Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zambuca, Pan Pacific (Restaurant Week)

*** Restaurant is closed or soon to close! ***

 Our second restaurant for restaurant week, we decided to check out Zambuca at Pan Pacific Hotel. HGW reviews were rather favourable but honestly it was because we couldn't get a spot at other places we wanted to check out D: It's a surprise menu as well which we tend to avoid, but oh well!

 We arrived on time 730pm on Thursday and were pleasantly surprised by the fantastical decor of the place! High ceiling and black pillars + white tables really made the place pop. Just 3 or 4 tables were occupied.

 Impressed by the decor and service but mildly disappointed at the non-too-exciting menu, we chatted up one of the waiters. She told us that Pan Pacific will be undergoing a major renovation soon (like the immediate week after) and after which Zambuca will cease to exist! We felt a little "..." since we'd be dining and reviewing a restaurant that no longer exists from next week onwards, which kind of defeats the purpose!

But of course no harm to just sit back and enjoy the dinner :)

{ Appetizer : Shaved Baby Fennel Salad Toss in Citron Vinaigrette }

 I did a double take at "shaved baby" until I read "shaved baby fennel". Honestly we picked it because we didn't want the soup of the day though. Can't say we have fennel often, so the texture and taste of fennel was a welcome sensation to our palettes. The vinaigrette was nice but got extremely salty as we neared the bottom of the bowl, but otherwise I felt it was one of the better salads I've had!

 Salad was nice, fresh and crisp. Generous amounts of pine nuts too. Ingredients aside, the salad was too salty for me and the sundried tomatoes didn't quite help to balance that out. When I mentioned this to the waiter, he took it kindly and said in cryptic humour, "They say around here, when the food is too salty the chef is going to get married." - not a clue what this could mean.. any ideas? lol

{ Main : Roasted Chicken Breast with Italian Forest Mushroom Risotto
dressed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil }

 Having cooked something almost identical just a short while ago, I had mixed feelings ordering this but felt like I needed to compare it against ours! The chicken breast was juicy with a nice crust on the skin, which was yum but otherwise lacking a wee bit of seasoning. The risotto itself was good as well, very flavourful with the olive aroma and the mushroom earthiness, but I felt it was a little too soft (ours was more al-dente!). But didn't quite disappoint.

 Simple flavours and nicely done, although I agree our home-cooked truffle risotto and roast herbed chicken pwned this, so I guess quite safe to say this wasn't tooo memorable. 

{ Main : Pan-seared Seabass with Potato Mousseline & Sauteed Summer Vegetable }

 I felt the seabass portion was a bit miniscule, but that's just a big eater lamenting :P this was quite nice overall. The fish was cooked well without being too dry, yet the skin was perfectly crispy. The veggie strips were a good accompaniment.  

 Again lovely crust on the skin but I wasn't a huge fan of seabass so I might be a little biased against it. The mousseline was nice - a really creamy mash with chives, and the fettucini-ed zucchini was nice as well, but I felt like the dish was just 'nice' and not too great or adventurous in any way.

{ Dessert : Chocolate Creme Brulée }

 Now this unappetizing cup of blackness was arguably the best dish of the night! The awesomely warm chocolate mousse was rich and not sweet at all which was great - you can really taste the flavour of the cocoa and eggs instead of being masked by sugar. And yes I did say chocolate mousse lol, while technically not the right texture the taste was still great.

 Really glad the meal ended on a high with a good dessert! Wasn't expecting much from this but I must say I enjoyed this very much. The top layer was just the right burnt-ness and it was sufficiently chocolate-y underneath. Yum!

 The surprise menu while rather conservative, was a rather pleasant surprise although taste or creativity did not stray far from a "regular" menu item at all. The fact that Zambuca will soon no longer exist is quite the downer but at least we had a good experience on one of it's last few days in operations :)

Zambuca (B)
3F Pan Pacific Hotel

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Restaurant week : Zambuca is a non "star"-ed restaurant offering $20++ set lunch or $35++ set dinners.
HGW Link (78% recommended at time of posting) :
Rating (out of 4) : 


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