The Waterfall Cafe at the basement of the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore has taken on a new identity.
Previously a Mediterranean restaurant serving dishes mainly from the south of France, Spain and Italy, it is now a full-fledged Italian restaurant. To reflect that, it has also changed its name to Waterfall Ristorante Italiano.
There is a new chef in the kitchen too - Marco De Vincentis, who is from Naples - and a new menu which focuses on southern Italian food.
To reflect the regional focus, the restaurant has introduced some touches that are not seen in other Italian restaurants here. For example, the house wine Nero d'Avola, from a red grape in Sicily, is not served in a normal wine glass, but in a boccalino, a ceramic mug that looks like a mini pitcher with decorative floral patterns hand-painted on the outside.
And a pasta comes not just with the usual green pesto of pine nut and basil, but also with an additional orange one made with tomatoes, almond and mint called pesto Siciliano.
This dish, Tagliolini al Pesto Siciliano ($22), is in fact my favourite from the new menu. It appears to be a simple dish, just pasta with pesto sauce, but the two pestos make an amazing combination. The pureed pine nuts add richness and the tomatoes provide acidity and freshness to reduce the heaviness.
If you prefer your pasta to come topped with lots of seafood, then the Linguine allo Scoglio ($28) is what you should order. Clams, mussels, squid, prawns and scallops are cooked with cherry tomatoes to produce a slightly tart broth rich with the flavours of the sea - which the pasta soaks up nicely. The only fault is with the scallops, which are overcooked. I would suggest cooking them separately from the other seafood or even dropping them from the recipe. The dish would be even more appealing without rubbery scallops.
If you want to stay with seafood for your main course, try the Sogliola al Limone ($38), a pan-fried sole in a lemony butter sauce that is rich and tart at the same time. Watch out for the bones along the sides of the fish though.
Meat lovers will find the Tagliata di Manzo Rucola e Grana a good option. This is grilled beef served with marinated capsicum, rocket leaves and Parmesan cheese, and comes in a choice of meats - Striploin Black Angus ($38), Tenderloin Hunter Valley ($41) and Wagyu Rib Eye ($56).
Considering the small price differences, I'd suggest you go for the Wagyu, which is tender, juicy and has excellent flavour. The higher fat content is thoughtfully balanced by the vegetables, so you are not likely to feel too much guilt over it.
For a sweet ending, what hits the spot is the Zabaione all'Espresso ($14). The warm cup of whipped eggs and sugar is spiked heavily with moscato wine and espresso, a combination that is heady and comforting at the same time.
I'm not too impressed with the other desserts though, which you can order as a Sharing Platter ($30 for two persons). The Baba al Rum is strangely dry even though it is soaked in rum, while the Tiramisu, Cannoli Siciliani and Biancomangiare are decent, but uninspired.
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SundayLife! paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.