Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Forlino

I've been hearing about Forlino for quite a long time, and its reputation for high-quality Italian fine-dining preceded it, but, sadly, so did reports of its high prices. Thankfully, a special discount gave us the perfect opportunity to sample the set lunch.

The entrance to Forlino is somewhat foreboding, making use of ashen greys and pitch blacks, with solitary lights spotlighting a bureau, or a sculpture, reminiscent of a slightly macabre museum, or a desolate mansion. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as the effect is certainly strikingly dramatic.

Entering the restaurant proper is an equally interesting affair: the decor changes to something that would not be out of place in the Schloss Schonbrunn - corridors of blue walls with gilded stuccoes frame chequered floor tiles, achieving a palatial, chiaroscuro effect that one might think slightly out of keeping with Forlino's modern cuisine.

The main dining area is very contemporary though, all darkness and light: black carpeted floors and a plush ebon upholstery absorbing dining room chatter, while floor to ceiling glass panes allow you to enjoy the view of the Fullerton hotel and the city skyline with your meal.

Said meal commenced with an amuse-bouche of marinated cod and micro vegetables. The firm, fresh fish (alliteration unintended) and the melange of salad leaves certainly serve to excite the tastebuds, and hint at more to come.

The wild mushrooms with robbiola cheese fondue and cornmeal polenta followed, which I thought was delectable. Intense, earthy mushroom flavours danced on the tongue and down the back of the throat, while the rich, creamy polenta enveloped the aroma of the funghi, diffusing it across the palate. I could probably have eaten a whole bowl of this without much difficulty.

The second course was an elegant homemade pasta dish: tagliolini with clams cooked in white wine and served with slivers of green chillies. The chillies tasted more like peppers, which added a piquant sweetness to the dish which cut through the umami of the clam sauce.

The meat course was a dish of slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheeks with herbed mashed potatoes. Just what you'd expect: unctuous, almost gelatinous hunks of beef cooked till meltingly tender, paired with a decadent sauce and a hearty mashed potato.

Alternatively, you could have the halibut and asparagus with orange and martini vermouth sauce.

Dessert was a less complicated affair: a molten chocolate cake served with banana gelato and rum sauce. The cake was soft and delicate, giving way to a thick, luscious hot chocolate interior. It's true that molten chocolate cakes are a dime a dozen these days, but they're still delightful when done properly.

It's true that Forlino is not especially cheap (although it gets cheaper if you have certain credit cards), but it's a beautiful restaurant located in a picturesque part of the city, and is a perfect spot for a romantic or special meal. Food is very good, and an extensive menu means you'll be spoilt for choice while being attended to with care and meticulous service: ladies are provided with cute plastic stools on which they can place their handbags, and any requests or inquiries will be discreetly seen to.

1 Fullerton Road
#02-06 One Fullerton
Tel: 6877 6995

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