Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - When Canadian Beef Meets Italian Flair

Canadian beef is not common in this part of the world, where American and Australian beef consumption reigns supreme.

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante is having a special Canadian beef dinner set menu running from now until November 18th. And it is a brilliant array of dishes featuring the beef as the hero of the dishes.

Alkaff is now a full fledged classic Italian restaurant, with classic decor and a sense of regal mixed with rustic charm.

Darkened lighting is abound, along with classic wooden oaky furniture to give it a sense of old school fine dining ambience. Yet, some eye catching chandeliers hints at a nod to modernism as well.

Chef Simone hails from Sardinia and is passionate in a way that only Italian cooks can be. Bubbly, excited and always curious to see how his diners react to his food, he is as good as Italian chefs come.

Beef Carpaccio

Starting off the special menu is a familiar Italian appetiser. Beef Carpaccio with Rucola Salad and Parmesan. Decked out in the colours of the Italian flag, it is the epitome of Italian cuisine.

The slightest of seasoning to enhance the flavours of the rump cut of the cow, and the savoury hits of the Parmesan just to give it an added tone of flavour is all that is needed to enjoy this surprisingly tender cut of the beef.

The requisite arugula salad gives it some nuttiness to temper the richness of the meat and cheese, and a gentle acidity to bring the dish into perfect focus. Simple and truly effective. As for the beef, it has a better bite than usual, but retains a muscular tenderness as well.

Gnocchi with Tenderloin

The star dish on this menu for me is this immaculate plate of Gnocchi with Tenderloin. Everything comes together in brilliant Italian harmony on this dish, from the pillowy potato pouches that are housemade to a perfect tee.

To the tantalising umami bursts of the cherry tomatoes that have every ounce of flavour coaxed out of them. To the only surprising element of porcini mushrooms to give it an elegant tone of earthiness.

Joyfully perfumed by the soft herbs of basil leaves, the colours of the Italian flag are again beautifully represented on this dish. The beef tenderloin pieces have a superb texture and flavour punctuating every piece and the surrounding gorgeous sauce for the gnocchi to swim in.

Another plate of the year? For sure.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

The main course is a bit more straightforward with a plate of grilled tenderloin steak neatly sliced, alongside a garnish of charred peppers and roasted potatoes.

The beef is medium rare with a jus glazed over it, and the texture is enjoyable as is the more subtle levels of beef flavour. It is not as full on as Australian, yet it's fairer tone and taste gives it a very easy to savour experience. It's almost like a pinot to a merlot comparison.

Tiramisu

The dessert plate is classic Italian Tiramisu that stays true to its roots with the use of only marscapone and no cream added. It is played more refined and intricately in its presentation.

The flavours are more subdued than I would have liked, but nevertheless it is still an enjoyable dessert with a lighter espresso base and less rich finish.

Canadian beef, in general has impressed me to a certain degree. I really enjoyed the texture, which is both tender on the inside and retains a nice playful bite on the exterior. The flavours are lovely and for the most part, only a small seasoning is required to extract some really good beef flavours.

This special menu is currently only available for dinner, but you can also special request for it in advance for lunch if you so choose. The chef is a very accommodating one and is typical of the best Italian cooks around. He will be pleased when you enjoy his food.

For now, the Canada and Italy partnership is very much in evidence at Alkaff Mansion. Canadian love and Italian flair? An amazing combination.

Canadian Beef Menu (until 18 November)
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
10 Telok Blangah Green

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