful Italian dishes. While it is rich and creamy, the mousse-like texture of the pannacotta is still surprisingly light and fluffy, and the hazelnuts that top the dessert add the perfect flavor and crunch. It is the perfect finishing touch to put a satisfying end to your Italian feast.
Address: 20 Craig Road, #01-03 Craig Place, Singapore 089692
Hours: Mon – Sat 12PM – 2.30PM, 6PM – 10.30PM
Tel.: +65 6635 7130