Pontini: Italian with a Touch of Class
Reviewed by : Vivien Goh. Other Foodadvisor Writers?
Hidden within the confines of Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel is a jewel of an Italian restaurant; Pontini. A familiar name among food connoisseurs in Singapore , Pontini is an epitome of Italian fine dining; marvellously presented cuisine in an ambient dining environment. Complete with friendly waiters and an even friendlier chef; the well-known Michele Pavanello, every meal at Pontini is set to be a memorable experience.
- The Vibe
Hidden from prying eyes, a visit to Pontini warrants making your way down the winding aisle lined with a cascading water feature, the soothing sounds of which will put you at ease. Be greeted with the sight of a wood-fired oven, in which Pontini's delicious pizzas are lovingly baked. The interior is reminiscent of the Mediterranean , with hues of hazel and amber giving the premises a warm feel. Intricate Italian theatrical masks adorn the walls, testament to the Italians' love for opera, while a glass-walled wine cellar showcases the restaurant's wide range of wines. With its high ceiling and generous spacing between tables, patrons are ensured a quiet and private dining affair.
- The Food
Pontini serves a delectable spread of Italian cuisine, and the menu also features twists on traditional Italian favourites. For a refreshing appetiser, try the pink grapefruit marinated Salmon Tartare with cucumber salad($25). Fresh salmon chopped finely and drizzled with a delightful citrus grapefruit dressing, complete with fresh cucumber, will provide a contrast of flavours and textures on the palate.
The squid ink homemade Tagliolini with blue swimmer crab, sun dried tomato and saffron emulsion($32.50) is a definite must-try, if you are in the mood for pasta. The image-conscious need not fret as it is the pasta, not the sauce, which is made from squid ink and hence will not stain teeth. The glassy tagliolini is surprisingly springy, a welcome change from the norm. Notably, the pasta does not overwhelm with its squid flavour. In fact, it is the crab which you will notice most. Paired with the yellow saffron emulsion, the result is a heavenly pasta dish you will crave more of.
For a less carbohydrate-laden dish, definitely order the pan-roasted Cod with broccoli and anchovies passata($35.50). Perfectly pan-fried, the cod seasoning is superb. Not at all fishy, as seafood dishes can sometimes be, the well-seasoned crisp outer layer hides a soft and flaky interior which comes apart with a touch of the fork.
Another recommended main, the Barolo wine slow-braised veal cheek served with potato puree, showed the results of good braising with its tenderness. Fans of veal will like this dish, though personally, it was less memorable than the cod and pasta.
Pontini's dessert menu will enthral the sweet-toothed, as there is something for everyone. Aficionados of Italian cuisine will want to try the Tiramisu, which is every Italian restaurant's signature dessert. Pontini's Venetian-style version($15.50) is served in a coffee cup, a rich affair of soft lady fingers and a mild dose of rum and mascarpone, nicely set off by the thick coating of bitter cocoa powder.
The adventurous can try the Hazelnut Crème Brûlée served with a sorbet of mixed berries($16.50) for an interesting take on the ubiquitous crème brûlée. Expect a hint of hazelnut, as well as a somewhat grainy texture, in comparison to the usual. Creativity seems to work in this instance, and the result is crème brulee that you will not tire of. Treat your palate to both sides of the sweet-sour spectrum.
- The Service
An interesting fact is that some of the staff are Italian, adding even more to your authentic dining experience. Friendly and skilled, the staff will be happy to attend to your every need.
The SD Food Advisor's Take on Pontini:
A tad pricey, but good food and service does come at a price. Testament to its popularity is its sizeable lunch crowd, all of which left with satisfied stomachs. The quality of the food is excellent and the service is impeccable. What more can one ask from a restaurant?