Friday, January 8, 2016

PerBacco - Classy Italian Fare

Italian food is everywhere these days, but the really decent ones are rare. Most are just cheap knockoffs with inflated pricing, and recently I have run the gamut from the bad to the good.

On one end of the spectrum, you have eateries pretending to know all about classic Italian food, but when the plates are served, they are anything but.

On the other hand, you have PerBacco. It helps when the chef is actually Italian, and not some cheap local-know-it-all cook who thinks that blending American influences into traditional Italian gastronomy is actually innovative. No, it's not.

Chef Marco comes from the school where he still remember his nonna's cooking and has every intention of preserving that rich north Italian heritage. And it is ably reflected on his plates.

Scamorza Cheese

This starter comprising of cheese wrapped in Parma ham is just the right way to start a meal or perfect for that bar bite to go along with some well chosen alcohol. Nothing superfluous, just a duo of umami bursts to get the palate going.

Green Pea Risotto

The green pea risotto certainly looks eye catching with the popping green visuals, and the finish is faultless. The rice could have done with a ladle less of stock for an extra level of bite, and though I am not a fan of mint, the resulting dish does suit the comforting profile of a classic risotto dish.

I wish other cafes/bistros will take not of how risotto should be executed, and how it should always remain the hero, and not some elaborate makeover using local hawker dishes as the inspiration. Simple is always brilliant on its own.

Gnocchi and Gorgonzola

Housemade gnocchi at its very best and paired with the strong pungency of Gorgonzola cheese, it may not be to everyone's liking, but it is to mine. Bold, full on flavours coupled with that pillowy soft texture of a perfectly made pasta can hardly go wrong, and it doesn't here.

Some walnuts are added for some bone crunching effect that certainly livens the richness somewhat. This is the sort of dish that you can come back for, time and time again.

Stewed Veal Cheek

Often, Italian restaurants falter on their main and protein side of things. PerBacco bucks the trend by dishing out mains that ranks as well as their pastas. This veal cheek looks the part, and tastes equally good. And then some.

Fork tenderness is mandatory in such situations and suffice to say, it passes the fork test with aplomb. The cannelloni bean puree is the appropriate starch accompaniment and the beautiful meaty and hearty flavours are the order of the day. Again, a dish worthy of a revisit.

Hazelnut Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is the mainstay of Italian desserts, and thankfully, no kaya or bandung variants here. Just a classic hazelnut infused variant that scores on every part with the exception of the plating. Personally, I want to see the wobble.

Nevertheless, the cream gelatine is perfectly light and creamy, and holds together with a fragility that betrays its firm outlook. Wondrously good to end the Italian meal here.

PerBacco can certainly join my other ranks of excellent Italian eateries, and the straightforward but classy decor suits the food well. An excellent wine list is also on offer as the owner is a wine buff, so wine enthusiasts should feel perfectly at home.

For other would be Italian eateries, time to jot down notes on how to do decent Italian fare. For diners hungry for some traditional pasta, this should be you next port of call.

20 Craig Road

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