Monday, February 17, 2014

Savouring Concetto by Saveur

Concetto, the Italian offshoot of Saveur, opens at The Cathay. It seems that this little shopping mall is currently the destination for affordable downtown dining. We spied a sizable crowd at Eighteen Chefs and Saizeriya. Anyway, the well-loved Saveur guys behind their signature French fare at friendly prices have applied the same philosophy of making fine Italian food more accessible to the masses at Concetto. Dishes are created using techniques usually found in higher end restaurants, at prices that do not burn a hole in the pocket.

Backed by an investor in the medical field, the founders bring you
dishes crafted from local fresh produce, cooked a la minute and dressed to
the nines at Concetto. They draw on their past experiences at
Guy Savoy, Fifty Three, Jaan and Tetsuya's.
Simple furnishings with a raw industrial look.
Modern interpretation of old school formica chairs
and tables. The vibe reminds us of a classroom which
perhaps suit the predominantly young clientele here.
Youth is Energy! We salute the young chefs toiling over our food at the
open concept kitchen and the eager, sweet-young service staff. Admittedly,
service is a little raw at the edges (i.e. we were served desserts before mains
& appetisers came last) but nothing that a little training and ironing out
of kinks wouldn't fix.
Lovely granite bench by the window to place
your barang barang.
A bible verse on the menu as a reminder of His goodness. Time to say grace
and tuck in!
Woooo fresh pasta handmade daily like those at Jaime's Italian here.
Grilled Octopus with fennel salad and anchovy dressing.
($10.90) Pity the lack of greens even though the octopus
slices were remarkably fresh.
Duck Tortellini with poached egg, new potato and
parmesan emulsion. ($12.90) The play of textures was
delightful on the palate but the lions doubt that they'd
order this dish again.
Crab Risotto ($12.90). The lions did not request for an al dente
bite as instructed on the menu so it came rather comforting
soft instead. The broth was rich and addictive though.
What they soon realised was that portions were really
small in fine-dining fashion. They advise anyone, even
the ladies, to order two dishes at least per person to fill
a hungry stomach.
Even the Pistachio Panna Cotta ($6.90) came in a dainty
glass that was one-third filled. But boy, was it heavenly.
The pistachio crumble at the top was tinged with a kiss
of salt, adding an interesting dimension to it.
Two levels of dining space.
Main kitchen at the bottom with a small one at the mezzanine top supporting
the operation.
A little indoor herb garden.

Even though most dishes were tagged with reasonable prices (i.e. wagyu beef at $26.90!) given the quality of fine ingredients used and sleek presentation, portions were really modest. After ordering a couple more dishes to satisfy a growling appetite, the total bill matched what they would normally pay at a typical restaurant here. The lions glanced around and noticed that the pasta dishes came in slightly larger portions though. So be smart, rally a couple of friends to try a greater variety of dishes here and yeah, don't forget to order pasta. 

Concetto by Saveur
The Cathay
2 Handy Road
Singapore 229233