Heralded as one of the best Italian restaurants in Singapore for its extensive and top-quality buffet spread, Basilico at The Regent Singapore is an oldie to the food scene. But it is far from being banal. Having a seasonally driven menu, it serves something new to the table every quarter of the year so it never gets old.
This time round, we tried their Basilissimo ($88++) dinner experience for July and October. And boy, was it a refreshing experience. Basilico Head Chef Luca Beccalli brings to shore the Mediterranean sea this summer, drawing inspiration from Southern Italy with the likes of Sicily and Palermo, followed by the Alps for autumn.
For those in search of the perfect restaurant to impress your date, look no further.
The appetizer buffet is truly a sight to behold. With an array of selections for cheese, bread, cold cuts, crudo (Italian sashimi) and salad, all further paired with an assortment of condiments, mere mortals have been known to fill their stomach with this spread and be done with dinner. I was tempted to do so, but please leave space in your tummy for there is so much more good food to come.
We previously visited Basilico earlier this year and raved about their extensive buffet, so check it out here and I’ll skip the details for this one!
One of my favourites of the night was their signature appetizer, sadly only on the ala carte menu, Focaccina con Tartufo Nero e Robiola. Creamy and flavourful, eat while it’s hot as this oven-baked focaccia with black truffle and cheese will hatch pure goodness in your mouth.
Verdict: 8.5 / 10
Pesce Spada alla Palermitana con Pinzimonio di Verdura, Purea di Barbabietole e Misticanza (Mediterraneo)
The thinly-sliced swordfish was seared on the outside but soft in the middle, with a unique blend of herb and garlic. The filling was a tad salty for my liking and may get jelak after a few mouthfuls. While not a dish for everyone, it was paired well with the juicy and lightly seasoned Mediterranean vegetables served on the side.
Verdict: 7 / 10
Cavatielli con Seppioline, Cozze e Lenticchie in Aglio Olio (Mediterraneo)
Cavatielli literally means “little hollows” in Italian, but hollow it was not. This dish had a story behind it. Chef Luca humbly shared that it was invented by traditional Italian housewives to trick their children into eating more vegetables by combining legumes with delicious seafood like baby cuttlefish and mussels. We all laughed when we heard the story, and I’m sure many of you can identify with such efforts while growing up or raising kids yourselves.
While visually unassuming, the pasta was bursting with flavour and spice. The unique pasta shape was something that I had not encountered before, but its soft texture blew me away. This dish encapsulated my feelings for Basilico – rustic and comforting, and yet elevated with modern flair.
Verdict: 8.5 / 10
Cannelloni alle Guacie di Manzo Brasate serviti su Vellutata Parmigiano (Alpi)
The aroma from the parmesan engulfed the room as this dish was served, with cylinder-shaped pasta placed vertically on the plate with artistry. I loved the presentation, which felt like a gift waiting to be unwrapped. I almost couldn’t bear to create a mess out of it. But as with so many disappointing presents, smell trumped taste for this one. Make sure the cannelloni is swimming with sauce, as the hard pasta together with the flaky beef cheeks may otherwise leave you with a dry aftertaste.
Verdict: 6.5 / 10
Controfiletto d’Agnello alla Polvere di Peperoncino Dolce e Carciofi, Cipolle Rosse in Agrodolce e Patate Schiacciate al Rosmarino, Salsa al Barolo (Alpi)
Beautifully plated, this was a crowd pleaser – the lamb was lean but tender and the rosemary-infused potatoes were so smooth that the sweet flavours will literally melt on your tongue. Not typically a fan of artichokes, I loved these ones as they were crisp on first bite and only got juicier as I peeled through its layers. Its sour taste balanced perfectly with the sweetness of the lamb. Just, yumm.
Verdict: 8.5 / 10
In focus on the right: Tartelleta al Cioccolato
Tartelleta al Cioccolato Nero Toscano con Crema al Marsala (Mediterraneo)
A classic take on the chocolate tart with a solid pastry. Not too sweet with distinct bitter notes, the chocolate was also sensuously smooth and aptly complemented with light chantilly cream.
Verdict: 7.5 / 10
Gelato Pistacchio (Mediterraneo)
This was to-die-for. If I had to name the top dish of the night, this would clearly be the frontrunner. I’ve been to Italy and can safely say that this matches up to or even exceeds the highest standards of gelato. Sicilian-style with olive oil and a dab of sea salt, this house-made creation was made to perfection – light and creamy consistency, not overly sweet, and divine flavour from what could only be fresh pistachio.
Verdict: 9 / 10
Sfogliatella alle Mele (Alpi)
Shaped like a wonton, this paper thin and leafy filo pastry wrapped around a baked apple filling felt oddly similar to that in pineapple tarts. The prettiest dessert on the menu, it fell short of my expectations and turned out overly sugary. A dessert for the adventurous and sweet-toothed, it did not match up to the level of the other two indulgences.
Verdict: 6 / 10
My first visit to Basilico and I know it won’t be my last. The generous buffet spread and stand out dishes like the truffle cheese focaccia, cavatielli pasta and pistachio gelato will keep me coming back for more. After a meal here, it made me wish I were born an Italian so I could have a taste of such divine cuisine every day. If you are looking for an unpretentious but quality Italian dining experience, coupled with impeccable service, this is the place for you.
You can enjoy the wide buffet spread that includes appetizers and desserts, along with a main course selection, at $88++. No doubt pricey – but expect to be satisfied, as Chef Luca succeeds in staying true to his roots and yet elevating traditional Italian home-style cooking with finesse.
Overall rating: 8 / 10
Note: We had sample portions for the dishes. Actual portions will be larger in size.
Breakfast: 6:30am – 10:30am (Monday to Saturday); 7:00am – 10:30am (Sunday)
Lunch: 12:00pm – 2:30pm (Monday to Saturday); 12:00pm – 3:00pm (Sunday)
Dinner: 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Address: Level 2, The Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, 249715
Contact: 6725 3232
This post was brought to you by The Regent Singapore.