We returned for a revisit, unfortunately, right dab smack in the middle of Restaurant Week, so the restaurant was swarming with diners. Even so, the food was still excellent. Service, however, suffered due to the full-house, because the kitchen was consequently (but somewhat understandably so) overwhelmed. There was an inordinate gap between the courses that left our stomachs growling and us filling up on bread. Notwithstanding the long lag-times between courses, the wait staff were still very much engaging, genuine, witty and friendly.
One thing i noticed about its grounds is the clear tented pavilion on the lawn below the mansion. For engaged couples looking for a wedding venue distinct from the drab and characterless hundreds of hotel ballrooms which 99% of couples get married in, this is an ideal place for an intimate (about 200 pax capacity, methinks) and unique and gorgeous wedding. It's air-conditioned, so you don't have to worry about the heat, humidity or the dreaded mozzies, but it's completely encircled in glass so you still get a beautiful view of the lush greenery of the Telok Blangah Hill. If we had chosen to get married in Singapore, this would definitely be on our shortlist!
At the tasting, we were treated to an Amuse Bouche of a spoonful of Caprese, sprightly and refreshing, with chilled cherry tomatoes bursting with summery sweetness, peppery basil, a couple of mozzarella cubes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Dinner at the tasting started off on a high with the Carpaccio di Salmone, Marinato Insalata Riccia e le sue Uova, marinated Scottish salmon carpaccio with yellow frisee salad and salmon roe. It was light, clear and fresh, with a perfect balance of the briny taste of the sea, neutral frisee and bright fruity mandarin oranges. I was hankering for more.
At the revisit, the Carpaccio di Salmone, Marinato Insalata Riccia e le sue Uova ($26) was extremely well-received for its clean and clear flavours.
The Casoncelli di Zucca, Fonduta di Taleggio e Ristretto di Vitello, mashed sweet pumpkin swaddled in homemade pasta in a taleggio cheese fondue and veal jus, contrasted with crushed walnuts and bitter spinach that showcased the flavours of autumn beautifully.
At the revisit, the Casoncelli di Zucca, Fonduta di Taleggio e Ristretto di Vitello ($26) was superb but a little more rustic in approach. The column pasta didn't quite have that elegance of the wrap at the tasting.
The Punta di Manzo a Cottura Lenta, Patate Charlotte e Castagne was one of the best slow cooked beef short ribs ever. The ribs were fork-tender. Scrap that, they were plastic fork-tender, and so amazingly soft even geriatrics with dentures can enjoy them. These were intensely flavoured, with a sticky, thyme-based marinade that coated each hunk liberally. A special tribute must be made to the amazing chestnuts, roasted to an almost mashy texture, and addictive as hell. Cutesy charlotte potatoes halfies were on hand to wipe up every last remnant of the awesome sauce.
At the revisit, the Punta di Manzo a Cottura Lenta, Patate Charlotte e Castagne ($42) was a big big hit for its amazing texture and full-bodied well-balanced flavours.
The Maialino a Bassa Temperatura, Sedano, Rapa e Frutti di Bosco, a trio of Italian suckling pig mounds, was cooked very well, with a gorgeous skin that crackled when bit, but the pork was a little too mature, with an overwhelming "porky taste" that the tartish berry compote couldn't quite balance out.
At the revisit, the crackling skin of the Maialino a Bassa Temperatura, Sedano, Rapa e Frutti di Bosco ($42) was just as delicious, but the robust mature taste of the pork didn't quite resonate with our tastebuds.
The Carre' D'Agnello al Forno, Cipolline Glassate al Balsimico e Mostarda in Grani, oven baked lamb rack with glazed pearl onions and grain mustard sauce, was one of the more memorable lamb racks I've had. it was tender and juicy and thoroughly flavoursome without a hint of game. The sting of the pearl onions was neutralised by the balsamic pickling so it made for a great nibbler.
At the revisit, the Carre' D'Agnello al Forno, Cipolline Glassate al Balsimico e Mostarda in Grani ($44) was perfectly cooked to an even soft pink throughout. The Hubs loved loved LOVED the pearl onions.
The artistically plated Alkaff Mansion Tiramisu, with savoiardi and mascarpone cream, was heady and rich yet nuanced.
At the revisit, each of us had our favourites for sweets. The Alkaff Mansion Tiramisu ($14), my littlest brother's dessert of choice, was moist and balanced.
The Semifreddo al Cioccolato Bianco e Caffe, a white chocolate and coffee parfait with espresso sauce and hazelnut meringue was beautifully plated and as exquisitely good as it looked. The bite-sized cubes of coffee-tinged confectionery were impossibly smooth and compact, a dream that melted on the tongue.
At the revisit, the Semifreddo al Cioccolato Bianco e Caffe ($14) was just as good as I remembered. Obviously, this is my favourite.
We rounded off the tasting dinner with the Tortino al Cioccolato, Gelato alla Vaniglia e Caramello ($16), a classic Valrhona chocolate cake with brown sugar-tipped vanilla ice-cream, caramel sauce whisps and fresh berries. Great texture and awesomely delicious.
At the revisit, the Tortino al Cioccolato, Gelato alla Vaniglia e Caramello ($16), the Hubs' favourite, was luxurious and incredibly well-balanced.
Here, the waitress brought around the Bread Basket for our picking. I liked the breadstick, always a dependable nibbler, and the fluffy focaccia buns, still warm, tantalisingly aromatic and flavourful on its own without the need for the accompanying olive oil-balsamic emulsion dip.
At the revisit, the bread was really useful in quelling the hunger pangs. These were always served warm and soft.
Many thanks to Jasmine of Alkaff Mansion Ristorante for being such a gracious host and HungryGoWhere for the invite!
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
10 Telok Blangah Green
Tel: 6510 3068
Open weekdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.15pm for dinner
Weekends from 11.30am to 3.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.15pm for dinner